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Redwood Massacre: Annihilation

Reviewed by Mike Macabre

Independent horror constantly shows us that it can rival the efforts of its mainstream counterparts. With awesome special effects, great acting and stunning locations, many could easily be mistaken for a big budget flick. In fact, only recently we’ve reviewed such movies. The terrific acting in The Legend of the Muse, the stunning scenery in The Faceless Man and the great effects in both are prime examples. Redwood Massacre: Annihilation literally has all of the above.

Synopsis

A stranger obsessed with the unsolved Redwood murders, convinces a group of bereaved family members to venture into the wilderness in hope of proving the existence of the infamous killer. Their quest for truth sees a sinister turn of events, as the hunters become the hunted. A blood-soaked fight for survival ensues when they find that the tales of the axe-wielding maniac are very real.

Redwood Massacre: Annihilation

Review

The movie opens with a massacre. The Burlap Killer strolls amongst a sea of bodies, slicing and dicing survivors amid a cacophony of wails and screams. It’s a solid opening, giving viewers a reminder of the Burlap Killer’s brutal, unrelenting nature. This is then followed with another murder by a different killer! However, he’s just as sadistic as our main antagonist.

After this prologue we’re treated to some great cinematography. It has to be said, Scotland is an absolutely stunning place. With rolling hills, winding streams and endless landscapes, you couldn’t ask for a more picturesque location. Yet, the vast majority of the movie takes place in an underground military bunker. I mean, it makes sense. The beauty of the Scottish countryside would definitely detract from the brutal murders occurring throughout the flick! Director David Ryan Keith certainly made the best decision on that front.

Whilst we’re talking about good decisions, let’s focus on the acting!

Who’s who?

Redwood Massacre: Annihilation

The film is made up of a stellar cast each bringing a unique aspect to the storyline. Danielle Harris plays her role as Laura Dempsey superbly. A constant presence throughout the movie, Harris’ convincing portrayal of a kick ass fighter is certainly one to watch. With her confident demeanour and determination it’s easy to fear for the Burlap Killer himself as opposed to his potential victims. This is exacerbated even further when you incorporate Gary Kasper. With his huge, imposing frame and menacing persona you can’t help but yearn for a face off between him and the antagonist. Add to that the huge arsenal he brings with him, it’s not your bog-standard slasher! However, the man-mountain also has a softer side when it comes to his friends. The camaraderie displayed throughout the movie is a joy to behold.

Jon Campling is great in his role as Tom Dempsey, Laura’s father. He’s driven, yet easily swayed and is happy to let his daughter lead the way. Damien Puckler plays Max, the mysterious stranger who convinces the party to go and find the masked killer. His motives are clear from the outset and he lives up to these expectations as the movie goes on. Finally, Tevy Poe‘s portrayal of Jen is the only time the director conforms to stereotype. The flirtatious friend of Laura is a standard mould seen in the vast majority of slashers, yet, she still plays a good part and ultimately I think the movie is perfectly cast.

The Effects

Redwood Massacre: Annihilation

As you can probably expect if you saw the first film, Redwood Massacre: Annihilation is rife with blood, gore and great effects. Given the small cast, we do have to wait a considerable amount of time before we get to the brutal killings, however, this just serves to build suspense. There are some great props used throughout and the creative murders are a credit to the makeup department and special effects team. There’s dismemberment, evisceration and, as you can guess, bucket loads of gore!

Overall, this movie is certainly not one to be missed and I would highly recommend it to everyone. Even if you haven’t seen the first one, you can quickly grasp the concept!

Check out the trailer here

Redwood Massacre: Annihilation is coming to DVD and Digital on October 20th from Uncork’d Entertainment.

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Animal Among Us

At Erebus Horror we all love a good creature feature! They tend to be fun, gory and allow upcoming filmmakers to show their mettle. Sometimes the creature doesn’t play the pivotal role, as seen in our review of ‘Monstrous’. Other times, it’s not actually a ‘creature’ at all! But with all instances, the movie can be hugely enjoyable providing it’s got a good storyline, stellar acting and effective use of budget. So where does Animal Among Us sit? Let’s find out!

Synopsis

Christian Oliver (“Sense8”, House of Good & Evil) and Larisa Oleynik (“Mad Men”, 10 Things I Hate About You) come face to face with hirsute terror in John Woodruff’s highly-anticipated horror throwback, Animal Among Us.

Fifteen years ago, two teenage girls were murdered at Merrymaker Campgrounds. The case was filed as an animal attack, the camp was condemned, and the killer never found. But something horrific still waits in those woods, ready to kill again.

Also starring Don Frye, Christine Donlon, Jonathan Murphy, Erin Daniels, Heather Tom, Jasmine Dustin, and Whitney Davis.

Animal Among Us

Cited as ‘Friday the 13th meets Dog Soldiers’, the movie opens with a distressed woman covered in blood and with no indication as to what’s happened. This then cuts to Oleynik in her role as ranger Anita. She drives into the Merrymaker Camp unaware she is being watched. From the creature’s POV we see her depart, before it raises a clawed hand in all its beautiful, b-movie goodness. The tone is set and the movie certainly doesn’t disappoint!

Review

So lets talk about the acting. Animal Among Us is perfectly cast with an array of talent who all give an outstanding performance. Each took their role to a whole new level. Anita’s driven and ambitious character is a stark contrast to sister Poppy’s (Donlon) cautious, yet seductive manner. Then we’ve got the suave, self-righteous Roland (Oliver) and tough, cigar-chomping Burl (Frye). Throw in a bit of humour courtesy of Jonathan Murphy’s character and you’ve got an exceptional lineup!

Animal Among Us

Now, storyline. It is a pretty good story. It’s well thought out and has a number of twists and turns along the way that keeps it from going stale. The only problem is the creature. I’m not going to give anything away, but what I will say is that the movie does risk disappointing a lot of monster enthusiasts who go into this hoping to see a ‘traditional’ creature-feature. However, does the unconventional approach take anything away from the movie? I wouldn’t say so. What I would say is selling the movie under the phrase ‘Friday the 13th meets Dog Soldiers’ is a bit misleading. I can kind of see Friday the 13th link (at a stretch) in that its set at a campsite… But Dog Soldiers? I have no idea where that link is.

Written by Jonathan Murphy. Produced by Murphy and Woodruff. Animal Among Us is available free and exclusive on Tubi from Uncork’d Entertainment

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