The Pit Movie Review
Written by Joel Harley
DVD released by 101 Films
Written and Directed by Chad Crawford Kinkle
2013, 81 minutes, Rated 15 (UK)
DVD released on 9th June 2014
Sean Bridgers as Dawai
Lauren Ashley Carter as Ada
Kaitlin Cullum as Christie
Larry Fessenden as Sustin
A slow-paced family drama set in backwoods America, The Pit takes in just about everything you'd expect from a film populated by True Blood and Deliverance cast-offs. In case you were under any illusions, his is a film which opens with a girl shagging her brother in the woods. The story which follows is about her trying to hide the subsequent pregnancy from her community (themselves busy sacrificing one another to a mysterious pit in the woods) in the face of her impending arranged marriage. Not just another cheap straight to DVD rip-off, then.
Like The Village crossed with Juno, this is an inventive, intelligent tale of horror in a small Southern community. The budget is low, but it looks good and is well cast, with Lauren Ashley Carter performing well as young Ada. It reunites Carter with Sean Bridgers, who she acted alongside in the similarly interesting The Woman. He too is well positioned in the story, playing the man who crafts clay models for the Pit (earning the film its more interesting original title of Jug Face – nothing to do with Archie Andrews).
When Ada discovers that she is next in line for sacrifice, she steals and buries her clay visage in the woods, leaving a void that The Pit desperately wants filled. It unleashes an evil from within, slowly and insidiously tearing the community apart. Very slowly. An unapologetic potboiler, writer and director Chad Crawford Kinkle takes his sweet time in telling the story, with little room for action or gore inbetween. More impatient viewers may be bored, but everyone else will find their patience rewarded with one of the more interesting horror movies 101 Films have ever released.
Still, it could have been visually more exciting, and it would have been nice if it had played up the inherently Lovecraftian elements more. The Pit itself is a disappointment, not looking particularly foreboding or even very deep. It's more of a hole, really, and not even a very scary hole, at that. Get past the lack of funds and occasional blandness, however, and there's much to enjoy.
Where most straight to DVD backwoods features are (wait for it) the pits, this one at least tries to be original. Just don't expect the Southern USA tourist boards to be queuing up to show their gratitude for its depiction of small town America...