Monday, April 12, 2010
Dismal: Eat Or Be Eaten
Dismal: Eat or Be Eaten 2009
Director: Gary King
Writer: Bo Buckley
Starring Bill Oberst Jr., Lydia Chandler, Tim Morris, Jack Harrison, Jade Arnold, Capel Kane, Laurie Kimsey, Brent Lovell and Meagan Reedy
The genre of backwoods cannibal family films is a sub genre in the horror field that seems to get constantly mined. Dismal is the latest on this subject and it is really a paint by the numbers effort. If you have never seen The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Hills Have Eyes I would say it is worth a look. But, if you have seen any of the classic films of the genre this film really adds nothing new. The film has a twist or 2 in the final act that was surprising, but it did not save the film from it's pit of mediocrity. The film pretty much follows the basic plot line of any backwoods horror film where, a group of good looking people end up on the wrong side of the people living there. The film does have some excellent gore and kills in the film. I especially liked the use of a grappling hook in one of the kills. The cast is uniformly good too, they just have a really weak story to work with and they are never able to vault over that detriment.
The plot basics are this, Dana (Lydia Chandler) is failing biology in college. She decides to go on a field trip that the professor's assistant, Curt (Tim Morris) is supervising to help boost up her GPA. She goes along with several other students to a place called The Great Dismal Swamp, which is teeming with life, but it also seems as if something unnatural is stalking them like prey. For other than the wildlife, there is a family of cannibals looking to add to their meat locker any people foolish enough to venture into the swamp. It will only be through Dana's (Lydia Chandler) wiles and survival skills that she may survive this horrendous deal.
This is a very mediocre film. The direction by King is very pedestrian. It does not seem like the shots are staged well and there are times where you cannot figure out what is really happening. Never a good sign for a horror film. He also has a great location for a horror film but he never seems to be able to shoot it at its best advantage. The script does not fare much better. The plot is way too familiar to anyone but a complete novice on the structure of horror films. There is a twist towards the end I didn't see coming but the film was so poorly done, it was already past the point of no return. The cast is one of the few decent things about the film. Tim Morris is quite good as Curt, he portrays the assistant with a aloofness and a awkwardness that really comes across well. Lydia Chandler also portrays a great heroine, who really develops and branches out in the final moments of the film. The SFX and the effects of the film are somewhat good too, though it would seem that some of the CGI blood effects were rushed and not finished properly as they look really fake. All in all, I would not recommend this film. If you have not seen any backwoods horror films I would instead tell you to seek out The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or The Hills Have Eyes rather than this turkey.