The Anniversary at Shallow Creek (2010)
Directed by Jon D. Wagner
[screener provided by Breaking Glass Pictures]
"I did not go on vacation to die"
-One of the characters who dies in The Anniversary at Shallow Creek
If the Dharma Initiative dropped horror movies on the Island, this one would be labeled "GENERIC HORROR MOVIE". It's pretty clear from the beginning to the end of The Anniversary at Shallow Creek that we're going to be accosted by horror cliche after horror cliche. And it's a relentless onslaught of cliches. And these aren't BB gun bullets, their armor piercing cliches that are the size of watermelons.
You might be asking what kind of cliches could go through the jaded viewer's bullet proof jadedness? Let's start with the poster's "inspired by true events". C'mon, this plot is to ridiculous to be real. Add in stereotypical cardboard cutout oversexed white kids, a trip to a cabin in the woods (or the desert?) and a masked sniper killer and it's cliche land, where all your horror cliches come true.
Shallow Creek recycles old horror plots, adds a supposed twist and is so predictable you'd start believing your psychic. I tweeted to fellow horror blogger Michael Allen of 28 Days Later Analysis that I was viewing this film (he had already reviewed it) and I guessed the killer 15 minutes in. He totally confirmed my suspicions. It's shit like this that offends us horror bloggers. We're to smart for a film like this and for an uneducated horror viewer, they're bound to probably think it's the next Scream.
Suffice it to say, only a movie like this would make me wish for the lone pseudo innocent kid to die.
When Sam and Paige decide to escape the stress of medical school for a romantic getaway in the mountains outside L.A., their four best friends end up tagging along and turning it into a weekend of partying. Little does the group know that their beautiful lodge has a dark history: exactly one year before, the house was the scene of a grisly double murder - and the killer was never caught. Now, as night falls and the group drinks beer by the bonfire, a predator hides in the darkness, watching them all through the crosshairs of a sniper rifle. In an instant, the friends' night of partying turns into a bloody fight for survival.
The Anniversary at Shallow Creek is a slick homage to horror classics and a clever update of the genre that never leads where the audience suspects. As the kill count rises, the remaining friends find themselves to be pawns in a horrifying game - one that promises to test their survival skills and the strength of their relationships.
For this review, I'm going to quiz you on what you would do when faced with an actual horror cliche from this movie. Your job is to pick what the MAIN CHARACTERS chose to do.
Got it? Let's get it on!
1.) You've got to study for your final medical exams, but your girlfriend wants to get freaky at your secluded uncle's cabin in the woods. What do you do?
A.) Invite all your douchebag friends to the your secluded uncle's cabin in the woods
B.) Fuck the cabin, get freaky with your GF in your apartment
C.) Study for your exams ensuring yourself a career and long life
D.) Play Modern Warfare on your XBox 360
The answer is A. The clear cut cabin in the woods formulaic cliche gets this film started. Turns out the locals seem fucked up as well. Did anybody not see Deliverance?
2.) You've heard over the TV that 2 teens got murdered in this neck of the woods a year ago today. At the cabin you meet the suspicious overly friendly neighbor. You're horror spider sense is tingling. What do you do?
A.) Party on!
B.) Head back to civilization
C.) Party on by dropping roofies in the girls drinks
D.) My spider sense is probably on the fritz
The answer is A. Remember, these horny college white kids have a limited brain capacity. Sex and beer (and this is for both males and females). There is actually no depth to these characters. I mean I actually don't remember any of their names. I think their was a blonde, a brunette, a dorky kid. The one redeeming quality is the girls got softcore. I mean no nudity at all in this flick. Just some bra and panties PG-13 crap.
3.) A 11 year old kid shows up and wants to hang with you awesome bro's. Do you....
A.) Let the kid hang out with you, shoot a BB gun and join in on party
B.) Tell the kid to go home
C.) Tell the kid to go the fuck home
D.) Tell the kid to go the fuck home because you plan on getting your freak on
The answer is A. Why is their a fuckin kid dying to hang out with you douchebags? Isn't that all suspicious?
4.) You're sitting at a campfire drinking beer and toasting marshmallows and your friend gets his head blown off by a sniper. Do you....
A.) Head inside, lock the doors and find a cell phone
B.) Make a break to the car and high tail your way out of Dodge
C.) Start freaking out and take cover
D.) See B.
The answer is A. The movie started resembling Kill Theory (which I liked) and its all about survival. Where that film started pitting the characters against each other (plausible) everybody in this film wants to help each other survive (totally not plausible). When faced with a life and death situation, people think about themselves. That's what people do. And it actually makes for a solid horror theme.
5.) The killer is taunting the remaining survivors by strewing the bodies of victims throughout the house. Do you....
A.) Go to an isolated part of the house and lock yourself in
B.) Use the darkness as cover to make a grand escape
C.) Find a weapon to defend yourself
D.) Make a grand stand against your attackers
The answer is A. I have no idea why'd they do this. It's so fuckin stupid.
6.) You're a girl tied up and told to make a decision. Kill your brother or your boyfriend. What do you do?
A.) Kill your brother
B.) Kill your boyfriend
C.) Kill yourself
D.) Once they untie you, reach for the scalpel they gave you and try to stab the killer with it.
I'm not going to give you the answer on this one but here's a hint. She should have totally went with D but she didn't.
Did you get everything right? No? Then you may need to watch more horror films. There is some sort of twist but I'll be damned if it makes any sense. It has something to do with an anniversary. The ending is drawn out as it tries to prove to the viewer how clever the writers were when they made this bullshit up.
The Anniversary at Shallow Creek is full of countless cliches, ranging from 1st person camera creeping in shots to loud BA BOOM! sounds to get you to jump. It didn't have a mirror scare but get this, no cell coverage is replaced with the fact they couldn't even find their cell phones! The acting is atrocious as is the odd montage scenes bridging the last acts together.
It's a muddled mess of nonsense where motive is clearly ambiguous. The double whammy ending made me mad and I almost punched my TV. If they did a double feature of this film and Drew Goddard/Joss Whedon Cabin in the Woods (which hasn't been released yet) you would probably get to see what they were going to make fun of in terms of cliches.
Dammit, when is that film coming out?
Avoid this movie and search out other newly released films from Breaking Glass Pictures. As 28DLA suggested, go with Dawning which was a solid flick.
Blown up cranium
Slice and dice
There's more nudity in a copy of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue than in this film
The ending after the ending
The Jaded Viewer's Final Prognosis
It's a generic horror movie. You'll have more fun watching your screen saver than this film.
Check out the trailer.