Reviews: The Redwood Massacre

Andrew reviews his favorite movie of 2015, The Redwood Massacre.

"Jock itch has me angry as balls!"
There’s an unspoken rule of thumb in low budget slasher horror films that the adversary, whatever it may be, shows it face late in the game to allow for buildup towards a feeling vaguely resembling dread.  Within the first few minutes of the latest disappointingly generic shoestring budgeted teen slasher thriller The Redwood Massacre, the uninspired lovechild of Jason Voorhees and Scarecrow from Batman Begins shows his face immediately and thus drains the occasionally scenic looking Scottish horror flick of any sort of dread the filmmakers were aiming to build.  Despite making occasional use of an abandoned stone cabin amid Scotland’s cool green mountaintops and buckets of karo syrup with red food coloring, The Redwood Massacre unfortunately a tedious and at times, annoying bore.

Since we’ve seen this story to death, there’s little reason to go into the story so let’s break down how The Redwood Massacre handles the tropes of the genre.  The first thing any avid horror fan will notice are the stock sound effects.  The clich├ęd silent burlap-bag masked villain in overalls with a red plaid shirt draws his sword with the same exact stock sound effect every time, including unintentionally hilarious moments where squishy sounds of stabbings or characters being punched in the face quite literally have the sound mixers hitting the same button repeatedly like a hyperactive eight year old button mashing his Sega Genesis version of Mortal Kombat.  As previously mentioned, tons of red food coloring suffice for gore in this movie and though there are a lot of stabbings and disembowelments, there’s not a lot here to disgust the most gleefully hardened horror fans.  

"Gee Sally. I hope we get sex and smores
before the Jock Itch killer gets us."
Granted the lone survivor isn’t your average damsel in distress.  Rather, she’s disarmingly ordinary though her purple T-shirt with a blue dinosaur with the word “Vegetarian” imprinted on it was I suppose somewhat unique.  That is until she’s trying to kick a metal bolted door down and the button mashing sound designer goes crazy once again with the stock sound effects.  I will give The Redwood Massacre props for exploiting the Texas Chainsaw thriller in Scotland and the towering mountains and dense forests will always look beautiful no matter what film they’re in.  Otherwise, low budget horror fans aren’t going to get anything new with a film that successfully travels in one ear and out the other.  It’s not so much that this sort of movie has been done to death, but that it doesn’t try to be much more than another halfhearted exercise in teens running away from a standard bad guy with an axe.  The laziness of the sound mix did at least manage to evoke unintentional comedy comparable to the goofy ADR work in Robert Clouse’s Gymkata.

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-Andrew Kotwicki