Thursday, 5 December 2013

High Lane (2009) Abel Ferry

Wow, just what you always wanted! An almost absolutely generic backwoods (or in this case mountains, same difference) horror in which the modicum of pulse raising tension created by the one genuinely fine set piece (bridge mishap!) is almost instantly dampened by a descent into the kind of fare that feels like you've seen it hundreds of times before even if its actually been under a dozen. And of course the characters aren't especially likeable or interesting (daredevil, timid, totty etc.), with the chief shot at context or history mostly an irrelevance. 

Basically there's little reason to watch this unless you happen to be an absolutely committed fan of backwoods horror and as such will take anything. Fortunately I am that committed, and presuming that the proverbial room has been cleared, onwards! This all takes place in a lovely setting, genuinely impressive early on and later at least pleasant. The pace is swift, getting stuck into the mountaineering pretty well immediately and skipping downtime between the two phases of the film, nor is there any let up in the latter. The menace is adequate, however unimaginative. I mean, no one wants pitfalls, spikes, man traps or a loon with a bow and arrow. There's a bit of bloodshed and even a wee sliver of atmosphere when it comes to the villains lair. And when it comes to the final scuffle things are shot to quite reasonable exciting effect, frenetic yet visually coherent and modestly satisfying. 

So it works, more or less. Trouble is that work more or less is all that it does, even for die hards like myself this is incredibly thin stuff. I'm no great stickler for originality, point or purpose in a mindless horror, but time and time again I've seen films able to be genuinely weird and surprising within generic constraints, or simply doing things with sufficient gusto to override their familiarity. Such is the case for about ninety percent of worthwhile vintage slashers instance, and this kind of modern backwoods stuff is a close cousin to that. So while I won't entirely dis-recommend this I really can't judge it any more than a bog average time waster that might appeal on a really slow spell. Take it if you must I guess... 

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