OCTOBER 20, 2007
On the surface (by surface I mean the capsule descriptions on the Screamfest website), it seemed Storm Warning and Timber Falls were the same movie. A couple on vacation runs afoul of deranged locals who put them through hell. But the difference is, Storm Warning was a lean, straightforward piece, this one was actually a bit of a slam on Catholic extremists, something I am always a fan of in movies (or in anything really).
Having gone to catholic school for 8 years, I became very weary of the teachings of the Catholic faith. Even at a young age, I began to see that a lot of it was just based on fear. Don’t do this, don’t do that, if you wish you had a bike like your neighbor’s you will burn in hell for eternity... just seemed a bit odd. So once I was no longer ‘forced’ to go to Church every week, I didn’t. Not that I don’t believe in God and all that, but I don’t think he’s really so much a dick that he’ll have some flaming demons poke me with spears for millions of years because I decided to sleep in on Sunday. I’m more of a “Be a good person, you’ll be fine” type guy.
Anyway, in the film, our villains are bible spouting extremists who are unable to have a child. So, they kidnap tourists and try to force them to conceive (as long as they are married), the plan being that when the child is born they can kill the parents and raise it as their own. The movie does a fantastic job of showing how the two of them see no hypocrisy in their actions, and like this year’s Joshua, will hopefully get at least a couple of devout Christians thinking a little about how baffling their ideology can be at times.
It’s also kind of funny how obvious it is that they are the true villains in the film. We meet them separately, and in between, our heroes are approached and somewhat terrorized by some standard movie rednecks. We are supposed to believe that they are the bad guys, but since both the other folks gave dirty looks to the protagonists when their faith/marriage status came into the conversation, we know right away that they are the ones we need to fear. In fact, the rednecks even try to play hero and save the couple near the end of the film, which I loved. However their attempts are pretty quickly dealt with, which is kind of a bummer; the film really would have benefited from a scene where the heroes realize that their prejudice and fear was totally misplaced (they never know the rednecks tried to help them).
The lead in the film is Josh Randall, who is from one of my all time favorite TV shows, Ed. He’s great in the film, pulling off the action heroics with as much ease as the “Wow, I’m a regular guy with a really hot girlfriend” scenes at the beginning of the film. The chick playing his girlfriend is quite good too, though she disappears for a while and thus doesn’t get as much to do.
Unlike Storm Warning, this film does take its time getting to the “horror” elements, but it’s far from boring in the meantime. Just a different way to tell the story, and I enjoyed it almost as much. However, there’s a dumb epilogue that you really don’t need to watch, gotta dock the movie a non-existent point for that. But I still recommend you check it out (it’s coming out in limited release this December... not sure about wider/DVD plans), as I’d like it to be a hit. We need more Josh Randall (and anyone from Ed, really).
What say you?