20 June 2011 | gavin6942
Maybe It Was the Budget, But the Film Came Up Short
Takes place at a Northern Minnesota lake cabin where a brother and sister visit their father and step-mom. As the first night unfolds with uncomfortable small-talk and tension, tragedy strikes.
The film itself is not bad. The concept is quite strong -- a family, already tense, is put on edge by a stranger who may be a crazy killer or my be trying to save them from something even worse. The choice to not show the something even worse actually made the film stronger (was this for budget reasons or simply to allow for our imaginations to run wild?).
I have to give it some personal respect for being shot in Hayward, Wisconsin. Being a 30-year Wisconsin native, I always enjoy seeing our state get some film time. We have had our share of good films shot here, but there is always room for more. While this is not the greatest film, it is still welcome.
My problem with the film was the hackneyed dialogue. The acting was not bad, but the lines were cheesy. What really turned me off was the son telling the dad, "Yeah, walk away. You're really good at that." That line is so cheesy, so unrealistic and cliché. I just cannot see a son really saying that to his dad.
Beyond that, any real problems were budget issues. This same script given to a production company with a million or two to throw around and we would have a successful feature. I hate to knock a film for its budget, but in this case I have to. I have seen more done with less, but here the shortfalls were just too apparent.
You might still wish to give the film a chance. Maybe I was just feeling critical the day I watched it. Many others have loved it and the director, Gregg Holtgrewe, has received a fair amount of praise. And, personally, Gregg is a really nice guy, so I feel his work deserves a fair shake. Best horror film you see this year? No. But still decent -- something like "Evil Dead" meets "Feast", with an Ingmar Bergman influence.