The Horror Honeys: Bury the past...or it will bury you.

Bury the past...or it will bury you.

A Head Honey Review

Sader Ridge (2013) - Now known and distributed as "The Invoking"- (which makes no sense)

If there's one thing I've learned about being a film/genre reviewer is that there is a very dangerous ground that exists between the writer and the director...sometimes it can be swampy territory, where characters, moods and feelings that are intrinsic to the overall vision of the original piece are silently drowned in a boggy puddle.  Othertimes, it's all leaping through verdant fields, petting baby deer and shit.  In rare cases, that's because the writer (or co-writer in this case) is also the director.  As someone who exhibits a blistering amount of control freakishness on every project I'm working on, I can totally sympathize.

Sader Ridge starts off slowly, with a classic horror movie device: a group of friends, going on a road-trip to a mysterious location far away from cell signals, in the middle of the woods, etc...the perfect recipe for madness and death, no?  As with most groups of "adults" who have hung out together for a long time and were likely close friends in high school or college (or who just never left their hometown and stayed friends), there are pent up frustrations, lingering relationship feels and other secrets that lie dormant.  Again, as a classic horror theme, traveling to and being in this mysterious location under mysterious circumstances and environmental stressors, brings these issues to light.  In Sader Ridge, these manifest quite quickly.  Given the overall speed of the actual  action, they actually manifest far too quickly for my liking.

Being that even in a sober headspace I found the action, and pacing of the film confusing; I decided to look at this film from a literary standpoint.  What do these characters WANT...what drives the action of this film?  The answer is a very 20-something-ish emotion...selfish desires drive these characters.

You can all see the toque and the glasses now, I'm not lying.
Caitlyn (the hipster chick in a gross toque, oversized glasses and a bad wardrobe) - wants to leave school for 6 months to travel...the remainder of her character's development is fully focused on the whiney assertion that no one is letting her "live her own life".  Now, I can identify with these frustrations...I get extremely annoyed with people who never expand beyond their default social circle from school.  Refusal to do so just screams "LOSER WITH NO DISCERNIBLE GOALS" to me, and I'm not shy about expressing it.  Maybe it's because 90% of the people I knew in highschool have kids and still live in our hometown and have no desire to ever leave.     EW.

All that aside, sorry not sorry, I was stoked when she died and stopped making those 'cute' faces during her line delivery.

Mark (the 'hot guy') - is a) not hot and b) the focus of some really poorly developed character hints that have to do with a bar fight, or hitting his girlfriend, or something else I couldn't quite figure out...but there was some petulant forehead wrinkling and lots of talk about "I've seen the counsellor and gone to the classes...GOD"...  So, pretty much "Sorry not sorry, I'm a douche, deal with it."  Oh right...Mark wants whatever Mark can get... If that happens to be drunk hipster girl, cool.  The only thing that saved Mark for me, was his creepy "Dad" delivery.  That shit worked.

Roman (the 'nerd' who reminded me of DJ Qualls initially, but after a high protein diet) - wants nothing more than for Caitlyn to look at him like she looks at Mark...and to inanely record muddy and confusing sounds for his sound library... I get some of that...but not all of it.  There's always one person in the group who won't put down their fucking camera, Roman is that dude...but with a microphone.

Head Honey confession/spoiler: Roman's death was a shock to me...after an hour of fairly slow moving suspense and cardboard character set up, I was not expecting his death, AT ALL.  So thumbs up to that one.
Giant ceramic kitty is watching you masturbate.

Eric (the quintessential creepy caretaker) - I'm probably not supposed to find this character attractive, but I do.  Eric's selfishness drives the action of the entire film...he wants Sam.  He wants her fucked up and freaked out...and all to himself.  Maybe he set up the whole thing.
He's a believable creepy dude...showing up uninvited, appearing out of nowhere, lurking in the woods...SITTING AT THE END OF YOUR BED, NO BIG DEAL.  Plus, with his stony murder face and unsettling pale eyes...yeah.

Samantha, (our heroine), is strangely removed from the disintegration of her friendship circle, focused more on the violent memories that begin to surface during her stay in the house.  As she becomes increasingly unable to differentiate between what is real and what is the "normal" interaction of her friends.  There are 5 or 6 distinct incidences of these memories taking over Sam's senses...they happen faster and faster as the film progresses.  I wish I knew the movie's timeline, so whether this disintegration over a few days or a week is a mystery to me...but really, a descent into madness is way more fun when it happens riding a bike downhill and taking your feet off the pedals and praying you don't hit a gravel patch.

But I'm not giving away any spoilers here, people.

Everyone's ugly when they cry...

Crypticon Seattle was very good to me this year in terms of screenings tweeted, books acquired, panels attended and other connections made..and Sader Ridge was another lucky find.

Sader Ridge has it's problems; some script roughness, a few patches of awkward delivery and failed connections...but shining moments in location scouting (wow), camera work, performances from Trin Miller (Sam) and D'Angelo Midili (Eric) and some awesome sound work make Sader Ridge a great indie feature.  It's no wonder that it's been getting great responses from recent screenings at film festivals across the USA.

You can connect with Sader Ridge on:

I'm still not sorry that I wanted the hipster chick to die sooner.