THE REDWOOD MASSACRE: ANNIHILATION (2020)
Directed by David Ryan Keith
Written by David Ryan Keith
Starring Danielle Harris, Damien Puckler, Gary Kasper, Jon Campling, Tevy Poe, Benjamin Selway, Stephanie Lynn Styles, HemDee Kiwanuka, Alec Westwood, Gavin Park
When a mysterious stranger named Max (Damien Puckler) shows up with a mask and knife very similar to the one used in a mass killing six years ago, he convinces the surviving family of one of the burlap sacked killer’s victims Tom (Jon Campling) and his daughter Laura (Danielle Harris) to continue the search. With a gun nut named Gus (Gary Kasper) in tow, the group try to find the killer in a deserted military facility, looking for answers and maybe some retribution.
The original THE REDWOOD MASSACRE was a pretty run of the mill slasher flick. It had a masked madman stalking and killing a group of annoying kids on a camping trip that dared come near a farm where a massacre occurred years before. Instead of repeating the formula, this sequel does what most sequels don’t and tries to build off of what occurred before. Instead it focuses on the survivors and their desire for some kind of resolution to their grief by capturing and killing the killer. I kind of wish FRIDAY THE 13TH would have gone that route, but instead they chose to wash, rinse, and repeat. Though this isn’t a great film, I must commend it for trying something different with its sequel.
While I’m sure most won’t be searching out the original THE REDWOOD MASSACRE, the film does a decent job of catching everyone up, letting us know the score, and tossing us into the adventure pretty quickly. For me, having seen the original, but barely remembering it, I found myself a little confused as I didn’t know if Max was the original killer or a copycat (not a spoiler as Max is shown in the very beginning torturing and killing a hostage). Still, this was cleared up later, but the confusion was there.
Again, THE REDWOOD MASSACRE: ANNIHILATION highlights Dannielle Harris’ spunk and talent. I’m glad she’s stuck to horror, but she really is better than most of the movies she stars in. By far she is the best actor of the bunch. Coming in second is the extremely likable, yet psycho performance of the lovable, gun-toting Gus (Gary Kasper). This guy is a monster and really does show a lot of heart in a small role. All in all, the acting is not bad here by the whole cast.
I didn’t dislike THE REDWOOD MASSACRE: ANNIHILATION. I think it’s great that the filmmaker decided to take the story in a different direction, yet continue the story told in the 2014 film. The film offers up some decent gore as the burlap sack-headed killer rips and tears through those in his path. There are some storytelling blips here and there, but the film turned out to be an above average stalk n’ slash fest that will definitely pique the interest of slasher fans. Plus any performance from Dannielle Harris is worth a watch.