Director: Mark Young
Writer: Mark Young and Adam Frazier
Starring: Scout Taylor-Compton, Olivia Luccardi and Lew Temple
The story behind this film is actually pretty solid. We have a group of friends that are going hiking in the woods. I’m already on board, because the setting of the woods is something that is terrifying. You have the isolation of not being able to get help if something goes wrong. This film is interesting though because the group of 6, all of them are in medical school minus one. The main character Alice (Taylor-Compton) is studying to be a doctor who investigates viruses. We also learn that her mother has passed away and her father is strict in his ways. He was a former Army Ranger and taught her to hunt, but she didn’t take to it after she had to kill a rabbit she shot. Her girlfriend is Jules (Olivia Luccardi) who isn’t really fitting in.
The movie really gets into it after an opening scene of a woman handcuffed to a bed. There is something wrong with her. That first night, Matt (George Finn) is attacked by a creature that is eerily human. When his girlfriend, Brienne (Renee Olstead) comes to look for him, she is attacked by it as well. The problem here though is that we don’t get much of the creatures for quite a while after this. The following day they run into Talbot (Lew Temple) who has a cabin they go to.
As I’ve alluded to, the editing has some issues here. We get a pretty good start to this film that actually had me hooked, the problem is that it gets stagnant after this. The film tries to introduce a love issue where Jessie (Brock Kelly) still has a thing for Alice even though he’s there with his girlfriend, Gina (Landry Allbright). This creates some tension, but not the kind that builds for the film. Everything the film builds in the first act gets lost as they hold up in the cabin trying to figure out what to do and what is going on. I will give that the film does pick up in the third act, but personally it was too little too late in my opinion. I did like the ending and how it played out.
The acting also had some issues. Taylor-Compton was not one of them though. She definitely killed her role. It is interesting that in her interview for this film, she talked about how she has grown since her roles early on when she was vulnerable. Her character had some real depth, internal struggle and actually some growth when she realizes what she has to do to survive. Luccardi was okay in showing her fear, but I didn’t get the strength of someone who is confident in her sexuality like she is supposed to be portraying. Temple was really good as well. The rest of the cast was a little bit flat. I sensed arrogance about them, which I should as they are all going to be doctors, but the angles they are trying to play to build the story just fell flat unfortunately. The actors that played the creatures did a great job bringing them to life.
To get back on the positives was the effects for this film. They went pretty much exclusively practical. I’m not even sure if I recall at any point where they went CGI and if they did it was seamless. The creatures looked really good and I was impressed by this. The changing into them doesn’t really follow set rules to me, but I do think that is more with the story and won’t hold it against the effects at all.
The sound design of the film was also solid. We get a lot of nature sounds, which I like because it does help build the isolation of the setting of the film. I did notice some music during times where tension is building and that was good. There is also some music that comes in very softly. I thought this was a good touch as is shouldn’t be the focal point.
Now with that said, I was slightly disappointed in this film as it does have a good premise. This gives off vibes of 28 Days Later, but the film needed to shore up the actual rules of what is going on. With that said, I like the setting of the film. I thought it was good as it raises the stakes of killing the creatures before they spread outward. The film does try to build some angles between the characters that failed for me. The editing also has some issues, which is a shame as the film starts off well and ends good, but the middle I lost interest. The acting is hit or miss. Some of it was really good while others came off as flat. The effects of the film are really good and I thought the look of the creatures was great. Sound design of the film was also good and helped to build the tension for the scenes. Overall though I would recommend this to fans of this type of film as I feel this one misses the mark. I do feel that it is still above average and does some good things still.
My Rating: 6 out of 10