A no-budget film made by a couple of true grindhouse horror
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 12/30/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone familiar with my reviews should know that I'm a big supporter of low-budget, independent films, particularly of the horror variety, and I can only hope that a few of my reviews help get the word out about unknown productions deserving a wider audience. Unfortunately, some of these types of films just aren't very good, and I'm afraid Survival falls in that latter category. I really wanted to like this movie because it was not only set here in my home state of North Carolina, it was filmed in Concord, which is just a couple of counties over from where I live. To be fair, Survival is essentially a no-budget movie made by a couple of tried and true fans of the schlock horror film genre (think 70s grindhouse). You might see it referred to as "The EBAY movie" because the filmmakers financed the film by auctioning off producer credits on EBAY for twenty-five bucks a pop. The twelve hundred bucks they raised went solely to production costs - in other words, the cast and crew basically worked for no money whatsoever. You have to love the kind of dedication and hard work that made this film a reality, even if you don't like the final product.
Survival is pretty much another in a long line of films about young people going camping and having to fight for their lives against some inhospitable denizens of the backwoods. Jake (Matt McClure), Brian (Ian C. King), and two of their buddies go out camping every year to get away from the rigors of college, but this year's outing is a little different. Jake brings his girlfriend Lauren (Vanelle) along, while Brian is accompanied by his ex-girlfriend Wendy (Hannah Reynolds) - and their little group arrives a good day after their two fellow campers. They're unable to find their buddies, but everything still seems fine until Lauren gets a nasty little injury. A gruff local yokel (Rufus, played by Don Prentiss), who just happens to be passing by at the time, takes them home to see his very hospitable father - a doctor. It's pretty much all downhill from there, as the kids soon find themselves hunted by one or more psychos determined to torture and kill them all.
Obviously, you're not going to have much in the way of great acting among a cast of unpaid volunteers, and that hurts the film. None of the cast members are flat-out awful, but you're constantly aware that they are all acting, which means the film never succeeds at drawing you in to the story. As far as special effects go, I found all of the blood and gore quite satisfactory, especially for such a low-budget film. The most prominent special effect, though, is seen throughout the entire movie. In post-production, the filmmakers went about digitally adding a bunch of scratches and other defects designed to make the movie look like one of those 1970s drive-thru schlock classics. I actually think this works quite well, although I think the limited budget could have been put to better use in just about any other area.
I'm going to give Survival three stars. Quite frankly, it's not a great horror movie by any stretch of the imagination, but it was made for all the right reasons by some true fans of the genre (Joe Francis and Kevin Woods) - and I doubt anyone else out there could do more with such a limited, almost nonexistent budget. More power to these guys - I hear that a Survival 2 is in the works."
DO NOT BUY THIS
THERESACCOOPER | 08/29/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I am a horror movie fan and have watched alot. The acting is poor, the story is more of a comedy than horror. Looks like something that Shock Theater would not show."