Monday, 20 February 2017

Film Review: PITCHFORK (2016)

PITCHFORK *** USA 2016 Dir: Glenn Douglas Packard. 94 mins

Choreographer Glenn Douglas Packard’s directorial debut is a stylish no-budget slasher film shot in 21 days on his family farm. Handsome Brian Raetz – a rare gay Final Boy – has just come out to his stern small town Dad over the phone, and brings seven friends as moral support for a visit to their country home. The typical irritating ensemble (cheating boyfriends, a loved-up pregnant couple, a chirpy slut) are butchered by an animalistic, fur-masked loon with the titular weapon embedded in the stump where his hand used to be.
This has a photogenic cast (with a couple of almost likeable characters amongst the cannon fodder) and a slick look, with advances in affordable 21st century filmmaking kit allowing for expansive aerial shots and atmospherically (over) lit shots of mist-enshrouded nocturnal cornfields. Packard scores some proficient suspense set pieces (notably an intense home invasion) and the predictable detour into TEXAS CHAINSAW family-that-slays-together territory is well done. It’s arguably overlong (a gratuitous barn dance hogs screen time) and the climactic kiss-off line is the clunkiest in recent memory, but slasher fans get their money’s worth and there’s something endearing about “Pitchfork”, a grunting in-bred psycho whose idea of flirting is to lick the face of a pretty girl before penetration.

Review by Steven West


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