Review by Emily Craig
Directed by: Glenn Douglas Packard
Starring: Daniel Wilkinson, Brian Raetz, Lindsey Nicole
Hunter (Brian Raetz) is returning home after living in the city at college. He has recently come out to his parents as gay, and with the help of his friends from college, he’s returning to battle out his demons with his unaccepting father. Hunter's parents' home is a barn in the middle of nowhere, a fitting location for a horror film. Of course, we aren’t just about to watch a film about a bunch of students having a barn party and a good time; it turns out there’s an unwanted guest who turns up and starts slaughtering people one by one, and he goes by the name Pitchfork (Daniel Wilkinson).
The director of this film is Glenn Douglas Packard, who previously had primarily worked in choreography; this doesn’t surprise me at all as there is a particularly entertaining choreographed barn dance at the start of the film which honestly looked like something out of Glee, as it was hugely camp, but very impressive. I like the stereotypical characters, each of them thoughtfully written. We have a jock, a geek etc.; all obvious for this genre but known to work well, and this film is no exception to that archetype. Our serial killer’s aesthetic is also impressive. With an animal mask, a man-made pitchfork as a hand and barbed wire covering parts of his body, the creation of the character had me thinking throughout about his history and how he became the monster he is, which we do find out at the end of the film.
What impresses me most with this film are the technical elements. Considering it is a low budget film, there are some cool and experimental shots, and the images are crisp, clean and good quality, and well edited. There are also some amazing practical effects, which look very realistic. With a lot of low budget horror films, the effects, whether CGI or practical, can let them down, but Pitchfork smartly uses practical effects, which pays off.
The two things that spoil this film are some ropey acting (though for the most part the acting is spot on) and the dialogue, which is a little clichéd at times. If the dialogue is camp and clichéd, there’s not much an actor can do to make this sound any other way. Other than this I did enjoy Pitchfork; it’s very much like a lot of other serial killer/torture-porn films that I have seen but it's well executed. For Packard’s first attempt at directing, he has done extremely well.
Pitchfork is in US cinemas and on VOD January 13th.