“Out here the rules are different.”
Corporate retreats have come a long way from the closed door seminars where you’re asked to fall backwards and trust your colleagues to catch you. Well… the backwards part still applies, but here that describes the locals at the isolated camp where 8 hapless video game company executives are planning a weekend of paintball and bonding. These locals are straight out of Deliverance. (Insert your favorite banjo lick here.)
The opening credits will give you a headache. It’s an assault of lightning rapid cuts with out of focus and distorted images. It doesn’t make for a promising start. If the filmmakers were trying to fry your brain before you started to watch this inane piece of junk, they had the right idea. Unfortunately, if you have even one functioning brain cell before the actual film starts, it’s enough intelligence to make this one hurt. (Insert favorite blonde joke here.)
Eight executives are brought out into the woods to learn leadership skills. They are going to engage in a paintball tournament in two groups of four. The winning group gets a week’s pay as a bonus. The game never does even get started before the local inbred population begins to stalk and kill members of the retreat. It turns out the retreat was scheduled on private property and no one bothered to get permission. If they had, they might have discovered that the property is run by a family of deformed and mentally challenged hillbillies. (Insert favorite Jeff Foxworthy joke here.)
The tribe or family is killing off the men and capturing the women for breeding stock. From the looks of the limited gene pool here they’re about 30 years too late in adding any diversity to the local collection of DNA. You get the standard kill scenes and the typical lame dialog and teen stupidity throughout the film. The movie offers up its star, Haylie Duff (Hilary’s sister) as the primary reason for watching this mess. The truth is that neither of the Duff sisters can act themselves out of a paper bag. This is another one of those examples of being famous for being famous. She wears her only real assets on her chest, and if you’re hoping to catch liberal looks at her “baggage” you won’t even get that chance. (Insert your favorite dirty joke here.)
This one should be marked: “Keep Out”. There’s nothing terribly original or entertaining going on here. It’s pretty much a conglomerate of Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes. It’s not really even that bloody. The killers don’t have any of the charisma or charm that make the best of these films worth watching. The make-up effects are about as weak as the script and acting. It’s a hat trick of mediocrity all the way.
Backwoods is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1. This was a made for television film and it certainly shows. There isn’t a lot of detail or clarity here. Black levels suffer the most and that’s bad for a film that works so much of its action in dark places. There’s more compression trouble here than such a short film with no extras should have.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio sounds nothing short of average. You can hear the dialog; that’s about all you really need.
I didn’t have much of any expectation going into this film, and in that I wasn’t disappointed at all. The characters are your typical interchangeable coed types who mostly serve as fodder for the killers. What these filmmakers continue to fail to pick up on is that we need a reason to care what happens to these folks. It’s not enough that brutally terrible things are happening to them. We’ve seen that so often that we’ve become completely desensitized to such things. We have to want these folks to be okay. That never happens here. Don’t recommend this one on any level. If you’re asked about it at your local video store, you’re reply should be a firm, “no thanks”.