Thursday, December 27, 2007


Between this and Wrong Turn 2, I’d say that the slasher film has made an impressive comeback, if not for the fact that they have each set the bar higher than roughly 99% of the slasher films back in the 80s did. The genre really has nowhere to go from here but straight down into Sleepaway Camp and Beware: Children at Play territory.

The film follows a motley crew of people who, largely bored with Mardi Gras, decide to take a nighttime boat tour of the swamps around New Orleans. Naturally their tour – done on the cheap by illegally touring a closed down swamp – happens to pass by the home of a mutated killer that looks suspiciously similar to the mutants from the Wrong Turn series, and soon tragedy befalls everyone. The film has pretty much everything you would want and expect from a film like this. There’s a lot of great violence, a surprising amount of clever humor, and some gratuitous nudity in the form of both the Mardi Gras celebrations at the beginning and in the form of two of the guests on the boat tour, who are making a softcore lesbian film to get back at their parents. One of these girls, God bless her, is Mercedes McNabb, which gets me one step closer to my all-encompassing goal of seeing all the women from Buffy the Vampire Slayer naked.

One thing that’s nice about the film is in how it both elevates and respects the genre. Most horror films only do one or the other, which is why most aren’t very good. It keeps its sights within the boundaries of a slasher movie and, unlike most of the Scream clones of the late 90s, doesn’t spend its time telling us that we’re retarded for wanting to enjoy a movie like this. What it does offer us is a tremendous amount of violence and fairly creative deaths (including one in which our killer – played by Kane Hodder of Friday the 13th fame – grabs a woman by each end of her mouth and just rips off the top half of her head), some great horror cameos (in addition to the aforementioned Hodder and McNabb, we also get Robert Englund hunting alligators in much the manner one would expect Ahab to be hunting whales, and my favorite in Candyman’s Tony Todd as an amazingly flamboyant former swamp guide with a not-overly-sinister past), and an opening credits sequence done to Marilyn Manson’s “This is the New Shit”, as sure a way as any to get on my good side.

It’s not quite up to the level as some of the other horror films released this year, such as Grindhouse, Black Sheep, and Wrong Turn 2, but in fairness to it this has been a pretty competitive year for pretty much every genre of film. Still, it’s a quality slasher movie, so unless you hate horror movies or have a paralyzing fear of seeing breasts that makes you want to cry and then teach all of them a lesson for making you show weakness like that. Yeah, this movie may not be for you then.

Rating: *** ½

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