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Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest review – Redwood

My notes on Redwood Some American national park.  Josh (Mike Beckingham), a musician recently diagnosed with leukaemia, opts to tick ‘hiking through a redwood forest’ off his bucket list, accompanied by his understandably stressed-out girlfriend Beth (Tatjana Inez Nardone).  Going against all proffered advice and signage, they step off the marked trail and venture into ‘the grey zone’ as a shortcut to the summit – and are pestered by creatures they take to be vampires, though they act more like bothersome kids (romping outside the tent while the couple cower in fear, stealing a t-shirt, etc) than bloodsucking demons (though they do leave deposits of ammonia – bat droppings? – around the woods).

 

This has an odd shifting tone – almost comic in early encounters with ‘Steve the Ranger’(Muzz Khan) and stake-toting ‘animal control’ officer Vincent (Nicholas Brendon), which include self-referential horror movie jokes about campfire tales and a whopping great plot signpost involving a mausoleum which attracts folks in search of miracle cures … then shifting to overwrought soap opera in the arguments between the central couple, which fill in the second attack until the horror stuff starts.

 

The creatures might be a bit feeble, but the woods are lovely dark and deep and the climax takes place in front of an impressive altar where the tiny storyline at last becomes pointed.  It might almost be a prequel in that it stops just as it dispenses with misdirection and becomes interesting, but in fact it just ends with a 1970s-style eye/fang-flick and long, slow credits.  Writer-director Tom Paton, who made the interesting post-apocalypse Britflick Pandorica,  gets good work from his leads and makes the woods creepy enough, but this eighty minute movie feels more like a padded short than a taut feature.

 

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  1. Pingback: FrightFest 2017 – Complete Review Round-Up | The Kim Newman Web Site - August 29, 2017

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