Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Staunton Hill

Staunton Hill 2009
Director: Cameron Romero
Writer: David Rountree
Starring Kathy Lamkin, Cristen Coppen, David Rountree, Kiko Ellsworth, Christine Carlo, Paula Rhodes, Charlie Bodin and C.J. Hendricks

This one piqued my interest for it being the directorial debut of George Romero's son Cameron Romero. It is one that is well worth a look. It is ably directed with some nice characters and some great gore scenes in it. The main problem with the film is that it adds nothing new to this genre. It is very reminiscent of films like Texas Chainsaw Massacre and House of a 1,000 Corpses. It of course has a lot of attractive young people and they all die in some pretty gruesome ways. It has some great performances, especially the performance by Lamkin as the matriarch of the Staunton family. It was nice to see her in a lead role and she really chewed the scenery with every scene she was in.
The plot basics are this, the time is the fall of 1969 and a group of friends are traveling the countryside by hitchhiking and they meet up with a young man at a salvage yard and hitch a ride with him. But, soon his truck overheats and they are stuck at the side of the road and they begin to search the area to look for a place to rest for the night. They soon find what appears to be a abandoned farmhouse and they decide to sleep in the barn. When they awake in the morning they discover that it is a farmhouse owned by the Staunton family and they all seem very cordial and nice at first. But, it is soon revealed that they are harboring a deep dark secret and that they are harvesting body parts for diabolical reasons and the question is will anyone survive in one piece.
This is a very good film. Romero's direction is very well done, at first it plays out like a typical teenager comedy but soon veers into darkness once they reach Staunton Hill. He sets up the scenes of horror very well and the kill scenes are very brutal and shocking. The script is good, but as I mentioned before it does not add anything new to the genre. It seems to borrow things from everything to Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of a 1,000 Corpses and American Gothic (the film not the TV show). This did not bother me too much, but if you are looking for something original you will probably be disappointed. The characters are pretty stereotypical and are not very fleshed out. The cast is good, especially Lamkin as the Matriarch of the Staunton Clan. She is very fun to watch her revel in her role. I also really liked Hendricks as Buddy, the slow witted son of the clan. He plays this type of character very well. The teen leads are all pretty interchangeable and do not really bring anything memorable to the film. The SFX in the film is very good and it is some of the best parts about the film. I especially liked the scene where the one girl is divvied up on the operating table, that was ghoulish and perverse at the same time. For fans of 70's style horror you can do far worse than this film. I just hope Romero goes more into unknown territory with his next film.
This one gets 4 out of 5

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