Indiana born filmmaker Jason Horton is at it again with his clever ways in his latest film, the micro-budgeted gem Monsters in the Woods,
a film where he simultaneously spoofs himself, creates a wonderfully retro horror flick and tosses in enough gore to please true fans of indie horror.
In Monsters in the Woods,
Jayson (Glenn Plummer) is a micro-budget filmmaker who has trekked in the wilderness to shoot a horror film now deemed unsellable without the addition of some good ole' fashioned sex and gore shots. Low on funds to make it happen, he takes a micro-budget and some up-and-comers and goes to shoot his film. He and his cast soon find themselves smack dab in the midst of their own horror film when they become hunted by a large group of creatures.
Well, it kinda sorta is. But, it's kinda sorta not.
Monsters in the Woods
is a cleverly written, well acted and hilariously gory micro-budgeted film from a filmmaker who first came to my attention with his suspense thriller Trap.
Proving that he can't be confined to any specific genre, writer/director Jason Horton has created a film that is smarter than you think it's going to be and infinitely more entertaining than the story line might suggest.
One of the things I most admire about Horton is that he doesn't try to mask nor flaunt his low budgets. Instead, he simply makes films with as much quality as he possibly can and creatively figures his way around quite a few challenges that would sink any number of other micro-budgeted films. While Monsters in the Woods
isn't a perfect film, it is an entertaining film that will please not just genre fans but most likely the even wider population of true connoisseurs of grassroots cinema.
While it does sound like Horton is treading familiar territory, what he actually does is take a familiar plot foundation and he breathes new life into it. There's something remarkably entertaining about the way Horton's character Jayson obviously mirrors the filmmaker and the ways in which Horton incorporates spiritual aspects into his deceptively simple story that work together to keep the film flowing rather fluidly. Horton also rips a bit on other genre traditions and, in ways subtle and not so subtle, rips into the formulaic crap flowing forth from the Hollywood corporate machine these days. Heck, for his fans he even tosses in references to a couple of his own previous films that will be obvious to those who know his work but are done in such a way that they won't distract a bit if you've never seen a Jason Horton film.
As is nearly true for micro-budgeted cinema, the cast is a bit hit-and-miss at times with lead Glenn Plummer and supporting players Edward Hendershott and Lee Perkins shine brightest but there was also something about Linda Bella's performance (No, silly. Not her breasts!) that carried just the right vibe and had me grinning from ear to ear.
Being a low-budget affair, the monsters in Monsters in the Woods
are real rather than CGI and are certainly far more convincing than some other recent crap (like say The Darkest Hour)
creations. The film's low budget is obvious, especially in terms of special effects, but given the vibe the film carries it all works out quite nicely.
Monsters in the Woods
has been picked up by Osiris Entertainment and will be landing on DVD on February 21st, 2012. Mark your calendars and pick up this indie horror gem! For more information, visit the Osiris Entertainment website.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic