10 May 2012 | jaguiar313
Well done but, generic and routine backwoods horror
Madison County's biggest fault as a horror film is not what it does but, what it doesn't do. And that is deviate at all from the backwoods horror sub-genre formula. The movie follows the cliché' blueprint of getting five attractive twenty-somethings to a secluded rural area where they can be placed in proximity with the trademarked deranged locals. In this case they are going to research a book about a serial killer who may, or may not exist in secluded rustic Madison County. Director/writer Eric England seems to have seen enough of these films to put one together competently on a technical level. There is some nice production value for a flick reportedly made for around $70,000. The visuals are fine and creepy and he does create some nice atmosphere and some tension.His cast of young attractive characters are likable enough and there is some blood once things get going. But, England follows the formula so closely that there aren't many surprises. You know the locals are suspicious and strange for a reason and that there really is no question as to whether the killer really exists. His leads while likable are not overly interesting. The locals are generic creepy hillbillies and the villains are never given enough screen time to build their characters and thus aren't that frightening. They never rise above the cliché' evil redneck stereotype and we just can't generate enough interest in them to care or be afraid. Even the pig masked killer, Damien Ewell, that is the main nut job, is very ho hum even when on the attack. It's as if England thought a pig mask was enough to create character and menace. And, as far as these films go, Madison County is bit too tame. In this case a little over the top would have been welcome as nothing grabs us, shocks us or horrifies us. There is blood but, it is basically some routine stabbings and ax wounds. And since we've waited till the last act to get to the good stuff, we feel a bit cheated by what little we get and how soon it's over. (With credits County is barely over 80 minutes.) If you are going to present a classic scenario like this, shake things up a bit (ex. Cabin In The Woods). Or at the very least, throw all the classic elements at us with a bit of good old fashioned ferocity. For a horror flick, Madison County is far too laid back. No, I don't think Eric England is a bad filmmaker, he can create tension and atmosphere and I've seen far worse then his Madison County but, he needs to learn that innovation is far more effective then imitation when it comes to the horror movies he obviously enjoys. And if you can't innovate, throw some blood and carnage in our faces to keep us awake. Madison County is still a mildly enjoyable horror but, I think England has the potential to deliver much more.