Thursday, 4 June 2015

The 3 Vicious Pigs! Review of Berkshire County (2014)

Berkshire County (2014)
Director: Audrey Cummings
Starring: Alysa King, Samora Smallwood, and Bart Rochon
Running Time: 83 min

  I'm always excited to see horror films from new and talented filmmakers, especially from Canada!   This one looks and sounds like an interesting twist on some of my favourite fairy tales, so I hope they are just as terrifying as the originals.

  Kylie Winters is at a costume party when the high school heart throb, Marcus makes a appearance.  After making a quick round, around the room, he makes his way over to Kylie and invites into the ever so romantic kitchen to, umm, "chat".  Surprised and feeling extra special, Kylie follows Marcus into the kitchen and after a bit of "chit chat", he convince Kylie to give him some oral pleasure.  Unfortunately, she doesn't realize that she is being video taped by some people through the kitchen window and Marcus as well, with his phone.  I guess she just kept her eye on the prize.
  Anyway by the time lunch hour rolls around on Monday, everybody at school has seen Kylie's blowjob video and she feels as though she is the laughing stock of the school.  Also, Marcus' girlfriend is pissed at her and wants to beat her, so she ditches school and tries to head home but when she gets into her car, Marcus hops in too.  He apologizes, tells her he didn't know that they were being video taped and he needs her to tell the principal that he had nothing to do with that video going up on the internet.  Kylie tells him to get lost and takes off home.  Sadly, while trying to wash the shame of this terrible day away in the shower, which never works by the way, her mom confronts her and tells her how ashamed she is of her and doesn't know how she could do such a thing.  This makes Kylie feel better..., no, wait the opposite..., worse and she falls into the fetal position in the shower and cries her sorrows away.  Thanks mom!
  However,  it's Halloween and she still has a babysitting job to do.  So after some supportive words being screamed at her by her mom, "I wouldn't hire you as a babysitter, because of what you did" and "You really need to stand up for yourself", Kylie gets in her car and drives what seems like a million miles away to her babysitting job.  When she gets to the impressive home, she meets the father who introduces her to the kids and gives her a quick tour of the place.  She is given instructions on what time the kids should eat and go to bed, then right before he leaves to go to the party, his wife who is a Vice Principal or something takes Kylie aside and tells her that, "She wouldn't let her babysit for her, but they had no other choice".  And with that encouraging remark, the parents are off to a party until 1 am and Kylie has to take care of their precious children.
  The evening goes by quickly and nobody really comes this far out to trick or treat, so when 9 pm rolls around, Kylie puts the kids to bed as instructed.  She goes back downstairs to watch TV and then there is a ring at the door.  She goes to answer it and sees a kid in a Halloween pig mask outside.  She opens the door and the kid says nothing but Kylie know the deal and goes back inside to get some candy for this weird kid.  After grabbing a handful of candy, she returns to the door and sees that the kid as backed up a few paces, so she walks outside to put the candy in the bag.  However once outside, another person in a pig mask tries to grab her but luckily Kylie is too quick and makes it back into the house and locks the door.  The pig people bang on the door and are trying to find a way in, Kylie calls the police but they tell her that because she is so far away that it will take some time to get there.  Under siege and terrified, can Kylie save herself and the kids from these horrible pig people before the police arrive or are they trapped and their bacon cooked?

  For a first time feature, I think this was pretty good.  Director Audrey Cummings paces the film well and captures the vibe of a home invasion film.  Very reminiscent of films like, "You're Next" and "The Strangers", the terror comes from the hopeless feeling of being trapped in your own environment and not knowing what these masked strangers want or what they're going to do next and this comes across very well in the film.
  Also, the cinematography looks fantastic and Michael Jari Davidson (Mourning Has Broken, Anything Goes) gives us some gorgeous shots of some terrifying imagery.  With a lot of lower budget films, some first time feature filmmakers (say that three times fast), aren't able to capture the right look or tone of the project but in this case Davidson really nails it.

  This is an indie film and I can just imagine how hard it was to get made, so I'm going to take it easy but I do have some suggestions for any future endeavors.  There might be SPOILERS in the next couple paragraphs, so be weary before reading.  I found that there was a real lack of sympathy for Kylie character.  There was nobody that stood up for her, which was really weird.  She didn't seem to have any friends at school and even though she was a minor, the police were not called by any parents or teachers to have this video brought down.  She was never treated as a victim of a horrendous and humiliating trick, which in these times is a little unrealistic.  If she had just one friend or even her mom to take her side then, I think the story would be a little bit better and seem more real.
  Also, this is a SPOILER so be aware!  There is so much focus on this blow job incident that I expected that there would be more to it throughout the film but there really isn't.  Which I think is a missed opportunity for more bloodshed and mayhem.  Why doesn't Marcus's girlfriend and her friends come out to the house to try and play a shitty Halloween prank on Kylie & get murdered?  Why not make them the killers?  What about the guys who shot the video, what repercussions do they have for ruining this poor girls' life?  There are just a lot of unanswered questions here and if it  wasn't going to be prevalent to the rest of the film, why harp on it so much at the beginning?  doesn't make sense to me.
  SPOILER Although I did enjoy the ending for what it was, I thought it was a little over the top. What! I know, I enjoy a good massacre like the next guy but again it didn't really make sense and there is no way that it could be possible to do that.  It stretches the imagination a little to far for my likes.  It seemed a little tacked on and rushed, which is a shame because there were possibilities to leave on a really strong note but I think it was missed.

  With that said, I still found the film to be enjoyable and would probably dig seeing it on big screen if the opportunity arose.  The direction is good and it has a ton of good horror elements in the story, along with some real masterful cinematography.  So, if your looking for a film that will make you lock your doors at night and avoid answering the door on Halloween, this film is for you.

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