Red Canyon Movie Review
Written by TGM
DVD released by Chelsea Cinema
Directed by Giovanni Rodriguez
Written by Giovanni Rodriguez and Laura Pratt
2008, 90 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on May 23rd, 2011
Christine Lakin as Regina
Tim Draxl as Devon
Katie Maguire as Terra
Norman Reedus as Mac
Justin Hartley as Tom
Noah Fleiss as Harley
Ankur Bhatt as Samir
Walter Rodriguez as Walter
To the best of my knowledge I have never been brutally gang raped and left for dead in a cave, but if I were, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t use my frequent flyer miles to go back and revisit the scene of the crime even if it did happen in my own home town. Although in retrospect, an “I went to the subterranean cavern that I was raped in and all I got was this lousy T-shirt” souvenir would be pretty sweet.
Red Canyon is the story of rape victim Regina, her asshole brother Devon, his girlfriend, their cocky cousin, and the obligatory minority friend (this time he’s Indian!) who go back to Utah (home of polygamy!) to help exorcise Regina’s personal demons and oh, ride dirt bikes! Weee! Regina, now a shadow of her former self, is pretty much scared of everything at this point, but still musters up the courage (and stupidity) to wander back to that cave where very terrible things happened to her only to… wait for it… be beaten and molested again! Seriously honey, next year vacation at DisneyWorld where the only time you’ll get fucked is when you find yourself shelling out $15 (~9£) for a shriveled hamburger and a small drink.
This film quickly turns into a by-the-numbers slasher flick with a few desperate tethers to the aforementioned back-story. I always thought Norman Reedus (The Boondock Saints, The Walking Dead) looked like a creepy dude and that he’d be able to portray a pretty effective sadistic killer. Well, Red Canyon gives him the chance to do just that, the only problem is that his character goes from mildly annoying redneck townie to full-on psycho in the blink of an eye and while there are a few decent kills to be found here, none are groundbreaking or jaw-dropping. Reedus seems pretty bored with the role, which makes it even more disappointing knowing that if given better material that he should knock it out of the park. The standout performance would be Katie Maguire as the woefully underused girlfriend. Your eye is immediately drawn to her, and she seems to make the most out of the rather trite dialogue. It also doesn’t hurt that her character is the only one you’ll feel any sympathy for whatsoever, and her solution to thwarting off a rape of her own truly takes a set of brass cojones the size of 747 jet engines.
The pacing of Red Canyon is decent, but the obligatory twist ending really makes no sense at all when you sit down and think about it. Mercifully most people won’t even bother. The conclusion is quite depressing, with perhaps one of the bleakest endings I’ve ever seen in a non-post-apocalyptic film, but that doesn’t mean it’s particularly good, or that it works well enough to redeem the rest of the movie.
On a random side note, there is some unintended comedy to be found in Red Canyon. There is one particular actor (the late Walter Rodriguez) who is clearly speaking English, albeit with a slight accent, that for some reason warranted the use of subtitles whenever he, and he alone, spoke. This choice fascinates me. Did he know that he’s being made to look like an inept buffoon early in post-production, or did he only find out when he sat down with his friends and family to watch the movie for the first time? But I digress…
Red Canyon has an ambitious concept that ultimately succumbs to the trappings of a run-of-the-mill slasher flick. You won’t care much about the majority of the characters, the performances aren’t particularly noteworthy, and despite what the DVD cover looks like, there isn’t a single inbred mutant cannibal to be found.