Sunday, July 27, 2014

Horror Film Review

Buck Wild (2013):  Goofy zombie flick from Texas that, shockingly, revolves around hunting.  A bit of tongue-in-cheek, I wager, as that state is known for its preponderance of firearms which should theoretically place the zombies at a disadvantage.  For the most part, however, the subtlety of satire is eschewed in favor of out and out silliness.  And it kind of works.

Four friends travel to a remote lodge in rural Texas for a weekend of relaxation and deer hunting.  They are:  "everyman" lead friend Craig (Matthew Albrecht), his womanizing best friend Lance (Isaac Harrison), scaredy cat friend Tom (Dru Lockwood) who may or may not be gay, and Craig's slightly psychotic cousin Jerry (Jarrod Pistilli) from New York who talks like Clint Eastwood but looks like Benedict Cumberbatch. 

Lodge owner Clem (Jason Harris) falls ill after he's bitten by a chupacabra, a mythological dog-like critter from Mexican folklore.  Jerry snaps the critter's neck and then shoots Clem, a lot, but Clem won't die.  Lance goes missing, the guys split up to search for him, and Tom gets himself captured by a group of local hicks led by Billy Ray (Mark Ford), a self-proclaimed "bad ass" who wears a feather boa and speaks with a British accent.  Don't ask cuz I don't know.  Jerry rescues Tom, sort of, and Craig finds Lance...sort of.  Anyway, after a number of misadventures, including one where Tom kills the fat guy who tormented him at Billy Ray's with a frozen fish and another where undead Lance, temporarily lucid after eating a bag of marijuana brownies, gives Craig love life advice, the guys wind up barricaded in the lodge while zombies mass outside.  The final confrontation is fairly epic, of course, not everyone survives. 

I found myself liking this film even though every neuron in my brain screamed at me not to.  I liked the running gag of Tom constantly losing his clothes as well as the bickering between Craig and Jerry over the Godfather trilogy.  Without the chemistry among the friends, this would have been a very different and crappier movie. I have a few complaints, the main one regarding a grenade.  In the first act, the friends have a run in with Billy Ray's crew at a gas station.  Billy Ray flashes a grenade tied to his belt to prove he's a bad ass, so for the inevitable final confrontation, I expected that grenade to come into play.  Poetic justice and all that, but it didn't.  Missed opportunity.  I also didn't care for the sudden shift in tone from silly to serious with regards to Tom's fate.  Too jarring and out of place.  Although when I think about it, I have a feeling that scene must be an inside joke of some kind.  Good for the filmmakers, a head-scratcher for the rest of us.

The Skinny

Acting:  Oh, you know.  Fair to middling.  Lockwood stands out a bit more than the rest.
Story:  Chupacabra zombie virus in Texas.  Not what you'd call ordinary.  I like not ordinary.
Direction:  Some neat stuff from director/writer Tyler Glodt who also plays the macho yet ineffectual Officer Shipley.  Despite it being a meteorological impossibility, I enjoyed the backlit zombie horde emerging from the fog. 
Production Values:  Cheap, yes.  Will you feel cheated?  Not in the least.  The budget wasn't that low.
Gore/FX:  Copious blood, most of which finds its way onto to Tom.  One evisceration shot that's not too graphic.  Decent zombie make up.  The chupacabra itself is a puppet.  A nasty gross puppet, but a puppet nonetheless.  No CGI as far as I could tell.
Scares:  Mmm...not really.  Maybe a slight one in the barn.
Ending:  Driving a pickup into the sunset...with a surprise in the back.  So, yeah...clich├ęd. 
Verdict:  Should you see Buck Wild?  It's goofy fun with buckets of blood, zombies, and a half-naked guy running around.  Really, what else do you need? 

Rating:  3 out of 5

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