Sunday, June 27, 2010

Backwoods (2008)

The thing about having a hit movie-even one that's not a hit in theaters-is that you are going to be imitated. Take the Rob Schmidt film "Wrong Turn" for example. It didn't exactly tear it up in the box office, but it was an enjoyable tribute to the Backwoods horror cycle of old that proved to be a hit on DVD. So it was inevitable for a series of imitators to come into play, as movies such as "Lake Dead" and "Timber Falls" offered nothing new or entertaining for those who enjoy such movies. While Marty Weiss' made for TV movie "Backwoods" (quite the original title there Bucky O' Hare) is better than those movies, it's still not a particularly interesting viewing experience.

In Los Angeles, Video Game honcho Johnny Dash (Chris Zimmerman, whose character name sounds like that of the drummer of an 80's Hair Metal band-"Here's Johnny Dash, drummer of Steel Gunn!") has invited some of his employees (including Hillary Duff's sister Haylie) to a paintball game at a corporate retreat on the Northern California woods. Since this movie is called "Backwoods", they end up running afoul a group of inbred psychopaths who want the women for breeding.

To be fair to "Backwoods", the direction and editing is surprisingly competent, and there are several moments in which Weiss manages to get some good mileage out of the woodland areas as a place where evil doings are occurring. The acting is also better than expected, with Duff in particular doing a good job with her role, even if there isn't a whole lot to her character. Oh, and since it's a made for TV movie, it's not going to be a particularly graphic affair, but we do get a few nice moments such as an arrow through the neck.

That's where the positive aspects end though. As a whole, the whole movie is the same thing you've seen before with backwoods horror movies of the last few years, with torture, cliched rednecks, attempted rape and other such acts occurring aplenty. Again, it's not that graphic, but you've seen this done so many times already that it all feels the same, as if you've seen this before, and done better. Hell, it feels more like it's imitating those movies at times, even going far enough to whole sale rip off the "Going into the scary house" scene from "Wrong Turn" and it's sequel. Oh, and while I'm used to it in horror, do we really need another "Backwoods religious fanatic" plot point? It's been done to death already, and adds nothing to the movie. Finally, there's the inbred rednecks themselves. Remember how great those types of guys looked in "Wrong Turn" and it's sequel? Well, you won't get any of that here, as the make-up is rather poor to say the least.

"Backwoods" certainly earns it's title, but doesn't earn any points for originality. Granted, I'm not expecting that from a movie like this, but come on, give me a little more to feed on instead of this. I want some ribs, not the leftovers.

Rating: 3/10

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