Thursday, May 24, 2012

Devil's Grove

Devil's Grove (2008)

Dir: Michael J.Hein and R.Zoe Judd

IMDB Rating: 5.2 out of 10

A major problem that has plagued the Horror genre for years is the constant cash in's on successful ideas, This tactic sometimes pays off and a classic is created but more often than not it floods the market with cheap cash in's. During the 70's and 80's Slasher films were the biggest example of this trend, with the success of films like Halloween, Friday the 13th and Texas Chainsaw Massacre birthed countless horrible attempts to mimic what worked for those films although several lesser known gems did spawn from the formula. Nowadays it seems that the go to style of horror to cash in on is the effortless "Torture Porn" genre as films like Saw and Hostel paved the way for over the top gore replacing story and suspense. It began with films like Touristas and flooded into lower budget flicks like Murder Set Pieces and this little turd I am checking out tonight. Devil's Grove is a blatant cash in and a weak attempt at that, attempting to cram a convoluted plot among the cheap gore effects that are obviously trying to push boundaries but due to the lack of budget or talent just fail miserably.

          Opening up with a scene in a local fairground where one of the maintenance workers Jimmy is caught having sex with the owners 16 year old daughter, In order to save herself from trouble she quickly pleads that jimmy was raping her.This of course leads to Jimmy being released from his duties. The following day Jimmy is back in his workshop and again is thrown from the premises when the owners daughter expresses she in fact lied and she is in love with the unstable and presumably mentally handicapped Jimmy. Looking for revenge Jimmy violently kills the owners entire family. 6 months later (Although they mention 6 years later in the film) a group of High School students obviously too old for the roles decide to set out to the closed down fairgrounds to shoot a documentary on the Riggs family murders. The "Teens" of course are the typical motley crew of horror film fare albeit with a few tweaks to make it more modern. After receiving some further insight on Jimmy and the murders from an older staff member at the school Ian, Who seems to know an awful lot about Jimmy and his twin brother Johnny who has written a book about the incident, we follow The studious girl Carissa, Her adopted brother Martin, along with The jock Slugger, The Stoner , The cheerleader, the nerd who is possibly gay, The goth chick and the accused slut as they head out to put together their project for the finals. Upon arriving they are given a short window of time before they are to meet back up at the car in order to avoid the daily police patrol and this subplot is completely forgotten about. As the teens split up into groups of two's and start getting shots and providing monologues on the murders it becomes clear that they're not there alone. This is all the more obvious as Jimmy is shown in the park killing a young girl moments before the group arrives therefore completely killing any suspense that could have been built. As expected the teens quickly begin vanishing as Jimmy kidnaps them and takes them to his workshop where he has been keeping the owner Mr.Riggs alive the whole time.

The Stoner Steve and The nerd David are the first to get captured and Jimmy gets to work mutilating them while forcing Mr.Riggs to watch. Dave is cut across the gut and is relieved of his intestines. Back out in the park the rest of the gang continues to report on the Riggs case and a second group of kids are captured and taken to Jimmy's workshop. Katie ,the accused slut has a moment with the goth chick where she admits that she is in fact a virgin before she ironically attempts to make out with her? After that awkward moment is shared the  Goth girl is abducted by Jimmy whom she apparently was writing letters too while he was locked up in a asylum some years ago.Janice (Goth) awakes to find her friends all tied up and mutilated to different degrees before she is stabbed in the shoulders with screwdrivers and then the film kicks into the attempts at shock. Jimmy pierces the jocks penis with a fishing hook before castrating him with gardening sheers in a awful gore set piece that looks terrible and voids all the shock value due to it's low quality.

Back in the park Carissa and Martin continue their reporting while Katie runs into Ian, Ian seduces her into leaving with him as Carissa and Martin are heading back to the meeting spot. In a obvious plot twist Ian attempts to drug Katie and she flees through the grounds. As Carissa and Martin arrive at the rendezvous point another lame twist occurs and Martin is attacked by Carissa and taken to the Workshop, Shortly after that Katie is caught and knocked out. When she awakes she finds herself tied down surrounded by her friends held captive. In a twist that was pretty clear to see from the beginning Ian is actually Jimmy's twin brother Johnny and he was responsible for all of the murders as Jimmy is not mentally capable enough to do so and Carissa is their younger sister. Johnny then quickly kills all the remaining members of the group then Jimmy as the two psychos plant a suicide letter on Jimmy. Of course the film could not be complete without another lame twist as Carissa accidentally kills Katie and Johnny decides in order to get off Scott free he must not leave anyone alive and he kills Carissa. Surprisingly allot of these kills completely lack any blood at all which I did not see coming as I thought the film would at least try and go out with a bang but I guess their F/X man was not up to task leaving the film with a really lackluster finale.

      As I stated before this film is a blatant cash in on the popularity of the "Torture Porn" genre of horror and it shows as even in the films trailer it references Hostel, Saw and Wolf Creek among others as being "Pussies" compared to this film, Unfortunately for the filmmakers that statement is not near being true. This film tried too hard to be these other movies instead of trying to survive on it's own merits. The Family twists in the plot are nearly a lift from Saw but not as deep and thought out , the gore is ripped from Hostel and cannot hold a candle to that films effects. If this film would have spent more time on the set pieces and gore effects they may have had a fun little gore flick here because the story is not awful and the setting in the fairgrounds works well but they tried too hard with all the twists to surprise the viewers.A better approach for this flick would be to go lighter on story and all out on the blood and guts, Because the actors in this film are not the caliber to handle a plot heavy film. They should have spent more time and cash on F/X and honestly that's my only real complaint, I mean if you are going to make a gore film and your main selling point is making other films in the genre look like "Pussies" then it should deliver the goods on that front because the script and acting is not gonna float your little film when it's just supposed to be a gore flick anyway. If you are a die hard fan of Torture Porn then I guess check this out but I am not sure any of those exist and as a horror fan you are not missing anything by skipping this one. Sad thing is I have seen way better gore effects in films with far less of a budget and that is one of this films main selling points so it fails miserably. However if you want to see a castration scene that will actually make you laugh instead of cringe then certainly rent this one and fast forward t that part, Not since "Street Trash" have I felt so non-offended by a scene where a man's penis is amputated. I can never sit through those types of scenes without looking away, so for that.....Thanks?

Fun Factor:4
Overall: 4 out of 10

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