Incident at Blood Gorge Movie Review
Written by Daniel Benson
Directed by Susan B. Devine
Written by Susan B. Devine & Dave Ryan
2005, Region 0 (NTSC), 99 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on June 18th, 2007
Phil Cirincione as Clay
Al Pagano as Blore
Todd Thomas as Wargrave
Harry Sutton, Jr. as Rogers
Dana K. Gereghty as Emily
Dave Ryan as Ed
Victoria Cozzolino as Kate
Anthony Azar as Marston
David Douglas as Mac
Scott Chan as Lhakpa
Ian Pfister as Agath
Elizabeth Devine Hewson as Trapani
Daniel A. Janquitto as Pilot
A military base, high in the Himalayn mountains. A catastrophic incident. A lone survivor recounting the events…
As the sparsely manned Blood Gorge military facility prepares itself for an imminent blizzard, a group of climbers seeks refuge within the base. The weather outside deteriorates, and one of the climbers tells a tale of the Hindu demons which legend says are buried beneath the ice of the gorge. The tale ends with a warning: If man chooses to fight over land already won by the gods, then let the demons be raised to feed on them.
When the generator freezes up and the base loses power, the occupants begin to be murdered one by one. Is it a lone psychopath, hiding among one of the groups? Or is it, as the story goes, a demon that taunts its victims before it kills them? As the legend says of the demon’s eating habits:
You taste better when you’re afraid.
“…a classic haunted house story in the tradition of Alien and The Thing”, says the press release. “Oh Dear”, I thought. The last time a movie compared itself to such significant genre events, it was The Suckling, and that … well … sucked.
It was a major relief to watch Incident, and find out they are very fair parallels.
There is the bitterly hostile environment and the sense of total isolation so prevalent in John Carpenter’s remake, and the hidden enemy which bumps off the characters from the shadows just like Ridley Scott’s masterpiece. Not only that, but the movie has a touch of The Blair Witch Project going on with its “recovered footage” concept. The major difference is, Incident goes all the way to scare school while dropping Blair Witch off at kindergarten.
The story is told in an interesting and novel way, through the use of only three camera viewpoints; The first is in the interview room where Captain Clay tells his version of events, the second is a fixed surveillance camera by the main door of the base and the third is a hand held camera brought by the climbers. It’s a clever technique, and the footage from the silent surveillance camera really adds an eerie edge to the events. There is also no music score whatsoever, just the howling of the blizzard to increase the sense of gnawing isolation.
I hate DV as a medium for movies as it always looks too sharp and clinical, but the story and the characters were engrossing enough to make me forget about it. Director Susan Devine could have really taken the movie up a notch if she could have filmed in, say, 16mm and maybe even used a real surveillance camera for those shots, but when it comes down to it, the budget required would probably have stopped the film from being made.
One particularly impressive thing is how the story is played totally seriously, without a hint of humour. A lot of indie movies tend to play it for laughs, or at least tongue-in-cheek — maybe they feel that viewers won't take them seriously because of the obvious lack of budget so they try and camp it up. It was nice to see the movie stayed away from that concept and the cast pulled off performances that were good enough to carry the story.
An indie movie of an ambitious 99 minutes, that keeps me gripped throughout, is definitely doing the right thing. What’s more remarkable is that it’s Susan Devine’s first attempt at a feature film. It’s been too long since I’ve seen a movie that relied more on scares than gore to creep out its audience, but Incident at Blood Gorge pulls it off. And then some.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Not rated, as this was a DVD screener only. No distribution as yet, but it can only be a matter of time. As most of the movie is extremely dark, whoever picks it up will have to do a good job on the transfer or all that black is going to look very messy.