Carver Movie Review
Written by Daniel Benson
Released by Allumination Filmworks
Written and directed by Franklin Guerrero Jr.
2007, 97 minutes, Not rated
Matt Carmody as Pete
Erik Fones as Bobby Shaw
Kristyn Green as Rachel
David G. Holland as Billy Hall
Neil Kubath as Bryan
Natasha Malinsky as Gina
Jonathan Rockett as Zack
Ursula Taherian as Kate
DJ’s three-step plan for a happy camping trip:
- If the destination you’re heading to is notorious for campers going missing, pick a different one.
- If the owner of the only bar for miles takes his fashion tips from Billy Ray Cyrus, and in a Southern drawl tells you, “We don’t get many outsiders round these parts”, get the fuck out.
- If there’s a dilapidated house near the campsite, it’s really not a good place to go and goof around. Especially towards nightfall.
If only the once happy campers of Carver had stuck to my simple plan, they wouldn’t have ended up in the mess they did. Thank God they didn’t because, despite its formulaic backwoods hillbilly slasher premise, Carver delivers a sumptuous feast for horror fans.
Carver is the second feature from Franklin Guerrero Jr, after the diminutively budgeted, yet highly impressive The 8th Plague. The happy campers of Carver end up running an errand which sees them uncover a stash of snuff movies in the aforementioned house of dilapidation. At first they think they’re watching some low-budget home movies, but they soon realize that what they’re seeing on screen is the fate of the missing campers.
As there are only five central characters, you know either there’ll be lots of padding and a handful of quick kills, or each character will suffer for a prolonged period. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your perspective) for the viewer, it’s the latter, and Carver delivers some of the most deliciously gruesome scenes of murder since Tom Savini snapped shut his make-up case.
Those killings come at the hands of Billy Ray Bartender’s simpleton brother, who has a penchant for torturing people to death while wearing a pair of welder’s goggles. Despite how it might sound, his lumbering form clad in the cold, black lenses of the goggles, creates a forceful screen presence and etches an unnerving figure onto the viewer’s mind.
One scene in particular will become the talking point of this movie. I won’t go into detail, but it involves a pair of pliers and a part of a man’s anatomy that should never come into contact with hand tools.
Yet the nut-pop scene (damn, I gave it away) isn’t the most brutally uncomfortable in the movie. That accolade is reserved for the sledgehammer killing towards the end. Using the right mixture of lingering detail and cutaway scenes for your mind to fill in the blanks, Guerrero has created one of the most powerful killings I’ve seen on screen in some considerable time.
Carver is good, old-fashioned, honest horror. It’s a simple story, one we’ve seen countless times before. But with some good writing and characters that you can believe in, it doesn’t leave you with a feeling of déja vu. If you’re looking for “old school American horror”, forget Hatchet, Carver’s where it’s at.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.