On the one hand: one of the greatest horror films of all time (if not the greatest, depending on who you ask – and most definitely, if you ask me). On the other: some of the worst horror films of all time. To use the word 'massacre' in the title of your horror film comes with some baggage on both ends of the spectrum, then.
At which end does that leave The Redwood Massacre? It feels absurd to even mention The Redwood Massacre in the same breath as that other, more (most) famous massacre, but such is the weight of said baggage that Tobe Hooper's classic is invoked nevertheless. While this low-budget homegrown feature isn't even nearly in that ballpark, nor is it as bad as such rotten failures as The Texas Roadside Massacre or (shudders) The Bunnyman Massacre. Instead, it tells its own uninspired but effective story, doing just what it needs to pass muster without ever really surpassing that.
There are, sadly, exceptions which make the overall mundanity hurt even more – its murderous psychopath villain looks the part, rocking a burlap sack/dungarees combo that makes up for what it lacks in originality (how very early Jason Voorhees) with brutal effectiveness. Its torture-heavy scenes of gore and violence skew a little too much towards cruelty for the sake of cruelty to be enjoyed (for this viewer's taste, anyway) but it is very well shot cruelty, all the same. There are even some smarts at play during the finale (which is said to have gone down a storm on the festival circuit) but not enough worth suffering through the terrible acting and script for.
Graced with some of the most irritating characters to ever get murdered on a screen – plus maybe the worst eyebrows ever seen in a horror film – it's a film of very disparate highs and lows. What works does undeniably work, but what doesn't really really doesn't.
Special Features: None
THE REDWOOD MASSACRE / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR & SCREENPLAY: DAVID RYAN KEITH / STARRING: MARK WOOD, LISA CAMERON, LISA LIVINGSTONE, REBECCA WILKIE / RELEASE DATE: JULY 27TH