Monday, October 22, 2012

The Barrens (2012)


Synopsis taken from IMDb
This movie is about the Vineyard family and their trip to the New Jersey Pine Barrens. There is a legend that the Jersey Devil lives in these woods. It came about after a woman known as Mother Leeds had 13 children, but she offered up the 13th child to the Devil so she and her other children didn't have to leave their house as they were going to be forced out by the town folk because she was having too many kids in the area back in the 1700's. So it's now the present, and the Vineyard family are going to camp there so the father ('Stephen Moyer') can release he father's ashes. But while there they hear that someone has gone missing, and Richard (Moyer) thinks it's the work of the Jersey Devil. So they move their camp site to get away from the rest of the campers only to find that they're in more trouble than they were before. But is the legend of the Jersey Devil real, or is it just another story?

Darren Lynn Bousman has had success with his previous films, Saw II, Saw III and Saw IV as well as Repo! The Genetic Opera. Bousman wrote The Barrens soon after finishing Saw II (2005), the film was shot in Toronto, Ontario.

Mia Kirshner, most recently know for her role on The CW's hit series The Vampire Diaries as Isobel Flemming. I am most familiar with her from her role as adult Sarah in The Crow: City of Angels (1996). She was also recently in 30 Days of Night: Dark Days (2010) as Lilith, which I wasn't a fan of. In The Barrens, Kirshner plays Cynthia, Richard's wife.

Stephen Moyer, who's popularly know as Bill Compton, Sookie's love interest on HBO's smash series True Blood. I've been watching the show from the beginning, but one thing that I've learned about Moyer is that he apparently has trouble picking what movies to be in outside of starring in True Blood. The movies I've seen with him have been underwhelming, but with Bousman on the case I figured this one was a sure thing. So you can imagine my disappointment when this movie failed my expectations.

The movie starts off with a couple walking through the woods to find a grisly discovery. It was a nice surprise to see Shawn Ashmore in this film playing Dale, the boyfriend.

The Vineyard's are getting ready to leave to go to the Barrens and we see that Richard's daughter, Saddie, doesn't like nor have much respect for Richard's wife, Cynthia. After some convincing Richard is able to get Saddie to hurry along with getting ready.

Soon after arriving to the campsite Richard realizes things have changed since he was a child and used to com to the Barrens. The campers are teens and disrespectful, they're texting and partying. Not the ideal camping trip Richard wanted with his family. He wanted to have a wholesome trip and free of all electronics including cell phones.

While sitting around the campfire a teen tells the story of the Jersey Devil, and a goofy stunt startles and frightens Richard's son. Richard overreacts and gets hostile with the teens.

During the night Richard has a nightmare where he's chased by an unknown creature. When he awakens the next day he looks like hell, looks ill and Cynthia notices.

He decides they need to move their location to deeper into the woods to get away from the crowds of mischievous teens. His family objects but they go anyway.

Richard starts to have more hallucinations and claims the Jersey Devil is after him. He becomes sickly and aggressive. He becomes dangerous.

The reason this movie was such a letdown for me is because I thought that it had a good story here and they could have gone in many directions with it. The movie starts off slightly creepy and keeps you invested for about 35 minutes.

The suspense wasn't there, it was absent. There was nothing suspenseful about this movie. The scares were just as sparse and dry. It wasn't what I was expecting. It's like you're watching a guy make a fool of himself and make it apparent he's losing his mind. But they try to keep you guessing because they may want to twist it on you for the startling effect.

The problem is, by that point in the movie you don't care anymore if it has a twist or not. It lost it's appeal long ago and the payoff doesn't matter because quite frankly it's predictable and lame.

The creature Richard sees is ridiculous looking and not scary at all. This movie wasn't scary, it was more of a psychological thriller reminiscent of The Mothman Prophesies, which was better. The ending of The Barrens is completely lackluster.

This movie was quite bad but it's far from the worst I've seen this year. I'm sure some people will like this but it's not for me.



  1. The movie started off alright but as you said, the suspense just wasn't there. It's not the worst movie I've seen


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