Dressed in little more than her bra and panties, a teenage girl seduces her boyfriend in her father’s barn. Disturbed by a sound effect, they both end up dead and bloodied. Thus begins Backwoods Bloodbath: Curse Of The Black Hodag.
Cut to four college students who are heavy on exposition and light on originality, travelling to the middle of nowhere for a weekend get-together, following the death of a friend whom they all knew in some way shape or form.
In this group, we’ve got the geeky guy, the jock, the arrogant guy, the token black guy, the bitchy girl and the nice girl. Their names aren’t really important as the characters are pretty much all interchangeable and it’s difficult to find anything nice or redeeming to say about any of them.
Most of the people in this region of America are hicks or rednecks, with an odd random goth thrown in for good measure. They do all share one common trait (aside from all being American), none of them can act.
Whilst everyone appears to be drinking at the local bar, they learn that there’s something stalking the woods. This something is called the Hodag, a creature that has evolved over centuries and hunts mercilessly. People have hunted it and failed, it has become a legend and, as such, nobody really conveys the fear or reverence for that of which they speak, choosing to deliver their lines in a lifeless monotone instead.
So, the student types get up to all sorts in their shack in the woods. They argue, they drink, they compare backgrounds, they develop photos, they have ridiculously filmed sex (there’s actually a shot of one of the girl’s nipples, for no reason) and they act as wooden as the trees around them. There’s plenty of history between these characters and they seem to want to share it in every other sentence. This is all when they’re not going hunting for strange sounds and dying.
As they realise they are in trouble, they set out to find help, stopping to have sex and discuss each other on the way. It’s not the world’s best plan, and with the increased mortality rate, it shows. You see, instead of going to the bar that they were in the night before, they decide to wander over to another shack that they might have heard of earlier in the film and only vaguely know which direction it is in. Thankfully, they’re not going to give up without a fight and it’s all going pretty well until a twist gets thrown in that only marginally makes sense.
One of the friends isn’t as friendly as he makes out and he’s going to get revenge for all the bullying and humiliation. However, by this point, you might have given up caring and gone to do your washing.
If you come back at exactly the right moment, you’ll get a revelatory speech delivered with the same conviction as a character from Hollyoaks and making just as much sense, followed by a fight scene that is as convincing as the blood and gore that floods the film. It’s actually like watching strawberry syrup in places when blood flies across the screen.
The Hodag isn’t finished, though, as there’s plenty more killing to do. He disposes of plot twists and stupid teenagers with incredible efficiency, all whilst looking like a hobo with bad hair. Of course, it’s blatantly obvious what’s going to happen to this bad guy… until you get the obligatory twist right at the end!
Except, it’s not the end! I feared the film wouldn’t actually end at all at this point. We get an end piece where the only survivor dreams that her dead friends are calling her name. Then, we get news footage of the discovery of the Hodag’s hideout, followed by the Hodag killing again.
Just in case you’re wondering, Backwoods Bloodbath is a stinker of a movie, even by low budget standards. It’s got lots of ideas that have been thrown in together, without any sense of logic. Characters waffle on endlessly, but don’t actually say much or develop beyond their paper-thin stereotypes, and you find yourself not caring for any of them.
There’s a certain perverse pleasure to be obtained from low budget fodder. Typically, it’s fun watching how something made on a shoestring manages to achieve a sense of place. This film was never going to be The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but, by the same stretch, it wasn’t anywhere near as good as Zombeak! (released on the same label.) It was just poorly conceived from start to finish and lacked any moments where you almost felt it was worth watching.
There’s scene selection, a trailer (which makes the film look shockingly bad, but better than it actually is) and the trailers for Zombeak!, Dr Chopper, Razor’s Ring, Mr Hallowe’en and The Haunting Of Marsten Manor.
Backwoods Bloodbath is out now and available from the Den Of Geek Store.