Friday, February 10, 2012

Dead Fall Trail - Good Indie Horror


Movie: Dead Fall Trail
My Rating: 4 stars

Sometimes it’s hard for indie filmmakers to create good horror films.  This shouldn’t be the case because horror is one of the few genres that actually works really well on a small budget.  I know that always makes people immediately think of The Blair Witch Project, and what a disaster it turned out to be, but in response, I’d point you toward [REC].    I think the problem is just that sometimes filmmakers get a little too ambitious.  Or, they try to wing it, hoping that they can make up for a lack of planning or concept with a lot of mood.  There’s plenty of opportunity for disappointment, which is why I’m happy when I come across good examples of indie horror.
Dead Fall Trail is pretty good.  It’s not perfect by any means, but it is relatively competent.  The best part about it is that the story even managed to surprise me in a few places, which is hard to do for someone who watches so many movies.  I always appreciate that.  The film starts as a pretty standard story about a group of city boys heading out to the wilderness for a “survival” weekend.  Naturally, some of the participants are more serious about this little exercise than others, and the ringleader is more than a little miffed that his friend has brought along a rather pathetic friend.  This was supposed to be a man’s bonding ritual.  You’d be pretty bummed too, if your friend brought along a total incompetent.  He kills the vibe and slows down the pace.  “Adventure Man” is trying to be all manly and tough, and this goofball is making a total mockery of the trip.  This kind of tension only makes this already difficult situation even more trying. 
The overall theme of this film is frayed nerves, mental instability, and physical stress.  Some characters are equipped to face these challenges, and others are not.  It’s a pretty common idea, but I like director Roze’s decisions, and the unpredictable directions that this story goes in.  It’s definitely worth checking out this one if you’re onto low-budget, streamlined horror films.  This is more of a “dealing with one’s personal demons” brand of horror, so people who aren’t fans of supernatural storylines may enjoy it even more.  While there is a little blood, the gore is really kept to a minimum, either happening offstage, or during scenes with very low light.  So, the super-squeamish don’t have to worry very much either.  You can check it out here or streaming through Netflix.

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