I’m never one to turn down the promise of some slashing fun, so I checked out a trio that spans the past decade on my Prime watchlist. Was there fun to be had? Let’s find out.
MUNGER ROAD (2011)
Thanks to IMDb, I went into this one aware that it had a “to be continued” ending and the sequel was never made, so I was prepared for loose ends. Unfortunately, everything about this movie is loose…beginning, middle, and end.
The numerous reviews on IMDb claiming it’s a great slasher filled with jump scares that is just missing a tidy ending are all clearly bogus. There wasn’t a single jump scare, and there weren’t any kills—a few may have been implied in the last fifteen minutes, but we are not sure if those people actually died because they screamed off-screen.
It’s also hugely disappointing that the premise has a small town supposedly preparing for a fall festival when an imprisoned lunatic escapes…yet we never even get to the day of the festival. WTF?
Somehow Bruce Davison ended up in the film as the sheriff. As always, the mayor doesn’t want to stop the money-making event because of the possible threat. So Bruce and his deputy spend the night patrolling the town. Every scene is too dark, I never had any idea where they were in the town or what really led them there, and they do nothing but talk out loud to each other about the nonexistent mystery they’re trying to solve.
Meanwhile, two straight couples head to Munger Road to see if there’s any truth to a legend that says if you park on the train tracks, the ghosts of kids who died in a bus accident will push your car off the tracks. The film fails to make even that interesting or suspenseful…and also keeps it all too dark for us to see anything.
Then the kids head home, their car breaks down, and they slowly split up and disappear. Finally, Bruce and his deputy find one of the kids in a house, turn on a video camera the kids had with them, and we get the dreaded “to be continued” that never happened. As disappointing as this film is, it’s made even worse by the fact that there was no sequel to at least tie any of the plot points together. And considering mostly nothing happens, I can’t fathom why the filmmaker didn’t just edit the script for this film and the sequel into one faster-paced, more interesting movie with an actual ending.
This slasher gives off a very indie vibe, and even taps into that low budget 80s slasher feel a bit, which was the aspect I enjoyed the most. I was expecting it to be more of a horror comedy based on the artwork, the plot description, and the title. Instead, it seems to take itself kind of seriously. Either that or the tone is just not quite hitting the mark.
The basic premise is that this wannabe filmmaker nerd can’t stand all the different types of people that make distracting noises at movie theaters. It seems those deplorables are the ones that start getting killed off, but the death scenes don’t take place inside the theater, which kind of makes the whole point of the plot fall apart.
So there are kills, the main guy starts dating a pretty girl who is also an aspiring filmmaker, and he tries to juggle dating her and nurturing his relationship with his loving mother.
Meanwhile, there are two cops trying to solve the case of the mounting body count. Their scenes really kill the pacing and add nothing to the movie. I wasn’t exactly drawn in by any sort of whodunit angle—it was more like a “who are all these random people they’re talking to and why are they dressed like frat boys?” angle.
The indie feel comes in the way of various exploitative moments, like a pregnant woman being gutted and strangled with her baby’s umbilical cord, a long and loud blow job scene, and a scene of a guy on the crapper with plenty of explosive poop noises, of course. I’ll never comprehend how filmmakers become convinced their movie can only get better if they add a shit scene, as if that’s where all the movie magic is.
On top of that, we get flashbacks of the main guy’s troubled childhood, which is intended to make us believe this momma’s boy is the killer, but it’s not very convincing.
The bizarre series of events at the end aren’t all that bizarre if you grew up on tons of 80s slashers and Euro horror, but they definitely feel disjointed from what comes before them. I think Shhhh loses its way simply because it doesn’t remain within the confines of the theater.
VENOM COAST (2021)
What we have here is basically Texas Chainsaw Massacre (and other similar backwoods family movies) on a boat. It’s all been done before (although not on a boat), however one thing that stands out is that this family isn’t comprised of your usual religious extremist hillbilly nuts. They’re more like left wing hillbilly nuts that want to take down the 1%. Awesome.
A group of pretty young white people (I guess that automatically makes them the 1%) is invited to come party on some clean-cut dude’s boat. Little do they know he’s a psycho killer.
Once on board, they are soon falling victim to the crazy family, which includes the matriarch, a hippy looking grandpa, a burnout dude, and a big Leatherface clone in a dress they keep chained up way too long, because he would have rocked as the main killer. Instead, he’s introduced nearly an hour in.
The film had potential to be suspenseful, scary, and gory, and does include some pretty whacky scenes, with our baddies presenting themselves in a variety of bizarre costumes.
Unfortunately, in order to up the body count, the coast guard boards the ship and is basically like a fully-armed military. It just really spoils any sense of urgency.
There’s also a totally odd epilogue that feels too detached from the thick of the movie’s story arc.