Sunday, January 7, 2007

Backwoods (2006)

Backwoods is another indie addition to the city folk vs. country killer genre similar to The Texas Chain Saw Massacre and its ilk. It borrows a little too heavily from the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre and also from its remake to truly deliver anything new. Its the same tiresome backwoods killer story we've seen a million times.

A group of friends take a trip to visit the grave of one of the girls' father, but end up getting lost on the backroads. They pull up to what appears to be an abandoned house and slowly drift their separate ways into the surrounding woods. A couple tries to find some alone time, one girl is dealing with an unwanted pregnancy, a guy is trying to express how he feels about another girl, and another girl drifts off with her videocamera. None of them know that a child-like, bloodthirsty killer lurks in the house and surrounding woods. Can a drunken sheriff, who seems to know more than he should, help the group before they all end up lost...alone...scared...and dead?!

The movie begins promising enough, with a visit to an isolated cemetery in the middle of nowhere. There seems to be a lot of drama within the group, which only gets worse as they get lost on the way back home. Yet, the action begins to lag and the characters become increasingly annoying once they reach the seemingly abandoned house in the middle of nowhere. The characters are annoying and are underdeveloped, which left me feeling nothing for them as they get butchered by the teddybear-toting killer. There is some pretty heavy overacting going on as well, which, for a low-budget movie is common but still aggravating.

The most disappointing thing, though, was the unoriginality of the story. It obviously took many cues from the original Texas Chain Saw Massacre, but failed to deliver a new spin on the story. The "twist" at the end of Backwoods doesn't help to liven up the story...but then it's far too late. It is just too predictable and slow moving, and by the time the twist showed up, I was half-way asleep.

Now, it's not all bad...there are some pretty cool camera shots throughout the film, which do liven things up a bit. The kills and gore aren't that bad either, though the killer looks like a rip-off of a cross between Leatherface and Jason Vorhees (pre-hockey mask).

Yet the bad acting, poorly developed characters and retreaded storyline ruined the good points of the film for me. Still, I would like to see what the director could do with a more original horror story since he obviously has talent. Better luck next time!

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