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Deadwood Park (2007)

DVD Cover (Cinema Epoch)
Genres:
Haunted House Film, Horror, Supernatural Horror
Director:
Eric Stanze Eric Stanze
Starring:
William Clifton William Clifton
Lindsey Luscri Lindsey Luscri
Bryan Lane Bryan Lane
Jason Allen Wolfe Jason Allen Wolfe
Ramona Midgett Ramona Midgett

4.6 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: October 23, 2007
After having sat through a number of films by Eric Stanze and the boys over at Wicked Pixel over the course of the last month or so, I've come to realize that they know their shit when it comes to horror of the visual variety. By that, I mean that they've made it obvious that they can do sadistic horror (Scrapbook) as well as low-budget splatter (Savage Harvest), but these are the types of films that rely on visuals instead of the in-depth storylines that really makes a horror film memorable. Seeing how their previous films operated and then hearing about how this one would play out, I was reminded of... well, I won't name names, but there's quite a few directors and companies out there who like to shovel out the same thing over and over with different costumes being the only way to tell them apart from one another. That couldn't have been further from the truth when dealing with Deadwood Park, and I couldn't have been more pleased with the results.

The storyline for this one is actually pretty complex when it comes to typing up a synopsis, and this is mainly due to the fact that each scene of the movie is sort of like a piece of a larger puzzle; in order for me to tell you one thing, I'd have to spoil the scene that came before it, and to skirt around that I'd have to spoil something else. What I can tell you is that the story takes place over the course of sixty years (courtesy of well-placed flashbacks), and that the main chunk of the plot revolves around Jake (William Clifton), a young man who has returned to his hometown in order to find some sort of closure after his twin brother was murdered some twenty years ago. What he discovers is that his brother wasn't the only child murdered in this town, there are ghosts hanging around outside his old house for reasons which will be made apparent later in the film, and some of the townsfolk have more than a couple of skeletons in their closet. Helping him solve this mystery is local girl Olivia (Lindsey Luscri), and hindering his attempts is Sheriff Cooper (Bryan Lane).

Think you've got the storyline all figured out? Well, you're more than likely wrong; I realize that it sounds similar to a lot of other movies dealing with ghosts and haunted houses, but that is because of the little spoiler thing that I mentioned above. There are dozens of twists and turns popping up along the way, and let me just make it clear right now: this is not your typical supernatural horror flick. There are plenty of movies out there that I would have no problems spoiling in their entirety, but films like this deserve to be seen with the viewer having as little information about the plot as possible. It's for the best, trust me.

Now, I did mention something about numerous flashbacks which result in the storyline spanning over the course of sixty years, but this is not the type of film that uses these scenes as a crutch to support the horrible writing skills of the scriptwriters. They actually work out extremely nicely for the most part (although one of them did run a little too long for my liking), and I felt that this was an interesting way to tell the story. I also enjoyed the look of these flashback sequences: they were shot in black and white, but it wasn't that "modern" black and white that a lot of films use when attempting to come across as vintage material. A lot of filmmakers are content to simply run their finished scenes through a filter in whatever program they use in order to achieve this effect, but here, everything looks perfect. This sort of thing could have easily ruined the film, but thankfully, the guys behind the scenes had true talent and made everything look unbelievably great.

Alright, so with that out of the way, let's discuss the important issue: was it an effective horror film? For my money, yes - yes it was. What I enjoyed most about this aspect of the film was the fact that it was a slow-burning horror film that relied on genuine tension and atmosphere to deliver the goods rather than merely shoveling buckets of gore on the screen and giving us plenty of "BOO!" scares. There are a handful of scenes in here that are particularly effective and work better than others, but make no mistake about it: none of the scenes even come close to downright failure. This is aided by some damned good cinematography and sets (I loved the abandoned amusement park), and I really had a hard time believing that this wasn't a big budget Hollywood flick based on the production values. Leading man William Clifton also does a superb job with his role, and these things combined turned what could have been an average-at-best film into something particularly memorable.

Check it out, definitely. I love a good supernatural / haunted house film, but sadly, the good ones seem to be few and far between these days. Deadwood Park is one of those good - nay, great - ones, and it easily deserves a purchase or a rental at the very least. 8.5/10.
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: December 07, 2007
Don't ask me why this film appealed to me enough to Netflix it. A couple of acquaintances had recommended it and the reviews I read had not been totally wretched, so I thought maybe there was something redeemable therein. Boy, was I kidding myself. "Deadwood Park" is just another lame, independent horror film created by people who don't even know the genre. It's like "Boogeyman" meets "The Sixth Sense" meets "The Little Rascals" and it gets on your damned nerves. It's about a man whose kid brother was abducted and killers years before during a string of child murders that rocked his small town. Years later, he returns to that town and tries to find the killer, guided by the spirits of the deceased children. Now, doesn't that sound like an award winner?

The film opens with two oafs digging a grave for this old trunk that one of the filmmakers must have found at Pier 1 Imports and thought would look cool. The film ends with - oh, I'm not going to spoil that for you - that would be doing you a disservice. Rent "Deadwood Park" and check it out for yourself. On second thought, don't rent it. Ever. Forget I even reviewed it. It's one of those films that isn't even good enough to make it onto Cinemax or late night Showtime. And see if you can find a single solid performance. Most of these actors inhabit their roles with all the zeal and excitement of a petrified sponge. "Deadwood Park" is a bore, plain and simple.

4/10.
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Chad #1: Chad - added 12/07/2007, 04:41 AM
meanie - I can't believe you didn't enjoy this one, as I thought it was extremely well-done (especially for an indie film, but that's not to say that that's the only standard it excels by). We've disagreed on films in the past, but I'm going to have to say that this is our biggest disagreement to date.
Tristan #2: Tristan - added 12/07/2007, 06:10 AM
There's a difference of 4.5. Hostel was rated as different as you can get.
Chad #3: Chad - added 12/07/2007, 06:14 AM
Forgot about that one, good call.
bluemeanie #4: bluemeanie - added 12/07/2007, 12:02 PM
I was just totally unimpressed by this film. The opening few minutes were painful. I thought the acting was atrocious, for the most part and just couldn't care about characters played by actors I thought were ill equipped for the roles. When I first saw the kids outside his window, I literally laughed, and not in a good way. Most of the 'supposed' scares made me chuckle more than anything else.
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