DEATH TRIP (2021)
Directed by James Watts.
Written by James Watts, Kelly Kay Hurcomb.
Starring Kelly Kay Hurcomb, Tatyana Olal, Garrett Johnson, Melina Trimarchi, Zoe Slobodzian, Bruce Watts, Brad MacDonald, David Kuyek, Joseph Simmons, Brett Howie, Tara Desmond, Amy Goldberg, Rufina Ip, James Watts, Tracy Butler
Find out more about this film here!
A group of kids leave town for the weekend to stay at a cottage in the country. They’ve all been friends for ages and look forward to spending the chilly weekend partying and having fun. But it seems next door to the cottage lives a man who may have killed his wife some time ago. Though they are cautious they continue to party down and even meet some locals and head out to their party. They don’t know it, but something dark and deadly is brewing and it means bad things for our group of pretty people.
I really dug the style of DEATH TRIP. It does this sort of montage of imagery that really sets a somber and dangerous mood by showing scenes of some kind of crime. Blood is spattered on the floors and walls. There are no bodies, but it is obvious some kind of violence has occurred. Without really warning you, DEATH TRIP also shows quick clips of our cast frantically running through the woods covered in blood. It all spices up the first hour, which really only follows our four leads while they party. Toss in a pair of creepy and atmospheric dream sequences, and I can see why this film takes its time to really get to the bloody and violent stuff. These scenes are shown early on and they really do work in giving even the more jovial scenes a sense of depth and gravity.
While I appreciate the effort to punch up the first hour with fast forward clips, atmosphere scenes, and nightmare sequences, this film really takes a really long time to get where we all want it to get. With a name like DEATH TRIP, you know things are going to get gnarly, but this film seems to want to trick you into a false sense of security and take you on a few side quests before it really gets to the horror. Once the horror begins, though, it’s pretty brutal culminating in a vicious battle with hammers on a frozen lake.
I wish DEATH TRIP would have restructured its story to get to the horror, gore, and violence earlier. There’s a scene where one of the characters goes missing that I think could have happened very early on and it would have made for a much more quicker descent into hell. As is, there is a sense of tossing everything and the kitchen sink towards the end that would have been more fluid had the hanging around time would have been truncated. It was interesting getting to know these characters, but if your horror film doesn’t really get to the horror until the hour and fifteen mark, there’s a problem.
I don’t want to be too hard on DEATH TRIP as I feel filmmaker James Watts peppers in some nicely paced scare sequences and the brutality towards the end is well done. It looks like a lot of fun was had making this one, as evidenced to the extended attention to the party scenes, but while it might have made for a fun shoot, it ends up being simply filler with a few well done scenes sprinkled in. I’m mixed on this one because there is talent in the direction and the acting feels natural. If you don’t mind the slow and meandering pace, this little slasher-esque film might be for you.