Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: William Clifton (I), Lindsey Dee Luscri, Bryan Lane (II), Jason Allen Wolfe, Ramona Midgett
Director: Eric Stanze
Genres: Drama, Horror, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense
The small community of Eidolon Crossing once boasted a flourishing economy and great prosperity, fueled by Dogwood Park, an amusement park at the edge of town. Then the child murders began. Jake and his parents moved awa... more »
An Indie-Horror Gem
David Schmidt | Chicago, IL United States | 10/17/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"If you are a serious fan of intelligent scary movies, you frequently find yourself wading through luke-warm to unbelievably bad dreck, looking for the real gems in the genre.
*This* is the kind of movie you're hoping for.
_Deadwood Park_ is a great example of personal passion, creativity, cinematic technique and a strong story, completely overcoming the lack of a big budget. It's thrilling to watch a classic style pulled off with this much heart and soul. Entertaining and engrossing.
On a micro-budget, the filmmakers have built a slow-burn, atmospheric ghost story with some truly harrowing suspense and chills. Making use of great use of locations, this movie is beautifully shot and deliberately paced. It takes its time, but delivers some remarkable and evocative sequences - from a gas-lamp search of an abandoned second floor, to a harrowing WWII battle flashback (filmed with local re-enactors). A moody ambient score and effective sound-design give these scenes exactly the bite they need, and near-brilliant use of composition.
All of this would be for nothing without a story worth telling, and this is a place too many indies fall down on. But not here. I can't tell you how delightful it is to be halfway through a movie and _not_ have a clue where it is going. And it turned out that even my suspicions didn't guess the half of it. There is a big story being told here. A smart, literate, novel-like structure full of striking details and themes. Historical flashbacks and visual devices that I found very rewarding. While some of the dialogue is un-remarkable, it's not annoying and seems to support the common-place feeling of the place and the characters.
The only thing I felt detracted were a few performances. The wordless suspense scenes are completely effective, but I found a couple of the actors to be unconvincing in scenes involving dialogue. I know they were going for very low-key, naturalistic performances, but IMHO the movie would have benefitted from stronger screen presence.
Still, this is terrific work, an inspiring movie for Indie-filmmakers, and *essential* viewing if you're a fan of old-style ghost stories in a Bava-esque vein. I strongly recommend _Deadwood Park_."
Weird and creepy!!!
Frank Estrada | Portland, OR | 08/05/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
Little kids are scary. If movies like THE OMEN, THE SHINING, and now Wicked Pixel's DEADWOOD PARK have taught us anything, it's that little kids are frickin' terrifying. And while those old school classics showcased talent from some of Hollywood's most well-known and well-respected players, director Eric Stanze (of Ice From The Sun and Scrapbook) and the rest of the crew at St. Louis' Wicked Pixel Cinema, The Little Company That Could, us show that not do they roll with some scary little kids, but they also have an abundance of cinematic vision like their genre forefathers. And while their latest film, DEADWOOD PARK, is far from perfect, it is easily their most ambitious project to date, and offers the viewer a very watchable flick that sports some spooky imagery that will stick with them long after the film is over.
A Gen-X business dude named Jake (William Clifton of China White Serpentine) returns to his childhood hick town home to find that the town hasn't gotten any less creepy since he was a kid. And for good reason. A rash of unsolved child killings had taken place over a period of time, and the town never really got over it. And to make matters worse, it seems that Jake had never gotten over it either. Because not only was his twin brother the killer's final victim, but he also finds that not long after he arrives in town, he comes down with a severe case of Creepydeadkidaphobia. Yes, Jake sees dead people. And hears dead people. And he doesn't like it much.
He soon hooks up with a strangely eager, yet pleasingly cute store clerk named Olivia (Lindsey Dee Luscri) who is more than willing to help him find out more about the killings and possibly who the killer was (or is). And even though her father, the sheriff (Bryan Lane of Killers By Nature), seems to have a mad-on for Jake, she uses his resources behind his back, presumably because she's from a small town and she has the hots for the new kid in town.
