Today I am reviewing a film I was rather excited to check out titled PITCHFORK, written and directed by Glenn Douglas Packard and Darryl F. Gariglio. Too often I find a film boasting that they have created "the new face of terror" or the new "horror icon", and with that, it makes it hard for me to want to watch a movie based off of those words. Although I LOVE the slasher genre, I feel that it died during the early 2000's and it's hard for me to find a new film within that genre that holds itself to the same level as the sub-genre I love so much.
PITCHFORK centers around a group of friends who return home to help a friend with a secret only to learn that sometimes older secrets are even more deadly.
This film begins with a kill scene that you can see coming from a mile away but they do their very best to not reveal the killer within that first scene. Honestly, it's not really a kill scene, they just let you see a glimpse of brutality and then insinuate that the person died. Though the character isn't necessarily important to the overall story, I found that their death was rather creative and it made me incredibly excited to watch the remainder of the film.
The storyline centers around our primary character, Hunter, who is coming home to visit his parents in a small rural town after just coming out to his father over the phone. He brings along a group of friends with him for support as he faces his father for the first time after breaking the news to him. I found this to be a fantastic premise to this movie as it's not something that I can say I had seen before and it was an excellent way to group a bunch of people into this rural area. As our group of core characters make themselves comfortable in the barn provided for them to stay in by Hunter's parents, this is when the ball starts to get rolling. There is an underlying tension between the friends and there is an eventual blowout which results in one of the most solid punches to the face I had seen in awhile! As the film progresses we begin to be introduced to our pitchfork wielding killer as he begins to make more frequent appearances before crash-landing into the ending which I found to be a tribute to previous cult classics.
When I watch slasher movies, I typically am not looking for the best acting per say, because that isn't my primary focus. However, the acting in PITCHFORK was incredibly campy and at time I found myself feeling embarrassed. Written into the movie was a choreographed dance in the barn which I absolutely disliked. I can see how it fit into the film and why it worked but I HATE dancing montages. I feel like that was left behind in the early 2000s in movies such as NOT ANOTHER TEEN MOVIE and BRING IT ON, so please don't bring it back! Also, there were some very cheesy one liners that I feel weren't executed very well and it left me unsure if it was due to the acting or the writing.
For the most part I didn't feel scared during the duration of the film. Maybe it's because I could see most things coming, maybe it was the deliverance from the Killer, either way I felt more entertained than scared. There are some "jump" scenes in the movie that I'm sure would effectively scare someone who isn't quite as de-sensitized to blood, gore, and jump scares. There is a touch of humor throughout the movie and I personally found the killer to be pretty hilarious; however, I'm pretty sure he wasn't intended to be funny at all. Overall, the one-liners and jokes that I mentioned before really didn't sit right with me and led to me feeling embarrassed and rolling my eyes.
When it came to the kills in this movie, I was completely disappointed. The film barely showed any of the kills, instead it indicated that someone was being killed with the main show happening off the screen. Had they shown the kills in this film I could have over looked every other beef that I encountered. When I watch movies like this, I'm looking forward to seeing the use of practical effects (which I prefer to over CGI) depending on the film so I was totally let down. I felt like a balloon that had a pinhole leak that was slowly causing me to deflate. It was almost devastating as I watched each kill happen off camera and I found myself yelling "Ahhh come!" as I watched the film.
Now that's I've shared my beef with the kills, I really wish I could have seen this film flex their effects muscles, so to speak. I feel that too much focus was put into other areas during filming and the lack of effects displayed kind of turned me off a bit. I don't know if it was a conscious decision or just the budget, but I would be interested in seeing this movie executed differently if it had a bigger budget.
If you're more into the cinematography aspect of movies than this one will not disappoint. The filming was very high quality and each shot was relatively flawless and executed incredibly smooth. Each scene transition flowed very nicely into the next making this one area of the film I found hard to poke holes at.
All in all, I found PITCHFORK to be okay. I wasn't as impressed as I should be for a film claiming that a new horror icon is born and that is one of the issues I had going into it. I tried to keep my mind as open as possible while watching PITCHFORK and I had very high hopes. Like I mentioned before, if I had been able to see them flex their special effects muscles and we actually got to see the kills, I probably would have walked away from this film feeling much more satisfied and with a different opinion. I will probably watch this movie a few more times to see if I get a different opinion and give myself another opportunity to absorb the film.
Before I part with you, I would like to mention that the ending of the film went in a direction I totally was not expecting. For the last 20 minutes it got real TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. It involved a glimpse of a backstory for the killer and you meet a very "Sawyer" like family. The movie also has a sort of alternate ending that occurs shortly after the initial closing scene. I found that to be really creative and unique since that's not something I typically see in horror flicks. Like I mentioned before, I'm going to give this film another chance so please don't let my opinion sway you from checking out PITCHFORK, as you may really enjoy it.
Signing off, this is Devin,
Kreep it real Haunted Homies
PITCHFORK will be available in select theaters and On Demand January 13