The low-budget horror thriller DESOLATION is one of those movies that I wanted to like a lot but ended up liking only some.
Distributed by IFC Midnight and available on Netflix, DESOLATION follows grieving widow Abby, her young teenage son Sam, and her best friend Jen on a camping trip to a mountaintop where they plan to scatter the ashes of Abby’s late husband.
The film’s strength is the believable bond among the three main characters. With Jen along for moral support, Abby expresses fear and uncertainty about the future of her son without his father figure around.
The appearance of a silent stalker, hooded and wearing sunglasses, interrupts their excursion in the woods as director Sam Patton ably sets the table for a potentially terrifying slasher flick.
However, the tension and violence never reach the boiling point because the stalker is not interesting. Looking like a Unabomber knockoff, the stalker lacks any personality or intensity, mostly holding a walking stick and staring. Even his attacks seem lethargic.
As I said, I wanted to like DESOLATION a lot because the actors are genuine and likable, and I’m a sucker for a lost-in-the-woods slasher. And the movie has a heart with the way it incorporates the memory of Abby’s husband.
I guess I just hoped for more action on the extreme side of horror, and DESOLATION eschews the violence and aims to unnerve instead, which is not the film’s fault.
At 78 minutes, DESOLATION is a short romp through the forest, and if you’re looking for a stalker flick without the gore, it fills the bill.
Check out the trailer on YouTube here.
RATING: ♥ ♥ (out of 4)
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