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The Barrens


Something in Jersey is more demonic than Snooki.

Rod Lott October 1st, 2012

In a post-Saw world, Darren Lynn Bousman quietly has been making a series of horror films more in line with scary movies of the 1970s than the torture-porn genre he helped usher in. Already this year, DVD has brought us his superlative Mother's Day remake and the low-key demonic pic 11-11-11, and now The Barrens. It's just too bad they've all been denied wide theatrical releases.

barrens

The Barrens harkens back to the cryptozoological craze of that decade, rife with mostly rotten pics about Bigfoot and Boggy Creek and the like. This one's better, following family man Stephen Moyer (TV's True Blood), his second wife (Mia Kirshner, The Black Dahlia) and their two children on a fun-filled vacation (well, for him, at least) into the pine barrens of a national forest.

He wants bonding time, but finds only terror, in the foamy-mouthed form of the Jersey Devil, a winged creature of urban legend rumored to be the 13th child of a woman, but her first offspring of Satan himself. Bousman long teases the audience on whether Moyer's seeing things; regardless, we see them, so monster-hungry viewers shouldn't be disappointed.

Not long after arriving on the campgrounds, the family joins a group 'round the fire, where one young man spins a tale of terror. It's in that campfire-ready mindset in which you should be to best watch and appreciate The Barrens for what it is, and what it is not.

The Blu-ray contains an alternate ending used in foreign markets, and it's kind of refreshing to hear Bousman make fun of it. He's not yet a master of horror, but it's increasingly evident he knows what works more often than not. —Rod Lott

Hey! Read This:
11-11-11 DVD review 
Darren Lynn Bousman interview  
Mother’s Day Blu-ray review  
Saw 3D Blu-ray review 
True Blood: The Complete Fourth Season Blu-ray review   

 
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11.20.2012 at 11:27 Reply

Thanks for the review! I think it’s great that the Saw director is branching out into different types of horror films. Bousman is brilliant when it comes to horror. I love waiting until the very end of a horror movie for the climax. The Saw movies are incredible so we know Bousman can write and direct a great script. 

 

 
 
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