Wow, I really am not sure what to say about this movie? I rented it a few weeks ago while my brother was home, but then never actually got a chance to watch it with him due to my error on how long I thought he was on leave for. The DVD then sat on the DVD player until last night thanks to the back to back Civil War Reenactments I went to, and the dozen or so writing commitments I needed to finish. Last night, however, I finally had some free time and decided to sit down and watch this film, my mind pretty excited due to the time of year -- October -- and the thought that I had a really good classic horror movie ready to go.
I rented this movie because the trailer I watched online looked scary and gave me the impression that it would be similar to the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre (similar as in creepy location and crazy backwoods family). I don’t remember them ever mentioning The Jersey Devil or the Pine Barrens, but maybe I just missed that. I also didn’t realize this movie had been made in 2005 and even while watching it was ignorant of that fact given the types of cars they were driving and the grainy film shots (Note: I like the grainy film shots and wish more horror movies used them -- we don’t need bright and cheery when someone is walking through the woods, especially if evil is afoot). Furthermore I had no idea that there were dozens of negative reviews of this movie posted all over the Internet, and once again wonder if, after deciding to rent a movie based on the trailer I view online, should search a little further and see what other people are saying. Then again, I have been known to really like movies that the majority hates, so maybe I will continue to jump in feet first without testing the waters.
What are people saying? Mostly that this is the worst movie they have ever seen, but I don’t know if I can go that far. The movie wasn’t good, no argument there, but it seemed like it had great potential, especially given the camera angles and some of the creepy characters (the daughter of the crazy old woman being the best of them), and that with just one or two little pushes in the right direction this could have been a successful horror film. It didn’t get those pushes, however, and the end result was a film that had several unlikable characters, scenes that didn’t make sense (the father not hearing the satanic ceremony going on behind the house, the various times it took to walk to the house from the road, and the amount of people that paid a visit to the house being a few right off the top of my head -- oh, and why were they going to keep one woman tied up in the basement?) and odd storylines that never came together.
So, my suggestion is don’t waste your money or time renting this one, but don’t completely close the door on Dante Tomaselli. Satan’s Playground wasn’t very good, but Desecration (1999) and Horror (2002) both look promising and now have cult followings, and many people are excited about The Ocean, which is currently in production.