Friday, May 13, 2011

Forest of the Dead (2007)

I know that making a horror movie for a budget of less than peanuts with a camcorder and friends is something that's hard. I know there's a lot of work, effort and determination to making these movies, and when you get down to it, they are real Independent movies, without any big stars or anyone whose notable whatsoever. That out of the way, while there might have been some effort put Brian Singleton's Canadian zombie comedy "Forest of the Dead", at least put some effort into making a movie that's entertaining to the audience and not simply entertaining to the filmmakers and actors.

The plot deals with a group of kids who go into the woods, and end up disappearing. Nothing new there, other than they involve a guy called Johnny Rebel (Chris Anderson) who always speaks in first person, and two gay French Canadians who exist only because the people behind it find homosexuality hilarious. Well, some other kids-including a white guy in an Afro who loves to say "propa!" a lot-look for those friends, and it turns out that said friends are now flesh hungry zombies.

I will say this much-I dug the electronic score by Matt Comegys, which really reminded me of the kind of music you'd hear in low budget, straight-to-video movies from the 80's, as well as the opening credits sequence. Apart from that, "Forest of the Dead" has no merit whatsoever. I could complain about the poor editing, poor direction, poor special effects, etc. Those things didn't bother me, because this was clearly something made for nothing by kids who are clearly having fun-like most micro-budget horror flicks. No, that's not the movies biggest crime.

The biggest crime the film commits is this: it's the worst kind of horror comedy hybrid-the kind that knows it's bad, and then goes out of it's way to be bad. All of the jokes and attempts at humor are painfully bad, to the point of make you wish it would end sooner, thus making a 79 minute movie feel like it's 4 hours. It's something that's clearly influenced by 80's horror (it's even set in the 80's and has a character named "Regan") and by Troma movies, but it seems to forget what makes those movies so endearing to audiences. The acting-look, I could forgive the poor performances, but these all feel like they are intentionally bad performances from a bunch of kids who are having fun, but forgot to entertain the audience.

I've never written or directed a movie, so maybe I'm wrong and they were going out of their way to make a movie for a specific audience. However, that audience is small at best, and most likely made up of teen horror fans whose taste hasn't fully developed yet. If your a 28 year old guy like me, this kind of thing just feels pointless and stupid, and offers little to any redeeming value.

I feel like I've exhausted my thoughts on this mostly, but to close, I want to give some advice to other aspiring, micro-budget directors or micro-budget directors to be: don't give up. Keep on trying. Keep on making movies, because there's nothing worse than wasted potential or not doing anything. Just remember to try to appeal to older audiences, or at least make something that someone other than yourselves would enjoy.

Rating: 0.5/10

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