22nd Jul2015

‘The Redwood Massacre’ Review

by Joel Harley

Stars: Mark Wood, Lisa Cameron, Lisa Livingstone, Rebecca Wilkie, Adam Coutts, Lee Hutcheon, Benjamin Selway, Alec Westwood, Liam Matheson, Morgan Faith Keith, Claire Bearn, Cheryl Bernard | Written and Directed by David Ryan Keith


For five adventurous friends, visiting the legendary murder site of the Redwood House has all the hallmarks of being an exciting and thrilling camping weekend away. A popular site for revellers and party goers, each year on the exact date of the famous local family massacre, people from around the country head out to the site to have fun and scare each other. Events take a bloody turn for the worse when the innocent campers discover the Redwood legend is in fact a horrible bloody reality, which turns the unsuspecting victims into prey for a mysterious axe wielding maniac that has remained dormant for 20 years.

Burlap sack wearing loon runs about the place menacing unsuspecting campers. There’s the word ‘massacre’ in the title. Viewers should know what to expect from The Redwood Massacre, then, which pits a gang of hapless campers against a massive psychopath in the (red)woods.

David Ryan Keith’s full-length horror debut garnered decent reviews upon its festival release, but one can’t help but wonder whether that’s thanks only to its reasonable level of gore and for the fact that it isn’t found footage. Its villain isn’t too bad either, even if he is a little derivative (think old-school Jason Voorhees or whoever the guy in The Hills Run Red was supposed to be), with plenty of the requisite aggression and violence you’d expect from such a character.

Which is infinitely preferable to his victims; a loud, bickering gang of barely believable imbeciles one can’t wait to see die – hard. This, at least, they do. The action in The Redwood Massacre is admirably ambitious, packing in more than one might expect from a film with such a low-budget and from such a (relatively) novice director. Beyond the cast and some of the writing, it’s admirably slick and professional – packing in a finale that genuinely manages to impress.

It feels too long, annoys too frequently and is simply too unoriginal to whole-heartedly recommend, but you can do far worse than The Redwood Massacre. It’s not even the worst film with ‘massacre’ in the title (hello Bunnyman, The Next Generation and Texas Roadside) but, well, it goes without saying that it’s no Texas Chain Saw.

** 2/5


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