Judge Kristin Munson reminds you to leave abandoned babies where you found them. Only dumb, ugly babies get thrown away.
If you go down to the woods today you're sure of a big surprise.
While I have huge amounts of respect and admiration for anyone still willing to use traditional FX instead of CGI, filmmakers take note: a low budget and broad daylight are not friendly to creatures of either kind.
Wild Country's tale of a teenage mum and her pals becoming monster chow on a campout is an entertaining chase through the Highlands until the clock strikes dawn and the shadowy Scottish beast turns into a rubber mask and an old fur coat.
It's not only the physical zippers the movie leaves showing, it's the metaphorical ones as well. Writer/Director Craig Strachan clearly loves the genre, but the homages are too obvious, the surprises feel more like cheats, and the action pauses just long enough for you to notice both those things as you're watching.
At 72 minutes, there's not much time to ratchet up the suspense, but there's also no time wasted on the antics of the carrion fodder. Joining Kelly Ann (Excellent newcomer, Samantha Shields) and her douchebag baby-daddy (Martin Compston, Monarch of the Glen) are the Funny One and two blank slates, and there's thankfully not much of their non-story. Dealing with the fallout of giving a baby up for adoption is unusual in a teen horror, but those plot threads never really pan out, aside from giving Kelly Ann a reason for picking up a stray baby.
There are shades of Little Red Riding Hood throughout, but you don't pick up a Lionsgate DVD for the critical analysis, you get them for the kills. Aside from some spurting carotids and one truly spectacular kill late in the game, there's not much gore; certainly not enough to stifle my giggles when the teen-eating beast turned out to be South Park's ManBearPig. Putting all the creative deaths at the end, after the monster's big reveal, means the creature is funny before he's can become truly frightening, and just as the action is building into something intense, it's over.
Wild Country sports a surprisingly clean anamorphic transfer, although the HD source tends to look like camcorder in the quick cuts and it uses that same, heavy blue filtering that makes watching impossible until any and all light has been banished from the room. The 2.0 stereo does nicely for a film that is mostly screams and no soundtrack. There's also a Making Of featurette that's fairly bland until it gets into the special FX stuff. Tucked away at the very end is a neat little behind-the-scenes look at one of the gore shots, with crew members cracking wise and stuffing guts into a stunt torso. Best of all are the multiple subtitle tracks, because some of the brogues are as thick as Angus beef.
A bit original, a bit scary, and a bit funny (sometimes intentionally), you could do a lot worse than Wild Country. It may be guilty of many things, but it is an amusing rental.
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Scales of Justice
• The Making Of Wild Country
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