If you’re as quickly tiring of all the artistically crafted “smart horror” that’s pervading the genre these days and you just need some mindless slasher fun, there might a film or two in this foursome that will give you the much needed brain break.
LITTLE ERIN MERRYWEATHER (2003)
I can’t believe how many years it took me to finally get around to watching this. I didn’t even remember why I had added it to my “to see” list and actually expected a totally different kind of movie than…a post-Scream slasher revolving around a classic fairy tale.
I was so there for it. Despite the fact that the killer is obvious right from the start (not sure why they spelled it out, right down to the title), the tone and style of this little indie reminded me of Urban Legend, one of my favorites from that era.
When male college students begin getting slaughtered in the woods by someone in a red cape, three guys from the school newspaper investigate with the help of one of their teachers.
The eerie kill scenes are perfectly orchestrated in late 90s slasher style, and the atmosphere and vibe reminded me oddly of the horror video game Deadly Premonition.
Considering the kill scenes are so cool, the other downside here is that there isn’t enough of a body count.
But the final chase, with a final boy for a change, takes place in a library and it’s a goodie.
EARLY GRAVE (2013)
It’s I Know What You Did Last Summer with no budget.
A group of friends hits someone with their car. They bury the body. Years later they reunite at a cabin in the woods. A really fricking nice cabin. I love this cabin. Imagine this cabin decorated for Halloween.
One womanizer is a horror author, there are a couple of secret lesbians, one guy is more annoying than Dwight on The Office, and the most interesting character, a hunky porn star, dies first…52 minutes in. Would you believe that he’s black? Sigh.
The killer wears a ski mask and kills with a knife, the music is melodramatic, the denouement and killer reveal are awkward.
While I appreciated some of the stylized kill scenes (some smart ideas here), this was not overall a fulfilling slasher for me.
TERROR IN WOODS CREEK (2017)
The black and white intro of a little girl being enticed with a puppy by a stranger in the park is by far the creepiest, most compelling part of this indie.
The next scene of kids telling campfire stories and being attacked by a killer wearing a sack mask and wielding an axe is a close second.
The concept is intriguing enough, but the execution is just too low budget cheesy to take seriously.
We meet a bunch of redneck characters.
A drifter comes to town, and murders spike—with the supernatural drifter being the catalyst for all the chaos. Aside from the sack wearing killer, there’s also a zombie, but I have no idea why. It’s almost interesting, but the slow pacing just causes the mind to wander.
The drifter, however, is a devilish delight.
If you’ve seen the Metalface/Playing With Dolls movies you’ll be very familiar with this film from Rene Perez. While it’s not an official sequel, he’s doing something that I don’t quite understand. I would think a director would want to explore other creative ideas, but he is now just rehashing the same concept with a different killer.
While I became a fan of Rene’s films because the first few were cabin in the woods slashers with some great jump scares and kills, the Playing With Dolls series watered down to one plot by the most recent film Cry Havoc; the killer stalks, tortures and kills women in the woods during daylight hours while military men and one hero try to put a stop to him.
The only difference with Cabal is that the killer has a rockin’ bod, his cool and creepy mask is comprised of the faces of humans, and there’s actually a unique reason for why he’s roaming around in the woods killing women this time, which we don’t find out until near the end.
No scares here, but the kills are good and gory as is usually the case with his films (the water scene is a fave for me), and Rene goes for the grindhouse look and feel this time around.
Plus, the score is so totally 80s synth awesome, as is the track “Neon Dreams” by The Darkest Machine.