Review: THE REDWOOD MASSACRE (2014)
Given the title, one could easily make the same mistake I did and assume The Redwood Massacre is another California shot slasher film. The fact it was written and directed by David Ryan Keith (Ghosts Of Darkness, The Dark Within) should have been a clue that it wasn’t. The moment the first line of dialogue is spoken in a strong Scots accent that became obvious. Shot outside of Aberdeen, the film does an incredible job of simulating the feel of a typical American slasher. The question is, is it more Friday The 13th or Camp Blood?
The plot sees a group of young folks heading out into the woods near the infamous Redwood Farm. Twenty years ago, the farmer went mad and killed his family and himself. There’s Kirsty (Lisa Livingstone, The Loch) who’s been dragged along by her boyfriend Mark (Adam Coutts). Complicating matters is the fact Mark’s ex Jessica (Rebecca Wilkie) is also in the group. Pamela (Lisa Cameron, Lord Of Darkness) and Bruce (Mark Wood, Attack Of The Herbals) round out the group. Or would, because Bruce never shows up. They do manage to find his cell phone, however.
Needless to say, the killer (Benjamin Selway) is still out there. A hulking figure with a burlap bag-mask that recalls The Town That Dreaded Sundown and Friday Thirteenth Part 2. And he’s just as happy to hack you apart with his axe as he is to tie you to a chair and slowly cut you open.
Despite a slow start after the obligatory death by prologue, The Redwood Massacre manages to rack up an impressive body count. Apart from the leads, there are flashbacks to the original killings and a few unlucky passers-by to be disposed of. And the kills are all practical and very messy. There are plenty of bladed tools around a farm that can be put to misuse. And if nothing is nearby, the killer is capable of dealing out a brutal beatdown with his bare fists.
Mostly set in and around the farm itself, The Redwood Massacre has a great location for its mayhem. It’s old and run down, as you would expect. With narrow hallways and the occasional open area to create a sense of claustrophobia. They also found another good location for the film’s final showdown. One that allows an ending I hadn’t seen before in a slasher film.
Mean spirited and bloody, The Redwood Massacre could be called the British, or at least The Scottish, Hatchet. And with the sequel Redwood Massacre: Annihilation due for release in 2020 it could become a franchise as well. You can even check out the original film’s website while you wait.
The Redwood Massacre is available on multiple streaming services.