If you’ve seen The Burning then there’s no forgetting Cropsy’s attack on a raft full of campers. Of course, if you’ve seen Savage Water then you probably want to forget that rafters vs slasher film entirely. Now writer/director James M Tweedie sends a bunch of rafting partiers into harm’s way in Float Trip. I’m rather surprised though that it wasn’t called The River Has Eyes.
Opening with shots of a filthy cabin full of bloodstained weapons and traps Float Trip signals its intentions right from the start. From there we meet our intended victims as they head to the river. Warned by Carol (Vickie Doerr) the bus driver to stay to the left when they get to the fork in the river, guess what? Tommy (Joe Urie), Alex (Jed Ramsey), Stacy (McKenzie Moser) and a few other geniuses go right. Why not, “It’s a river, it all goes to the same place”.
It may go to the same place, but the trip just got a lot more difficult. The Flesh Face Family lives down that way. Dead Eye (Dr. John Tweedie), Meat Head (Bill Finkbiner, Coyote) and Special K (Eric Wolfgang Nelson, Deal With The Devil). Do I have to add that they’re inbred cannibals?
With a running time of 48 minutes, Float Trip is more like a long short than a feature, which may explain why it took so long to be released. Because it’s not really a bad film. It takes a fairly standard backwoods slasher plot and strips out most of the time wasted on watching people walking around telling bad jokes, bitching at each other, etc.
Instead Float Trip is, after the first fifteen or so minutes, pretty much all that you watch a film like this for. It’s the rafters versus a trio of Leatherface types with some nasty practical gore. Pickaxes, chainsaws, barbed wire and more come into play. There’s even a nod to the bear trap scene from the cult Canadian backwoods slasher Rituals.
On the downside, given how vile the villains are there’s a bit too much emphasis on running and hiding rather than fighting back. They aren’t just hunting dinner, they’re enjoying watching their victims suffer. Also Float Trip is a bit predictable at times, not that this is a genre known for originality.
But overall Float Trip is a solid little film with no padding, well-done gore and some nice cinematography.