There are so many sub-genres of horror these days. There is the ever-popular teen slasher flick, there is Japanese horror, gore, zombie, thrillers and even the recent popularity of the 70’s throwback. This one falls into the dramatic slow-burn category. The plot here sounds like something out of one of the better Steven King short stories. Someone in the federal government discovers that the population of little Rockford Falls seems to have remained steady for over a hundred years. An official is sent to investigate this anomaly, and what he finds is a mixture of small-town life, strong religious beliefs and some eerily strange goings-on.
This is actually not a bad little film. From the cover, I was expecting yet-another week low-budget horror film full of bad jump scares and overly-predictable plot developments. Well, there are some pretty lame jump scares here, and the plot is about as transparent as a sliding glass door, but the film has a certain charm nonetheless. Plus, you get Fred Durst in a surprisingly effective role as the town Sheriff. This may not be a film that is ready for the multiplex, but it is most definitely worth a rental.
The audio track is entirely average, and that is not totally a bad thing. Dialog can be a bit hard to hear on occasion, but it is basically clear enough. The surrounds are used sparingly, but are put to good use when they are utilized. Bass tones are not too prevalent, so the use of a subwoofer may not even be necessary. The score is crafted well, however, which makes some of the problems with the weak dialog track bearable. As with the film itself, the marginal audio track is actually just part of the film’s simple charm.
The quality of the video here is basically good. The images are clean and clear, and there is very little grain. There are some issues with jagged edges, however. One shot will be perfectly clean, while the very next will be anything but smooth. The good news is, the images are clean more often than not.
The real issue, however, is not the prevalence of jaggies but the shoddy cinematography itself. To be perfectly honest, this is a film that is just really poorly shot. Some scenes are shot too close to the actors, while others are framed too far away. The images are sometimes out of focus, and sometimes downright blurry. One scene will be stylized and decidedly low-budget, and the next will be perfectly framed. I really don’t think this was done for dramatic effect, and if it was, it was a very poor decision.
This disc is pretty light on the extras. There are a few trailers for both low-budget and mainstream horror films, and there is an alternate ending. I am always excited to see an alternate ending, especially for a film such as this one, but I was really hoping for more.
I was actually reminded of The Village while watching this. The feel and the themes are much the same. If you liked Shyamalan’s polarizing film, then you may enjoy this one as well. It is a simple look at a similar theme, and it is done surprisingly well. This is just the kind of film that may be able to find its own specific horror niche on DVD.