Berkshire County (2014)

I've been accused of watching a lot of terrible movies, and I will admit to watching more than my share. I'm not actively going out to find the lousy movies, though. In this case, I thought it was supposed to be a good movie - it had gotten lots of awards for being a great horror movie. Unfortunately, this movie was everything bad about horror movies added to everything bad about budget movies.

Alysa King is our lead in this movie, and she was... well... she was ill cast, as she is supposed to play a high school student, and she's just not that age, but that's an issue with a lot of these movies. She was definitely the best actor in the movie, but competition wasn't stiff. There aren't any significant role aside from the one Alysa had, and the supporting cast is pretty terrible.

Bad guys are very easy to play in these slasher movies. This is especially true when they wear masks the entire time - this gives them the illusion of being dispassionate and unfazed. The bad guys in this movie wear animal masks (it's Halloween) much like the very, very good movie You're Next. That is where these two movies depart.

The audio in this movie is terrible. It's like someone figured that the microphone that was built into the camera would be good enough, so everyone just stayed quiet while the filming was happening, and they hoped for the best. Well, the best they could get was echos and voices that sounded more distant than they should be.

The cinematography was done in a "best effort" way. In a few scenes, it looks like the shots were setup and worked well, but other scenes had the cameraman struggling to keep people in shot. He didn't always succeed. In at least one scene, he's not far enough away, so the middle of the shot has no one in frame at all. It's distracting and disappointing.

The story that this movie tries to tell is its most damning issue. This sucker draws from films that came before it, breaks no new ground, and is utterly predictable. It starts well enough. at a party, a shy girl makes a mistake by getting alone with a guy who pressures her into a sex act that gets filmed without her knowledge. The video gets leaked to the school. So far, at least it's new-ish. Then she goes to a house in the middle of nowhere to be a babysitter for a couple of kids. Then, bad guys besiege the place. The story has been done before. Simple as that.

I'm totally 17 years old, really.
I wanted to like this movie, but I just couldn't. It was flat, unmoving, poorly conceived, poorly performed, poorly shot, poorly produced, poorly edited, poorly directed, and it just didn't show enough talent to be on screen at all. Who gave this movie awards? Like six horror festivals, and I don't understand why. I think we should give them all a do-over.

Direction was bad
Story was bad
Dialog was bad
Acting wasn't good
Cinematography was bad

Bottom Line: A student film that somehow got wider release.



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