Directed by Jon D. Wagner
Written by Eric Fischer & Brianna Lee Johnson
Starring Eric Mark Fischer, Brianna Lee Johnson, Brick Patrick, Corey Reilly
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In this age of post-SCREAM self-referentialism, it’s refreshing to see a serial killer film with a young talented cast that isn’t making fun of the genre or fully acknowledging that they know they’re in a serial killer film. THE ANNIVERSARY AT SHALLOW CREEK is one of those films where the ending might be a bit obvious, but the ride along the way is definitely worth the trip. Part THE STRANGERS / part SAW / part every serial killer film you’ve seen in the eighties, THE ANNIVERSARY AT SHALLOW CREEK has done it’s homework and ends up being a lot of fun to watch.
A group of young people travel to their uncle’s house for a weekend getaway. The group has partying, sex, and fun on their minds but the festivities are soon interrupted by a masked man with a high powered rifle. Making his presence well known early on, the killer plays a game of cat and mouse, picking off the kids one by one. Though usually in this type of film, the kids are clueless their number is dwindling until the killer kills them, here they know full well they are being stalked. By straying a bit from the norm, the knowledge that there is someone out to kill them makes this a more tense film because the group is trapped in the middle of nowhere and being toyed with in a deadly fashion. The use of a rifle as a weapon elevates this film past the usual stalk and slash films of old as well in that it shows that these killers don’t play by the slasher rulebook which usually necessitates the kills be of the bladed or otherwise silent instrument variety.
Though some of the performances are a bit sketchy (the neighbor kid, especially), THE ANNIVERSARY AT SHALLOW CREEK is a refreshing take on the age-old story of youngsters setting out for a weekend of fun, only to an unstoppable killing force. This film doesn’t blaze any new trails, but it does follow the guidelines we all know and love in a capable and skilled manner without seeming stale or outdated. Though the revelation at the end is pretty obvious to most who watch the film, it does pay off in a gruesomely effective manner. The makers of THE ANNIVERSARY AT SHALLOW CREEK have seen all of the slasher flicks we’ve seen and made a worthy addition to the genre.