30 December 2007 | gavin6942
Pure Slasher Film Goodness
Trying to get over his girlfriend leaving him, Ben (Joel David Moore) joins his friends in New Orleans for Mardi Gras, where there are plenty of women to go around. But Ben doesn't want women, he wants adventure, so he goes off on a haunted swamp tour... but as luck would have it, one of the haunted tales has a grain of truth to it: Victor Crowley is prowling the swamps!
Is Moore the new go-to guy for horror? While he's more memorable in "Dodgeball", he seems to be making more appearances in horror ("The Dead One"), and I welcome it. Writer-Director Adam Green picked a good leading man. I also love that Tony Todd and Robert Englund appear as minor characters and Kane Hodder appears out of makeup or without a mask (at least part of the time). Between this film and "Leslie Vernon", it seems like there's an effort to move the main horror veterans of this era (the 1980s-1990s) to the background and bring in new faces. And if these two films are any example, it's working.
This film is working in the 1980s style: it's just plain fun. Some level of plot development is here, but not really any more than is needed -- the focus is strictly on the slashing of the heroes and on showing excessive blood spray. We have a hero (actually a heroine) who sort of knows what is going on and henchmen who just die (think "Evil Dead II"). And for the beginning of the film, we have humor and nudity. Hooray! (Actually, there's nudity here and there throughout the film.)
The best part of this film -- the blood -- is also the worst part. If you want something more than brainless slasher, you have the wrong film. There's no deep thinking here, and the background of the monster doesn't make a lot of sense. How does he survive attacks and fire? Who knows? And even as the film progresses, there's no shift to moving the plot forward... don't expect some big revelation or anything, because you won't find it in this film. Just kids running in the woods.
Listening to the commentary is a great way to learn how to make a film with no budget and how to set it in New Orleans when there is no New Orleans -- reuse extras as much as possible, shoot scenes with doors in other cities so the actors don't have to travel... and many other little tricks. Adam Green may be a genius in this regard, pushing low budget to its most beautiful extreme.
This film was given to horror fans as the answer to the drought in horror goodness, and I think they may have over-hyped it. I know it won a variety of awards at film festivals, and I'm not going to say it didn't deserve them. But this also isn't going to be the best film you'll see all year, so if you've been holding out for a hero, this won't be the film, probably. Sorry, Bonnie Tyler. But it is good... very good, for what it is.