As the plot gets deeper, the film jumps back and forth through time, revealing pieces of the puzzle in a very stylized way. This is a pretty cool device, but it also contributes to one of the film's flaws. The film is a mish-mash of genres. It's part ghost story, part mystery, and part... something else. And as a result of trying to do too many things, the film seems to occasionally lose focus, and some of the exposition scenes kind of drag. Trimming a few minutes here and there might have given the film more impact, but perhaps some of the story would have been lost because so many ideas are being introduced. The movie does take an amazingly weird turn into another genre, and the ending is very satisfying if over-the-top is what you're looking for.
As for the performances, some of the acting has the stiffness of inexperience but yet some of the acting is quite good, even from some of the bit players. The script is clever, and some of the actors really did their lines justice, while others could have used a few more takes had budget and resources allowed. But for the most part, I feel like they did a solid job overall.
DEADWOOD PARK is a fun, yet somewhat unfocused film that tries to do many things, and for the most part succeeds. The genre-bending nature of the film might turn some folks off, while others might appreciate the different flavors, as this horror sandwich has a few different layers.
While the final version of this DVD is not yet available, the pre-release disc I reviewed looked great. Even though the budget was considerably lower than Hollywood standards, the picture is colorful and clear.
The 1.85.1 aspect ratio really comes into play, as the practical locations used for filming really open up the scope of the movie, especially the abandoned amusement park that the film is named after. It really is amazing, and every cent of production value can be seen onscreen. From the creepy underground tunnels of the park, to the full-on war scene, the filmmakers were going for the visual goods, and the DVD shows it all off well.
There are many dark scenes in the film, and while that's where many DVDs drop the ball, this film looks good during those moments.
Even though this was a test disc, the sound mix was on point. The 2.0 mix had some fun activity in two channels, and was effective in building tension. The soundtrack, which was all done in-house, is a big strong point for the film. The tense soundtrack makes an uncomfortable contrast to the equally-disturbing quiet moments, and the swells and strings were done really well.
The pre-release screener contained only a teaser trailer, and the flick itself. But the groovy kids at Wicked Pixel love their bonus features, so I expect there to be some when the finished disc is released.
DEADWOOD PARK is a genre-bending horror film for horror fans who like it weird and creepy. Even though it is not as exploitive as some of the Wicked Pixel films, it does have some over-the-top moments even though much of the film is slow-burn creepiness. While the film does have its issues, it certainly manages to be at times horrific, disturbing, weird, and cool. Throw in some scary little kids and some really cool locations, and you have yourself a horror movie that will throw you for a loop a couple times before it's done with you."
A creepy slowburn...
R. I. Jane | 08/13/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"A very different film from director Eric Stanze, Deadwood Park marks a very different direction for Wicked Pixel whose previous efforts include the notorious Scrapbook and the surreal Ice From The Sun. This film is more in line with more traditional ghost stories like The Changling and the insanely stylish cinematography goes a long way to making this low budget feature look considerably more expensive than it was to make - a testament to the production team's abilities.
Those looking for cheap, trashy thrills or gore galore will not find what they're looking for here but if intelligent scares that sneak up behind you and linger for a while are you bag, check this one out."
M. Kevin Durak | 10/23/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"*Deadwood Park* by Wicked Pixel Cinema starts off slow, and ramps up into an intriguing story keeping the viewer wondering what is coming next. The slow start is effective in building up the suspense of the story. The overall plot is excellent for a horror film, and the use of flashbacks to explain the story was used perfectly. A lot of horror films have a tendency of just trying to gross out the viewer; *Deadwood Park* puts itself away from this stereotype.
The viewer is put on edge with great presentation, cinematography, and story telling while trying to figure out the mystery of what happened at Eidolon Crossing in the past, and how this links to what is happening in the present.
The picture quality is great and in no way difficult to watch. The setting locations on their own are extremely creepy, and when you add in a few freaky looking children, you get a frightening picture to say the least. I thought the score (especially the opening credits) was excellent and really set the mood early. Some of the interaction acting / dialogue was a bit tough in some parts, but in no way took away from the film. Wolfe's portrayal of Reverend Callahan was excellent and very believable.
The last few flashbacks (I don't want to spoil anything so I am being vague) do an excellent job of answering the viewers' questions while not getting too far away from the action that has been building up.
If you are looking for an enjoyable horror movie, that stays true to the classic approach of scary and creepy being better than bloody and gory, *Deadwood Park* is a must see.