Thursday, October 15, 2015

31 Nights of Terror 2015 #9 - The Barrens (2012)

The Barrens (2012)
Director: Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw 2-4)
Starring: Stephen Moyer, Mia Kirshner, Allie MacDonald
Format: DVD

Plot: A man takes his family on a camping trip and becomes convinced they are being stalked by the legendary monster of the New Jersey Pine Barrens: the Jersey Devil.

Another $1 DVD I picked up from the video store that closed recently in my town, I'd seen the cover of this one around and the synopsis was intriguing. I like horror that takes place in the woods, and am intrigued by rural legends like Bigfoot (or the Jersey Devil as is the case here).

Rather than being a straight-forward monster movie, The Barrens is something of a psychological thriller mixed with elements of nature-run-amok. It keeps you guessing the whole way, and just when you think you've figured it all out, it changes the game. One interesting aspect of the plot is that our main protagonist has been bitten by a rabid dog, sparking his descent into apparent mental breakdown. Rabies isn't a plot device I've seen too many times (outside of something like Cujo, where it's a dog that gets bitten), and made for a nice change of pace here.

I'm not too familiar with True Blood (I've watched one whole episode of it), but Moyer does a pretty good job in the main role. His English accent sneaks through at times, which is distracting, but he handles the job of playing a guy slowly losing his mind well enough. The rest of the cast is also good enough.

Gore-hounds will be happy, with a good amount of claret and chewed flesh on display. Script-wise, the build up to the climax is a tad over-bloated, and could have done with some tightening, but in all I enjoyed The Barrens. It mixes genres, entertains and definitely keeps you guessing.

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