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Review: Redwood Massacre: Annihilation (2020)

Redwood Massacre Annihilation is, as you may have guessed, writer/director David Ryan Keith’s (Ghosts of Darkness) sequel to his 2014 slasher The Redwood Massacre. It was a Scottish take on Hatchet, with its sadistic masked killer taking out a group of campers as well as some random passers-by. It was one of the better recent slashers, and very quickly a sequel was promised. It may have taken a bit longer than expected, but now it’s here.

The film opens with a prologue that shows The Burlap Killer (Benjamin Selway) in the process of killing what looks like the population of a small town. That’s followed by the death of the first film’s final girl, but at the hands of a different psychopath.

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The rather familiar looking Max (Damien Puckler, Chase, Death Racers) convinces best-selling author Tom Dempsey (Jon Campling, Kingsglaive: Final Fantasy XV, Curse of the Witching Tree) to follow his book on the killer up with an expedition to find him. Tom has plenty of motivation to find him, he lost a daughter to the killer.

Now, along with his other daughter Laura (Danielle Harris, Between the Darkness, Camp Cold Brook), Jen (Tevy Poe, The Djinn) and Gus (Gary Kasper, The Butchers, Army of One) he’s going back. To look in the one place they couldn’t before, an abandoned RAF facility.

Usually, in a film like this, we have a masked killer stalking unsuspecting campers. Redwood Massacre: Annihilation flips that and gives us a well-armed group looking for the killer. And while it takes them a while to find him, the film gives us some killings along the way. That includes a bit of graphic, for a mainstream film anyway, bit of necrophilia.

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Kieth wisely ditches the typical forest setting in favour of an underground bunker. Dark and claustrophobic, it makes a great setting for something like this. Especially with Mr. Burlap’s taste in decorations. He must be a regular viewer of Gouged Out Eye for the Killer Guy.

Redwood Massacre: Annihilation is long on suspense. With its small cast, it has to be, there aren’t enough potential victims to just throw bodies at the screen. However, what it lacks in quantity, it makes up for in quality. The killings are done with excellent practical effects and will certainly make genre fans happy. On the other hand, there are some shitty CGI bullet hits. With everything else being practical, you would think they’d do them the old-fashioned way too.

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The other thing that I didn’t like was the way they changed the killer’s origin. Now it somewhat ties in with the events of the director’s last film, The Dark Within. I could have done without that. It really doesn’t add anything to the story, except maybe an out for a third film. Well, it does also allow The Owlman from fellow Scotsman Lawrie Brewster’s Lord of Tears and The Black Gloves to make a cameo in an old photo.

Still, Redwood Massacre: Annihilation is a mostly well-done slasher. It stumbles a bit at the end, but it delivers suspense, gore and a few surprises along the way. Uncork’d Entertainment will release it to DVD and Digital on October 20th. You can check the film’s Facebook page for more information.

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