In addition to the usual reviews and comments you would find on a horror movie blog, this is also a document of the wonderfully vast horror movie section of the video store I worked at in my youth.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

A Road Trip From Hell.

Local indie horror flick If A Tree Falls comes out on DVD today via Black Fawn Films.

When four friends travelling across Canada stop to camp for the night, they are stalked by a ruthless gang of locals.

Director Phil Carrer & writer and star Ryan Barrett have laid down some raw and wholly downbeat stuff here. For the most part, I liked If A Tree Falls, but did find it a little uneven. It is one of those efforts, and I find this a lot with low-budget indies – 2004’s Malevolence being another example – where a few key elements make it a memorable affair. Its washed-out grindhouse aesthetic is extremely authentic, even perhaps too much so. I love this style as much as the next guy, but you don’t want it so overwhelming that it distracts from the actual subject matter. I did however, think that the plucky folk music was an excellent choice, as it instilled a juxtaposition reminiscent of Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left.

The movie has several individual sequences that worked, an early sequence with Laurie (Emily Alatalo) and a later section with Lisa & Vanessa (Jennifer De Lucia & Breanne TeBoekhorst) inside their tent were very effective, but I had some issues with the movie overall. The motivations, especially toward the end, of both the hunters and hunted were a little muddied. I have since learned it was meant to be that way, as Carrer and Barrett have a sequel in mind. I also found the gore to be a little inconsistent. The execution was fine, but there were a few occasions where the wounds didn’t seem to match the severity of the damage inflicted.

One thing I am impressed with, is the solid marketing behind If A Tree Falls. The trailer and poster are both top notch and of course, I’m a big fan of THIS.

I'm so chuffed that some filmmakers have started doing this. It really shows a love for the era my generation of horror fans cut our teeth on.

I could rhyme off a list of films, from Jeff Lieberman’s Just Before Dawn all the way up to 2008’s Eden Lake, where this has been done better, but If A Tree Falls is still worth a watch. I admire the filmmakers’ get-out-and-do-it attitude and what they accomplished on a non-existent budget.


Filmchecker-Tom said...

Unter dem Deckmantel eines scheinbar billig inszenierten „Grindhouse“-Movies serviert uns Nachwuchsregisseur „Gabriel Carrer“ einen haarsträubenden Horrortrip, der vor allem für ungeübte Horrorfilmzuschauer zu einer Gefühlsachterbahn der kontroversen Sorte werden könnte.
Das kaum vorhandene Story-Gerüst wird mit fragwürdigen und vor allem menschenverachtenden Szenen „gefüllt“, die in ihrer Darstellung abartiger nicht hätten ausfallen können. Durch den krieseligen „Grindhouse“-Stil wirken die Geschehnisse ungeschönt und krude und gewinnen somit an Authentizität. Leider hinterlässt „If a Tree falls“, trotz der effektiv künstlerischen Stilmittel, dennoch ein merklich unangenehmes Bauchgefühl. Welchen Sinn Carrer mit seinem Film verfolgen will, bleibt unklar. Anders als bei diversen anderen „Grindhouse“-Filmen nimmt sich „If a Tree falls“ merklich ernst und die plakativ exploitationlastige Inszenierung und die schonungslosen Kaltschnäuzigkeit der „gesichtslosen“ Täter wirft die Frage in den Raum, ob man wahrlich auf einen derartigen Film gewartet hat und ob die Welt einen weiteren menschenverachtenden Film dieser Sorte wirklich braucht.

Fazit: 3/10 Punkte.

Meine ausführliche Review:

Black Fawn Distribution said...

You can now watch online or purchase a DVD copy of "If A Tree Falls" from! Check it out!

Black Fawn Distribution said...
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