Massacre at Rocky Ridge 2003 Review

Massacre at Rocky Ridge 2002

Directed by: John Marshall

Starring: Savannah Costello, Paris Kennedy, Tricia Taylor

Review by Luisito Joaquín González

I have to mention the first sign of originality that I saw here. You couldn’t count on ten hands the amount of slasher movies that have titles that end with the word ‘massacre’. It must have been tempting for director John Marshall to call his movie Rocky Ridge Massacre. Or even, maybe, Rocky Ridge Party Massacre! But no… Massacre at Rocky Ridge it is.IMG_0302

Right, so you know what to expect. This one is so obscure that it is not yet on the IMDB. It was made by the small independent movie house, Rainforest Studios and despite some of the cast and crew going on to larger things, it has been totally and completely forgotten. There’s not even much you can find by a search on google. What does that usually tell you? Come on, we have been here before, yes? In a billion+ cases that means that a movie has disappeared simply because it stinks. Stinks like a skunk after a Vindaloo and a tin of baked beans. Pheeeeeeeeeeew!!!

A group of four friends head off in to the woodland on a project for their church. There, they come across an old Crazy Ralph-esque guy who tells them about a group of youngsters that were murdered a while earlier. The killer was never captured, so before long he comes back to leave a few more corpses.

Me, I love surprises, love them. Thank you John Marshall, because you gave me one of the most unexpected ever. It’s quite obvious by this site that I enjoy watching slasher films, but sometimes the really cruddy ones are extremely painful. Even for me. I was really expecting the worst with a zero budget title that’s not listed on any film websites. But prepare to be shocked ladies and gentlemen, because this obscurity is not bad at all. In fact, it’s actually quite good! Massacre at Rocky Ridge is a tribute to Friday the 13th and one that most definitely carries some of the chemistry of a classic killer in the woods yarn.

It opens sharply with the murder of a wandering teen after a score that sounds like Halloween on crack. The scene is superbly lighted with energetic photography and attempts at jump scares. The killer looks fantastic in a ‘cherubic’ white mask and cape combo, but the best part is what happens when he finally catches the fleeing bunny. You see what really makes Massacre at Rocky Ridge stand out is that the victims really look like they are getting stabbed. It’s almost like a snuff film in places. They fight for every last breath and the look on their faces when they’re impaled is sometimes uncomfortably realistic. Marshall has done a superb job with his actors and has tried to make things as realistic as possible.

Before watching this, I had seen Sandy Hook Lingerie Party Massacre and there’s a lesbian romp in that flick that involves two overweight chicks and to be frank, its not much fun. I have never really been a huge fan of sex scenes, but I appreciate that they’re part of the ‘exploitation package’. However if you ask me to give my judgement, then seeing two slim counsellors in the closest you can imagine to school uniform ‘get it on’ is a far more appealing proposition than what I saw in Sandy Hook. Ridge has not one, not two, but three lesbo clinches and at least the girls here are attractive with lumps in the right places (not just above the belt!)

The majority of the film is a flashback sequence that we watch as it is being told to four campers around a fire. It shows how a group of female scouts head off in to the forest and are brutally killed one by one by the maniac. To me, it looked pretty obvious that the nut job was going to make a reappearance when the tale that was being told had come to an end. And he does; but they leave it right until the last eight minutes. I thought it was a bit strange that there was only such a short amount of time left to slaughter four people and unmask the killer, but then I found out that those scenes had not been in the initial script and had been added on at a later date. I don’t have any information as to why, but I can only guess that it was to make the runtime longer. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is easy to notice that this was the case, because the characters that we are introduced to in the opening seemed certain to have had a bigger part to play in the storyline. In the end though, they are wiped out pretty quickly and the final credits roll.

What I didn’t particularly like and it’s more a personal thing, is the way it gets a bit too perverted as things head to the conclusion. Now I mentioned the girl on girl stuff already, but when the park ranger turns up in the morning and discovers all the (naked) bodies, he puts them in a big pile and films them with a camcorder. Cue plenty of lingering shots of naked girlies splashed in blood. Whilst searching for information on this flick, I discovered a forum where people were discussing movies that show corpses dumped on top of each other. Is it some kind of fetish that I’m unaware of? I’m not sure to be honest, but if nude dead chicks in a heap is your fantasy, buy this movie now!

Despite being put together on peanuts, Ridge hides its budget restraints splendidly. The only places where you can see its low funding are in the slightly repetitive score, ‘eccentric’ continuity and some of the editing, which is amazing during the kill scenes, but jumps around like a record player aboard the sinking Titanic in other places. What was impressive though was the fact that when you think of how many big budget slashers had trouble with lighting (Campsite Massacre, Humongous et al), Ridge gets it all spot on and it’s a fabulous achievement. The only other gripe I have is the choice of weapon. Watching someone get stabbed very realistically once is cool. Twice is still ok. But by the tenth time, I was wishing that the maniac could show a bit more creativity. Maybe he should go watch Happy Birthday to Me and learn a few more interesting ways to wipe out some teens?

I was told once that if you streamline your movie to fit its funding – for example, you don’t write a script with explosions and helicopters if you’re working on a David Sterling production – then meagre budget is no excuse for a poor movie. John Marshall has proved it here, with a feature that has bundles of potential. I was expecting Carnage Road and although what I got wasn’t quite Coda, to end up with Cutting Class was a real treat :)

Slasher Trappings:

Killer Guise: √√√

Gore: √√

Final Girl:

RATING:

83873673

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Posted on July 27, 2012, in Slasher and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

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