MASSACRE AT FEMUR CREEK
I stumbled across an interview on Bloodbath and Beyond (YouTube Channel), with Kyle Hytonen about his 70’s/80’s inspired slasher short film “Massacre At Femur Creek”. I’m always keen to watch and review new independent films like this one. I purchased the online screener from Kyle’s website, which I will put the link for at the end of the review. If it sounds like the type of slasher you would enjoy, please support the film and buy a copy and help spread the word. It’s the summer of 1984 and three best friends decide to celebrate one’s birthday by taking a camping trip at Femur creek. Shortly after a few cold ones and a couple of joints, a mysterious killer in a mask arrives to crash the party. The film stars Nigel Grinstead, Andrew Barr, Dean Young, Heather Dicke and John Migliore.
Massacre At Femur Creek doesn’t claim to be original, it’s clearly a direct homage to slasher films of the 70’s and 80’s, particularly the Friday the 13th series. It was shot for an estimated $3,000 and the running time is just 18 minutes.
Right from the outset you can tell the crew really utilized most of their funds on equipment and the aesthetic look of the film. The production value is really impressive. From the super smooth camera work and the nice clear audio, down to the interesting shot choices and well-lit night scenes, it’s all great. The editing works nicely in giving us a bunch of cool 80’s references. Some of them come in the form of items like a tape recorder or old VW the trio drive and others are covered through the dialogue. I really dug the cheesy continuous 80’s style synth music, I can’ get enough of it. There just aren’t enough films capitalizing on how cool an old school retro soundtrack can be.
The content in the short running time is mostly enjoyable. The characters poking fun at gps satellite positioning and the possibility of having all your music on one device, being an invention light years away made for a good chuckle. The dialogue doesn’t get serious at any point which keeps things light and fun but at the same time doesn’t leave you with anything really worth remembering. The killer’s look wasn’t exactly original but I still like those Leatherface (Texas Chainsaw Massacre reference) inspired plastic masks. He also moves in a similar way to the aforementioned. The practical effects were pretty cool and once again shown in the same kind of style of the original Friday the 13th, really basic effects with a decent amount of blood.
Some of the dialogue gets a bit clunky at times and many of the jokes were a bit immature for my taste but I understand it’s an homage and the writing lends itself to cheese. The acting is decent enough considering these are all friends of the director, nothing bad just not all that great either. Everyone completely underplaying their reactions to the killer was what stood out about the acting. The girl at the beginning all the way through to one of the guys being killed around the campfire, it’s like no one gave a shit about the severity of the situation and that’s not very realistic. Then you have the killer who laughs insanely for no reason which went to the other end of the spectrum of feeling forced and not creepy like it should have. Some of the writing needed to be tidied up to stamp out those issues.
The blood and gore effects I did see were pretty cool but I feel like so much effort was spent getting the production value stuff looking great (which is important), that the opportunity to do more with the kills and action took a back seat. I was hoping for more action (even given the short running time) and the final shots were farfetched beyond comprehension (haha if you’ve seen it you know), and I know it was probably intentional to poke fun of slashers where the killer just won’t die, but the killer plain and simply would not come back from that!
Massacre At Femur Creek did what it probably set out to do and that’s entertain. The production value and professionalism technically is as good as anything in the genre. A bit more time spent on editing some dialogue and adding some more carnage could have seen this held in even higher regard. I’m interested to see what Kyle does next and be sure to check out the film at the link below, all slasher fans will enjoy! Thanks guys.
My rating for “Massacre At Femur Creek” is 7/10