Going to the Country, Gonna Find Me Some EVIL! “Countrycide” review!


Big sister is getting married and Abby, forking over big money for a bridesmaid dress, can’t scrape together enough dough to afford a flight across country and to scratch off another option, Abby never learned how to drive a car dwindling Abby out of travel possibilities. In steps Mike, Abby’s tall and handsome close friend who does happen to know how to drive and, coincidently, has a car. Mike offers her a trip across the country as her plus one at the wedding. About 1/3 into the drive, exhaustion catches up with them, especially in Mike being behind the wheel 100% of the time, and without much money to spend on a motel room, the traveling duo think it best to set up camp in a stretch of wilderness. After speaking with a local government ranger, they set off to set up camp deep within the woods and as night approaches and the couple finally declare themselves hot for each other, Mike decides to return to the car for some supplies. Abby wakes up next morning realizing Mike has yet to return and in almost the same instance, she forgets where they parked the car. Wandering aimlessly through the thicket, a bear trap sinks its steely teeth into the fleshy siding of her ankle, leaving Abby hobbling alone through the woods with a hungry wolf on her trail to make matters worse. Miraculously, She’s saved by three men on a hunter’s retreat, but as they return with her to their isolated cabin, their suspicious behavior with an unwillingness to take the severely injured Abby straight to the hospital forces her to exit next morning while they stilled slumber and into an adjacent cabin where she discovers horror on a whole new level.

If the word homicide, or maybe even genocide, made sweet, sweet, angry love to the unwilling and scared word countryside, the abdominal “Countrycide” would be birthed into existence on this Earth and our congressional leadership would have legally prohibited it’s understandable abortion. Shepherding as a game foster parent is Canadian born, writer-director Brett Kelly and “Countrycide” will mark filmmaker’s third genre film through the criticism daycare of horror, following the cuddly-campy, Sci-Fi endearing “Ghastlies” and the diaper-shitting disaster that is the “Rise of the Black Cat.” A Gremlins-esques versus a super hero mess have come and gone to deliver “Countrycide” to our chop block that’s totally a horror-survival subgenre with a smidgen of exploitation and a complete lark even if unintentional.

Looking from an outward perspective, Abby is quite useless. Doesn’t know how to drive, doesn’t know where the car is, doesn’t know how to re-trace her steps out of the woods, and, yet, stammers into being a nucleus-downspout of magnetic chaos. Abby finds nothing but pure bad luck and Robin Hodge, inducted into her inaugural credited performance, bounces her saccharine chops off of various personas to become a disenchanted transfiguration character. Along for the ride is Joel Elliott as Abby’s quasi-boyfriend Mike whose emotional connection to Abby becomes decimated in a blink of an eye concluding no conclusive reason to care about his charming mug. He drives a car, cavalierly verbalizes his feelings for Abby, and then is erased from the pages as if a giant erasers literally came down and rubbed him out. Elliott has had roles in other Kelly films and so have these fellow co-stars that round out of the film: Peter Whittaker (“Raiders of the Lost Shark”), Andrew Galligan (“Ghastlies”), Trevor Payer (“My Fair Zombie”), and Lee Cyr (“Jesse James: Lawman”).

Kelly has a knack for campy-saturation and “Countrycide” splits the proverbial seams so much so that the film implodes into self-destruction, laughing manically at itself all the way to the end – funny, I didn’t initially categorize Kelly’s film was a horror-comedy, but therein lies the rub. Even textbook details, such as Abby sweaty and dirty in a fit of shock when a bear trap snaps onto her ankle, need to be illuminated. Another point to discuss is the overall pacing of the dialogue that drowns in over exposition of each event through the casts’ lips that often has a dubbed sensation. It’s like watching a giallo film from the 1970’s but where the synchronization designates more as a clumsy redneck slasher rather than an attractive murder mystery with a colorfully psychopathic adversary. Granted, swift gratuitous gore make the ushered in cut, a rock repeatedly bashed over a head or an giant log spear impalement, and that will please those gore hounds who sing the blood and violence anthem. As for the rough storytelling, characters, such as supposed hunters who hunt with single six-shooter revolver between the three of them, and the across the board acting by either unknowns or Brett Kelly staples, bad doesn’t quite describe “Countrycide’s” banal and bland vitality and must be watched, with a handle of Wild Turkey and a pack of smokes, to fully comprehend where the filmmaker was heading with his survival horror.

Wild Eye Releasing and MVDVisual go bumpkin hunting with “Countrycide” onto DVD home video. Presented in a widescreen format, “Countrycide’s” image condition is good, par for the course when considering other Wild Eye Releasing. Slight aliasing in more ariel shots, but the coloring is fine that’s perhaps on the denser contrast. The stereo sound mix, again, has that dub-like design that makes the actors sound like they’re in a studio recording their dialogue and thus isolates the vocals. Ambient track has foley written all over it with discernible focus on the twigs cracking and the birds chirping. Lets also no forget to mention to stock audio tracks of a wolf howl. There are no bonus features with this release. “Countrycide” woefully deserves a low end score, reeking up on an exploitation-survival horror by slapping together a poorly written script that cliche and trope-riddled, but being the Devil’s advocate enthusiast, “Countrycide” hit the next level in his carer even though that level might be still on the lower end of a split level, below grade.

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