Unrated - Cinema of the Extreme

It seems there’s is no end to the direct-to-video trash that wannabe filmmakers serve up in an attempt to get video store hounds to part with their cash. Despite winning an award for “Best Horror Feature” at the New York Independent Film Festival, Donn Kennedy’s Wisconsin lensed gore flick fails in ts attempt to rekindle the politically-challenged 80s slashers with this tale of six college friends who rent out a cabin in the Black Forest and fall prey to a legendary monster that has been dubbed “The Black Hodag” by the locals.

Cue shoddy low-budget gore effects that look even worse when shot with the production’s 24p Hi-def camera and several inept scenes in which the amateur cast indulge in semi-clad sex and an obligatory shower scene in which the eye-candy is filmed from shoulders up (the women were obviously not going to strip to their birthday suits for nothing). The acting is atrocious and the director has obviously had his eyes closed whilst watching those “old school horror films” he claims to emulate, having failed to glean any of the basic filmmaking skills that might lead to the slightest building of dramatic tension. The editing is abysmal cutting between scenes of couples attempting to get it on, unrelated sequences involving inane dialogue and name calling (one half-naked woman is charmingly referred to as “Cheddar Tits”), and shots of people standing still, smoking dope, aimlessly walking, or lying around doing Sweet Fanny Adams.

Director Donn Kennedy has gone on record with quotes that display an utter disregard for his cast. The movie was filmed in snow-laden winter and the crew fed on Macdonalds. Dwight McMillan who plays cross-dressing Paul is stood in his underpants for an outside scene and suffers a bucket of ice-cold water thrown over him, which resulted in the actor catching hypothermia and dying two weeks later.

Cryptozoologists may be interested to learn that the “Hodag” of the title is based on the mythical “Rhinelander Hodag. Described in William T. Cox and Coert DuBois’ “Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods”, (1910) as large as a “rhinoceros and somewhat resembling that animal in general make-up”, “slow in motion, deliberate”, and “very intelligent”, with a “hairless body”, and a “large spade-shaped bony growth, with peculiar phalanges, extending up in front of the eye”. The Four Finger Effects crew, supplying the flesh-eating monster here, improvises with a guy in black raincoat, muddy face-paint, white rubber studs and Rastafarian wig. Cult film masochists might want to give the movie a viewing but viewers with a modicum of brain cells will avoid this cinematic drivel like the plague.

Carl T. Ford


Directed by Donn Kennedy

English Language / USA / 2007 / 89 minutes / Colour / Rated 18

Region 2 / PAL
Anamorphic widescreen Feature Aspect Ratio: Aspect Ratio: 4:3

DVD Extras

An MVM DVD release

Region 2 DVD (UK)

Release date 5th April, 2010


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