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SAVAGE COUNTY
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Reviewed by: Ammon Gilbert

Directed by: David Harris

Starring:
Ana Ayora
David Caffey
Doug Haley

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A group of “friends” during the last days of their senior year in high school trespass on private property to have a fun day at the lake. After a fatal run-in with a family member of the group of inbreds who live on the property, the “friends” try and hide the truth while others in their circle are kidnapped and tortured.
Is it good movie?
This apparently aired on MTV as a sort-of mini-series, though at only 83 minutes, that term must be used pretty loosely here. It doesn’t feel like a mini-series or anything MTV related save for the internet VJ whose sole purpose is to announce new songs that are being featured in the background. What it does feel like is a mix between THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS, and HOUSE OF 1000 CORPSES. And while those are all great films, trying to be like all of them at the same didn’t end in the same great result.

For a movie like this (or any of the films it’s trying to be), there has to be a solid group of people at the center of it otherwise why would we give a f*ck if they get kidnapped and tortured. However, the group of “friends” in SAVAGE COUNTY are anything but likable, making their battle with the group of deranged hillbilly’s all the more pointless. And I say “friends” lightly, as they felt more like a group of random high school clichés thrown together under the mask of being “friends” but, in actuality, were nothing more than casual acquaintances on the verge of being enemies. They’re mostly dicks to each other, and save for two shining lights, they’re all a bunch of a-holes who didn’t deserve to live in the first place. That said, one of the more-likable characters also happened to act the dumbest, breaking all the rules in the “survive a slasher film handbook”, making her sliver of likability dissipate with sheer annoyance. They kill a hillbilly in self-defense, but want to keep it a secret, so they come up with a hairbrained pact not to tell anybody? How very I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER of them.

The hillbilly’s, on the other hand, are your typical killer inbreds akin to TCM (dude even wears a mask made out of human skin) and, maybe more anything else, THE DEVIL’S REJECTS. They’re a motley bunch, and while one’s mentally retarded and not all their, the others are quite intelligent in a disturbing way, as in they know what they’re doing, they know it’s wrong to kill, but they do it anyway because it’s fun. And they record it all with a video camera they likely stole from one of their victims. This is where the killers get annoying. When they’re on screen, we have to see them through the eyes of this crappy video camera, making it grainy and shaky and all-around annoying to watch. I’m thinking the idea was to make them grittier than they already were, but as they were pretty savage to begin with, it was a totally unnecessary storytelling device that got in the way more than it helped.

The only area that really stood out on the plus side (versus the bad to mediocre side) was the kills. They busted out some impressive death scenes and a lot of the torture was hard to watch in a so-savagely-sadistic kind of way. And because all the victims ended up in a tub of chemical wasted, it gets pretty gross, even after all the torture has passed.

For hardcore fans of the slasher, inbred-killing, torture-porn genres, you may find hidden gems here and there to your liking in SAVAGE COUNTY. However, it’s all very surface-level and mostly takes on the appearance of the classics you know and love instead of actually taking the genres and doing its own thing with them. There are certainly worse films out there and some far-less entertaining… but that doesn’t mean SAVAGE COUNTY is worth a peak.

Video / Audio
Video: The film is presented in anamorphic widescreen of 1.85:1, and when it doesn’t take on the appearance of a crappy video camera from the ‘90s, it actually looks like a film with some serious production values.

Audio: How it’s even possible nowadays for a movie on DVD to not be released with a 5.1 Audio mix is beyond me, but here’s another example of what happens when a movie hits DVD in 2.0 Mono: it sounds like crap. For a movie that puts as much emphasis on the music as this one, you’d figure they’d at least give a better audio option than 2.0… but they didn’t.

The Extras
They were kind enough to provide the trailer, and that’s about it.
Last Call
Plagued with an unlikable cast of characters who may end up rooting to die rather than survive, and ripping off every slasher/inbred-family/torture film in the book, SAVAGE COUNTY felt more like horror-light for the casual viewer. And while there were some pretty awesome kills sprinkled throughout, there were also a number of idiotic moves by the “friends” that didn’t make a whole lick of sense and the internet VJ thrusting inappropriate music on us from beginning to end was more distracting than entertaining, not to mention the crappy killer shaky-cam. In other words, I wouldn't recommend anyone checking this sucker out unless it was the absolute last choice.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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