Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest review – Redwood Massacre Annihilation

Redwood Massacre Annihilation

In 2014, British writer-director David Ryan Keith (Attack of the Herbals) made a faux-American slasher movie, The Redwood Massacre.  Here’s a sequel few must have been begging for – a 104-minute compendium of cliché lines (check off ‘so what’s your story’, ‘shit just got real’ and ‘we’re not so different, you and me’) and stock situations, played out with that particular brand of low-budget mean-spiritedness that makes the whole thing hard to get along with.

Tom Dempsey (Jon Campling), author of a book about the massacre, is approached by a creepy fan, Max (Damien Puckler), who claims he’s found the hulking killer’s scarecrow-type burlap mask and offers to join an expedition into the woods to dig up more gen on the crimes.  Along for the hike are Dempsey’s daughter (top-billed Danielle Harris), a hardbitten gun-nut with a bag full of weapons (Gary Kasper) and a black girl (Tevy Poe) you can’t believe the filmmakers would be crass enough to kill off first.  Even before we start walking in the woods, Max is joylessly raping a corpse in front of her tied-up husband – and there are intermittent scenes of generally horrible things happening, with some additional hikers in the mix to up the body count.

The quest leads to an underground military base where a science experiment – presumably, creating slasher film villains for use in tactical situations – has gone badly wrong, and everyone acts remarkably foolishly, more or less contributing to whatever gruesome fate befalls them.  The settings are good, the effects are above average, and the actors mostly do what they can – but this is resolutely minor fare, and (length apart) among the least ambitious British horror films of recent years.


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