Backwoods Bloodbath

Dir. Donn Kennedy

In 1877, a fierce, mysterious creature was discovered in the northern woods of Oneida County, Wisconsin. Dubbed ‘The Black Hodag’ by the locals, this legendary monster, rumoured to have a taste for human flesh, was spoken of only in hushed tones by those who even dared to speak its name.

Jump to the present day, and six former college friends are reunited at the funeral of a recently deceased mutual friend. Keen to catch up and reflect on old times, they embark on a road trip into rural Wisconsin to rent a cabin in the heart of the Black Forest where they intend to spend the weekend partying. Their first night in the area sees them spending the evening at a nearby bar, listening to the locals' dark tales of the creature said to stalk the woods. The friends’ cynicism and disbelief soon turns to terror as mutilated bodies begin cropping up and it finally dawns on them that they have just become the latest items on the Black Hodag’s menu.

Winner of the Best Horror Feature award at the New York Independent Film Festival, Backwoods Bloodbath is the debut feature from writer-director Donn Kennedy. Taking the form of a shamelessly trashy throwback to the backwoods slasher movies of the early 1980s, such as Just Before Dawn, Friday the 13th and Madman, director Kennedy himself describes the flick as “American Pie in the woods, where the pie eats the kids.” This gore-laden, low budget indie horror attempts to recreate and deliver the shocks and scares in genuine old school-style with generous lashings of carnage, nudity and comic dialogue, whilst also nodding to the likes of recent slasher-with-a-twist fare such as Jeepers Creepers and Reeker.

Amongst all the boobs and gore is a cast comprising of the usual slasher 'types' on a college reunion trip, despite the fact that none of them seem to like each other very much. As the characters argue their way to the secluded cabin, stopping off on the way to encounter the usual roster of 'crazy yocal' types, it becomes very obvious that this film has its tongue stuck firmly in its flayed cheek, and the rather witty script exhibits an anarchic charm that indulges in barbed exchanges and a dark sense of humour played strictly for laughs.

The familiar plotting of umpteen other slasher films plays out as the friends explore the woods around the cabin, only to be picked off one by one in increasingly grisly and gory ways by a monstrous figure that looks like a member of Lordi. On a number of occasions the tension is racked up quite successfully, however for what it lacks in tension, Backwoods Bloodbath makes up for elsewhere in energetic enthusiasm and buckets of the red stuff. And if the other red stuff is consumed in copious amounts whilst watching this, it can only add to the glee you might find yourself experiencing – or just go some way to making the whole experience that little more bearable.

Backwoods Bloodbath (cert. 18) was released on DVD (£12.99) by MVM on 26th April 2010


Anonymous said…
I like the fact that, even though the 'types' are stereotypical, that at least attention was paid to being creative and witty. Too many slashers get the formula down but don't do anything to differentiate themselves.

This sounds like fun. Great review.
James Gracey said…
It was indeed fun, and it is obvious that despite budget constraints, the filmmakers have at least paid attention to the script and have tried to add a few little twists of their own here and there to keep things fresh. ;o)
Tower Farm said…
Nudity...laughs...and a low budget. Sounds like a winner to me! Thanks for bringing this movie to my attention, I'll be on the lookout!
If you can squeeze in JEEPERS CREEPERS and REEKER by comparison, Id give it a go!

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