29 August 2008 | Coventry
The More the Merrier (and Gorier?)
The first thing you'll immediately notice about "Hoboken Hollow" (or at least I did) is the very, very extended cast list. The opening credits just don't stop introducing new names - among them a couple of very familiar ones like Dennis Hopper and Michael Madsen - and you promptly realize what this movie will lack are one or two actual leading characters. "Hoboken Hollow" is based on true events that probably did involve a lot of people, but perhaps writer/director Glen Stephens should have just focused on the kidnapping and torturing of hitch-hikers and homeless people instead of also wanting to narrate a dozen of redundant sub plots. The tale of the so-called "Texas Slave Ranch" basically revolved on a family of deranged hicks forcing random travelers to labor on their ranch, but the screenplay finds it absolutely necessary to throw in story lines about real-estate issues, soldiers with post-Iraq traumas and demented family relations. It also never feels as if the movie is inspired by true events. It's your average modern "torture-porn" flick with a lot of disgusting scenery and villains with terrible dental hygiene, but there never is any atmosphere of suspense or genuine morbidity to detect. And, now that we're being completely blunt and honest, this film will probably not even satisfy the real gorehounds and sick puppies among us. There's a fair share of carnage and repulsiveness on display, but the sickness-factor never approaches that of other "Torture Porn" flicks like, say, "Hostel", "Saw" or "Wolf Creek". The rape sequence is quite unpleasant to behold (as rape sequences always are), but the actual torture footage is limited to shots of the victims getting poked with an electric shock device and getting dragged behind a car. Glen Stephens may perhaps be a little over-ambitious, but especially during a handful of isolated moments - his directing skills definitely show a lot of potential and he most certainly has a talented eye for appropriate casting. The aforementioned "bigger" stars Dennis Hopper and Michael Madsen only appear in small roles, but some of the other villains are aptly cast like C. Thomas Howell as the nastily grinning Clayton and Mark Holton (who played the titular role in "Gacy") as the slightly mentally unstable Weldon. Other remarkable B-movie names in the cast include Lin Shaye ("2000 Maniacs"), Robert Carradine, Dedee Pfeiffer and Randy Spelling. "Hoboken Hollow" is an overall weak and unsatisfying movie, but it's not entirely without interest for tolerant horror fanatics.