DVD region 2. Chelsea Films.
up out of nowhere, Red Canyon is a surprisingly
effective and, by the time it’s finished, thoroughly warped
slice of modern horror that takes its cues from survivalist shockers
of the 1970’s.
The film opens up with something bad happening to brother and
sister Devon (Tim Drazl) and Regina (Christine Lakin) –
something we see in fast cut snippets and will slowly uncover
as the film progresses and Regina’s half buried memories,
seen mostly in nightmares, slowly come back to her. After moving
away, the pair are back home in their one horse desert home, with
city slicker, horror movie stereotype mates along for the ride.
No sooner have they returned than they are getting on the wrong
side of the local rednecks, and after Regina bizarrely returns
to the scene of her earlier trauma and is attacked by local thug
Norman Reedus, the group find themselves besieged in their run
down house (where even the toilet is broken).
follows is a solid revamp of home invasion horror, channelling
elements of The Hills Have Eyes, Poor
White Trash, Straw Dogs and The
Texas Chain Saw Massacre along the way. But the film
lifts itself from the usual rut with a series of twists –
you really don’t know who (if anyone) to trust, and while
the suspicious behaviour of one main character hints that he might
not be all he seems, just how he figures in the unfolding story
is a real surprise – and leads to what might well be the
most morally twisted and grimly downbeat finale you’ll see
The cast handle their roles well – though in the grand tradition
of modern horror, a couple of characters are so annoying that
you can’t wait to be rid of them – and debuting director
Giovanni Rodriguez (who also co-wrote with Laura Pratt) handles
the action well, building some genuine suspense and letting the
story build slowly, keeping the film full of twists and turns.
On the downside, the mostly nocturnal action is a little too dark,
and effectively wastes the epic desert landscapes for much of
the film, while the sound seems a little muddy (one character,
though speaking English, is actually subtitled, in a move rare;y
seen in fiction) – though the music is excellent.
This is pleasingly bleak stuff, guaranteed to make for uncomfortable
viewing for many people – and the levels of sexual threat,
gore and that unsavoury ending are all surprising to find in a
‘15’ rated movie. Fans of edgy indie horror should
eat this up.
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