Realistic backwoods thriller with a punch
Koreatown Krooner | Los Angeles | 07/01/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It's not quite "Deliverance", but it's better than a lot of thrillers where innocent campers are assaulted by unknown killers. I'd rank it above "Rituals" and it is definitely more intelligent and grounded than any of the "Last House on the Left" or "Hills Have Eyes" series of films. "Nightmare at Bitter Creek" features Lindsay Wagner, Joanna Cassidy and Tom Skerritt who give excellent and controlled performances. The director wisely keeps the killers faceless for most of the film. The plot is simple. Four women hire guides and horses to venture into a remote area of the rocky mountains where they plan to meet up with their husbands. Meanwhile, a group of anti-government survivalists are on the run after a shoot-out with a state police S.W.A.T. team. Now Federal agents are combing the wilderness in search of them. The four women and their guide(Tom Skerritt) cross paths with the killers who murder all their horses and stalk them with bad intentions. All of the action is plausible and pulse-quickening. Characters both good and bad are wounded and put through hell. There are no Jet Li kung fu tricks or John Woo twirling pistols. All the violent encounters are grounded and gut-wrenching. This is an admirable action-adventure effort. A few cliches hamper it in places. Tom Skerritt has a sly, self-deprecating wit, but his character is yet another alcoholic-who-makes-good and a cowboy who has outlived his profession. Linsay Wagner and Joanna Cassidy are both strong resourceful women who ultimately don't need men to protect them or a shoulder to cry on. The final shootout between the women and the survivalists is easily worth the price of the film. "Nightmare on Bitter Creek" will gain a cult following if enough people see it."