Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Grappler Horror: River of Darkness

When in doubt, review a shitty horror film.  Today's official review fell through, so you'll just have to be content to see me mock a bad, bad horror film Starring and Produced by Kurt Angle.  If you don't know, Mr. Angle has started a Production Company- North Shore Pictures- and is making a whole slew of these movies.  It started with End Game, but has really picked up with this film.  With another film- Death From Above- on the horizon, it's good to take a look at this film to see what we can expect.  The film stars Kurt Angle on the opposite side of the law from End Game as a local Sheriff, as well as wrestlers Kevin Nash and Sid Vicious as zombies.  Bill Hinzman- aka the Writer/Director/Producer/Editor/Star of Flesheater- is on board too.  The plot involves zombies being reanimated as part of a revenge scheme, but it's full of more holes than Scarface at the end of his film.  As a recent release, I'm make this as SPOILER free as possible, but I have to discuss some major details.  Prepare you unnatural lighting for our trip down the...
A woman leaves work at a Diner.  For no good reason, she walks around the pier for a bit and gets killed by a tall guy in a coat.  In the movie's first notable error, you can see dried 'blood' on the wood besides the stuff that just started falling!  It took a couple takes there, I guess.  The Sheriff (Angle) and his partner- aka the most boring actor ever- arrive and comment on how gory the crime scene is.  Angle starts asking about a name 'Hix' that is carved in the woman's body, but nobody will answer him.  In true Police fashion, he flashes the crime scene photo to everyone in sight!  There's also a sub-plot involving Ray 'Glacier' Lloyd as a man in the Diner who doesn't like Kurt.  The point of this- there is none.  In a drawn out moment, two guys on a boat are killed by unseen killers.  In another error, the first man goes from having a hook through his chest to not having one from when he's first seen and when his body is found the next morning.  Yet again, Kurt shows up and, yet again, he does nothing.
After a lot of dicking around, Kurt finally gets the named 'Hix' matched to a person, a drifter living out in the woods (Hinzman).  Angle and company just leave, leading to more talk about the town's secret.  In a weird bit of logic, the town has a deep, dark secret involving three brothers that were killed when one of them was accused of rape.  The odd thing is that Kurt's character has no clue about this, despite being the Sheriff and the moving making no mention of him being a new resident or anything.  Did he move there recently?  If not, why does he not know the story?  Another old man is killed in front of his wife, but they don't kill her.  The plot reason for this, non-existent.  Speaking of non-existent reasoning, a trio of new characters show up about forty minutes in.  They are ghost hunters coming to town...for some reason.  By the way, they're main characters.
In an odd moment, the zombies kill a little girl in the Woods.  I'm sorry, but why?  Was she involved in the murder 30 years ago?  If it's the zombies going after the descendants, then why were they killing nobody but old men- save for the waitress- until now?  Pick a motivation!  The ghost hunters talk to some black guys at a gas station and then go out on the lake, only for one of them to be killed by a zombie.  Motivation?  'Glacier' and the other townies kidnap Hinzman and stop for gas.  Don't hide the body wrapped up in a burlap sack, idiots!  Kurt gets called and rushes to the water, knowing of their plan to give his body to the zombies.  In a confusing bit, Kurt takes a boat because it's big and will look imposing.  Minutes later, he asks the guy to sneak up on the townies.  Good grief!  Kurt finds the two remaining teens, but one zombie (Nash) shows up to kill the guy and fight Kurt.  The big face-off between them lasts...for about ten seconds.  Yea.  The remaining group catches up to the townies and threatens to shoot them...but doesn't actually do anything.  As Hinzman approaches the zombies, the lead ghost hunter shoots him, causing the movie to fade to black.  No, really.  In Epilogue Narration, she explains that Hinzman was her grandfather...and the man that raped her mother.  Seriously, they just toss that in at the end!  The End.
Brains?  The plot of this movie is a giant, freaking mess.  It's simple in theory, but seriously screwed up in execution.  Where to begin?  Angle, as the star and the Fundraiser of the film, plays the least important role.  He just wanders from place to place not doing, well, anything.  Second, the motivation of the zombies is confusing.  They want revenge, so they start by killing a waitress who did nothing, followed by some old men who probably did.  That doesn't explain the little girl, nor does it explain the two ghost hunters who just came to town days earlier.  Pick a reason for things to happen!  What other things can I bitch about?  Oh yeah, the acting is almost universally-terrible.  When Kurt Angle- who has the range of a rotary phone- is your best actor, something is terribly, terribly wrong!  I also have to question one bit- why is Bill Hinzman here and not playing a zombie?  I just assumed that was in his contract!  Speaking of casting, the film wastes Sid Vicious and Kevin Nash as the two lead zombies.  The characters are so disposable that it's easy to forget that there is a third zombie!  There is some camp value to be had here, but I don't recommend it to a lot of people.  I suppose the random, 'suddenly explain everything at the end' bit is kind of funny a sad way.  Take us away, subtle townies...
Up next, I watch the American counterpart to a Canadian film based on a book.  Will the changes be for the better or just make it a bloody mess?  Stay tuned...
River of Darkness
River of Darkness [Blu-ray]  

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