Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Albino Farm (2009)

Backwoods inbreds meet their intellectual matches from the city

This is based on a real life place that combines religious fanaticism, backwoods inbreds and an urban myth surrounding it when four, clueless youngsters are doing an assignment for rural history and they take a wrong turn into a town called Shiloh that's so remote it's not even on a documented map. On the outskirts they get a flat tire and head over to the local gas station where the blind attendant spouts some gospel mumbo jumbo and warns them about a local legend which makes them only more intrigued to check it out.

Despite their driver, Stacey, having some sense and a desire to play it safe, the rest are just made out to be bonehead, thrill seekers egged on by their resident party animal Brian that leads them to make one stupid move and test one dangerous limit after the next. They find out about the hush-hush legend of the Albino Farm through some locals with odd deformities and an upbringing of their own interpretation of the good book that keeps the fear in them. Not surprisingly they get separated when putting one foot forward before their thought processes can catch up. They're neck deep, with no turning back and now have something more out of the ordinary than the town's folk stalking in the woods after them.

Should they save their friends? Should they run? This isn't exactly challenging stuff but more the characters just dodging, crying and tripping, only to repeat in different variations until a random, all-too-convenient solution shows itself and the curtains close with an ambiguous, use-your-own-interpretation brief summary. It's hard to see one's self in their situation since the majority of their mistakes could have been avoided. The acting gets the job done--if not over, occasionally under--for the type of standard material they're given: low budget, tongue-in-cheek horror with shallow dialogue of the everyday kind till they get to the extraordinary events and then the tears roll and their feet go every which way but the right way. The villains look as expected, along with their straightforward motivation: grotesque to the sight and then sadistic and violent to the teeth. You get what you pay for, no more to be considered new or overly shocking, no less that hasn't been done before that you can count on it.

The performers playing the locals carry the look but not always the right sway of words to put an extra ounce of fear in a viewer or make someone uncomfortable enough to produce real shivers--especially if you've seen even a few for the subgenre. Up and starting actors from other entertainment areas, Richard Christy and Chris Jericho, one playing more of a I-told-you-so jerk than the next, still have some ways before they perfect their acting chops. Christy is somewhat wooden and playing catch up to his lines, though Jericho did better than I thought he would have by changing around his appearance and mannerisms as the town troublemaker. Duane Whitaker, who's been around in the horror scene for a while, tends to reach over the mark but serves his purpose as the local gas station attendant who's either crazy or too right--probably both.

"Albino Farm" starts out with jokes and games, only to make an attempt to be more serious as it goes along. This was too playful and also self-aware of its own faults in one too many areas to be scary, not to mention too quickly paced to give enough setup to be tension filled. The movie moves in a forward motion but this is just too easy to be taken with any bit of lasting integrity or laugh along with it more than a cursory chuckle. To its benefit it doesn't stall or look back but it also doesn't give room to enwrap the viewer in layers of wonderment regarding this tainted, small town and real location of the Albino Farm that they would have otherwise never heard of. Instead it feels stretched thin and turns out to be only a light diversion of the come-and-go, not-to-be-remembered kind after it's over and done due to being kept so formulaic and predictable.

Rating: 3/10

Director: Joe Anderson, Sean McEwen
Stars: Tammin Sursok, Chris Jericho, Richard Christy, Duane Whitaker, Bianca Barnett
Link: IMDB

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