Judge Gordon Sullivan's tired of Southern-fried horror. He prefers his horror grilled, steamed, or sauteed.
In this town there are no second warnings.
Flannery O'Connor once said "I have found that anything that comes out of the South is going to be called grotesque by the Northern reader, unless it is grotesque, in which case it is going to be called realistic." Whether that is literally true or not, it makes an important point about the way that the South is understood as a place where grotesque things are considered normal. In fact, in her seminal discussion of the horror film Men, Women, and Chainsaws, Carol Clover identified the crossing over of city folk into the country as one of the most potent implements in the contemporary horror toolbox. It won't be much of a surprise then that Resurrection County feels so familiar. Start with a healthy dose of Deliverance, add a dash of Wrong Turn or The Hills Have Eyes, and you've got the Southern-fried horror of Resurrection County.
A pair of city slicker couples go camping in the woods. To their horror, they end up on private property. When the landowners object to their presence, the group is scattered with a brutal act of violence. The violent rednecks chase our heroes down before subjecting them to all manner of torture.
Resurrection County opens with a credit montage that will immediately feel familiar to fans of horror films. It's one dash of Se7en mixed with a bit of The Devil's Rejects: Bible verses, newspaper clippings, scratchy footage, and credits for those involved in making the film. On the one hand, this credit sequences establishes an air of religious craziness, an atmosphere of menace, and a creepy Southern setting. On the other hand, it pretty much signals to us that the movie isn't going to give us much in the "originality" category.
None of the rest of the film does anything dispel this notion. The opening scenes after the credits establish our two couples, both of which are a bit heavy on the PDA for their age. They're, of course, from the city and not from the South, which makes them doubly stand out when they appear at a rural gas station. Naturally they get lost, end up on private property, and are menaced by a gang of rednecks. From there, we get some sexual humiliation (for instance on of the women is forced to put a shotgun in her mouth while on her knees), some running-through-the-woods chase sequences, and a bunch of torture.
There are, quite literally, no surprises in how things turn out. This is a genre exercise, through and through. Enjoyment of the film is going to rest on just how tolerant the viewer is towards seeing familiar elements replayed.
On the plus side, the execution is competent, if a little low-budget. The acting is above-par for this kind of flick, with the city slickers hapless enough and the rednecks menacing enough to be convincing. The gore is also fairly impressive. If there is anything inventive in Resurrection County, it's the various tortures that our heroes are put through. There's enough red stuff and enough cleverness in the tortures to impress most genre fans.
On the negative side, those better-than-average aspects might not be enough to get genre fans to sit through a plot they've seen countless times before. No matter how good the gore and the acting, genre fans will know what to expect at every turn. It might be comforting to some, but for others, it's going to get tedious very fast.
The DVD for Resurrection County is as mixed a bag as the film. The 1.78:1 anamorphic transfer is pretty good, doing justice to the low-budget nature of the picture. Black levels are surprisingly consistent and deep, and compression artefacts aren't a problem. Detail isn't that great, and color saturation is a bit so-so, but the film looks good for a low-budget horror flick. The 5.1 surround track does okay with dialogue, but its use of the surrounds could be better. Finally, there aren't any extras. Even though I'm not a huge fan of the film, I think a good set of extras could have turned the tide in the film's favor, as the creators' passion is often contagious. Sadly, that's not to be here.
Resurrection County gets points for tenacity; those involved stick to their guns by crafting a film that cleaves perhaps a bit too closely to generic conventions by placing outsiders at the hands of a group of redneck killers. The Southern-fried horror tropes are all here. If that's your thing, this might be worth a rental. Otherwise, just put on Deliverance again.
Not original, but not guilty.
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