Horror in the High Desert (Review)

No one just disappears

Director – Dutch Marich (Infernum, Reaptown)
Starring – Suziey Block (Pickle’s Horror Show, Dude Bro Party Massacre III), Eric Mencis, and David Morales (Hunting, The Dark Hand)
Release Date – 2021
Rating – 3.5/5

Since the beginning of the pandemic I expected to see some projects that were already started to be finished while most filmmakers where sheltering at home but once these projects were done I didn’t expect to see many new indie films hit the market. With new covid guidelines and social distancing I would imagine filming a new film would be relatively difficult. While I’ve seen a huge decline in indie releases in recent months I still get surprised from time to time with a new one that I had not heard about.

A few weeks ago director Dutch Marich reached out to me to review his newest film Horror in the High Desert. I befriended Dutch on social media sometime ago and was familiar with his work but I had no idea that he had just finished this project. I agreed to check it out and the second I had some free time to spin I gave it a go. Thanks Dutch for sending this one my way.

**Spoiler Alert** The film is a mockumentary about the disappearance of outdoor enthusiast and YouTuber Gary Hinge (Mencis). Gary went out into the woods to investigate a small shack he had found on a previous trip but never returns. The local authorities and people from the community search for him but are unable to find his remains. However, things take a chilling turn when his backpack is found with his severed hand clutching his camera. **Spoiler Alert**

I didn’t know what to expect from this one when Dutch asked me to review it. I hit play and after ten minutes or so I was ready to write a negative review. However, I stuck with it and after each passing moment I found myself getting drawn in. I like to call this the Trailer Park Boys syndrome. The first season of TPB is horrible but after that episode you are greeted with one of the best television shows in history. Horror in the High Desert does have a slow start but the longer you sit with it the more you start to appreciate and enjoy it.

The acting in this one works for the film. You don’t really get conventional scenes like most movies with characters interacting with one another. The interview setting is a bit boring at times but the cast does a phenomenal job at creating and staying in character during these scenes.

The story for this one is a bit unique. It’s a true crime mockumentary meets found footage. The film is set up to mock a true crime show where family and friends of the victim are interviewed alone with the police and detectives working the case. This was a bit slow starting out but it eventually finds it’s footing. We then move on to the footage that was found. This found footage insert adds some much needed action to the film. I’m not a found footage fan but having this aspect just take up a small portion of the film was fun.

Finally, the film is not a bloody mess of a horror flick. It’s very character driven and focused on the story rather than showering the viewer in blood and gore. Overall, Horror in the High Desert was not what I was expecting at all but it was a pleasant surprise. This unique blend of mockumentary and found footage really held my attention and was a lot of fun. I highly recommend this one especially if you are a fan of found footage. You will not be disappointed.


(Staff Writer) Lover of all things horror and metal. Also likes boobs and booze.


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  1. Honestly…at first I was like meh BUT Amazing job, the night vision parts with the music kept me on my toes the whole entire time I was a bit concerned and on edge, you could feel the suspense build up. You get this weird pit feeling in your stomach like nope dont wanna be there . I had to keep second guessing myself even now to be like “nah this ain’t real”. Haha you never know unless you look I guess………
    Looking forward to more!
    Great job

  2. When Gary had the camera in front of the house and something bend down I almost freaked out. That was different and scary as hell.

    • YOOOOOOOOOOOOO i had to rewind that shit cause i was partially paying attention and yea i was freaked out. im tryin to get many people to watch it

    • I also was horrified as the film was presented to me as being true and therefore very real found footage. When I saw that thing bend down in front of the cabin and realized it had been standing there the whole time….I nearly lost it. So much so that my heart jerked and my chest was hurting after. Kinda bummed tho after I found out it was a mockumentary. Great job cause I’m a true skeptic of everything but his one GOT ME! Lol!

  3. The music playing while Gary is filming the the wierd structure at the end of the movie is amazing! The singer’s voice sounds eerie and witchy. It makes me think of early Diamanda Galas. Excellent choice!

  4. Killer flick I havent had an adrenaline rush like that from a movie since first hearing sirens in Silent Hill…that deep dread that you feel in your chest! Wasnt until final scenes til figured was mockumentary actors really felt the most unscripted of any lost footage movie. Was hanging on in secret hopes for M cave discovery footage but this was a great alternative. As a novice hiker spooked me to my core. Nicely done captivating and will be looking for discovery footage in 2022.

  5. Oh my gosh!!! I was genuinely terrified and on the verge of stopping the the movie because I literally couldent handle the anxiety of what was to happen next. I thought this was a real story the whole way through. It wasent till I googled it that I found out it was not. The cast was amazing. Bravo

    • Yes!!!! Me to! It wasn’t until I googled it that I found it wasn’t real. My son is moving to Nevada next month and I was freaking out throughout the middle and end. Yes it’s a slow start but worth it and I hate actual “footage films” cuz I get dizzy.

  6. I was completely fooled this was real until the occupants of the cabin are seen. Then, I still had to find out more just to verify it not real. Music was great. Acting was phenomenal. Very impressive.

  7. I still amazed that I was fooled ..I thought this was real the whole way through. Only found out otherwise when the credits rolled..ha Best acting I’ve ever seen!

  8. This movie is amazing. I would watch it again if I didn’t know what it was about. Sadly, i wouldn’t have all the suspense i felt the first time watching it.

  9. So did it happen or not???And is the footage real???0TELL THE TRUTH PLEASE!!That was a killer story line anyway…Will be waiting for the next.I hope it is real that w a s soooooo creeeeeeppy!!!

  10. I was disappointed.

    Honestly, the “spooky” finale just went on way too long, with nothing happening. No tension.
    And too many shots of the reveal. It would look cool if only seen briefly, but like this?

    On the other hand I did like the build up, I just wish it had been going somewhere. Red herrings that were used for two seconds and never brought up again? Why?
    However, I do find in these movies with nobody actors, everybody is believable. I believed these were real people.

    A better movie than this would be something like Savageland.

  11. I liked the movie overall, but why, why did the sister need to say my brother “Gary” all the time, I mean we know who she’s talking about.

  12. Honestly not entirely unwatchable but not nearly worthy of the acclaim given in prior comments. For the most part clearly a mockumentary from get go and with the help of a completely obvious bogus news footage clip reporting the “real life incident” there’s no effort to even make it look like a real news footage feed let alone acting abilities of the “news anchor” lol ( word of advice if you can’t make something look half authentic don’t bother putting in the film at all channels, heck even QVC and all others whether it be cable or public Access have some sort of logo representing their channel brand name / number on the left or right bottom portion of the screen. If you’re going to have ass something don’t do it at all. Believability is a lost art with these sort of “genre-style” of film. You can build tension without abandoning common sense and any sort of realistic relatability. Seriously your crippled with fear while you’re standing still with a camera making absolutely no noise video taping creepy demonic monsters without making attempt to I don’t know maybe run back to your freaking truck. Sorry I mean TWUCK ( people who have seen the film will get that last joke LOL). This at the very best one and a half Stars

    • Learn to freaking spell correctly, if you’re gonna criticize something. It makes you look unintelligent. Also making fun of a speech impediment is low class. Get over yourself

  13. When it got to the last 15-20 minutes or so, when he moved while in front of the cabin I bout lost it. I had to rewind it afterwards cause I couldn’t make it out & it looked like some sort of skinwalker type stuff. The music or whatever audio that was used was phenomenal. The hair stood up on the back of my neck & I was ready to run lol !! Idk it stirred some kind of primal visceral reaction for me. Me & my daughter have watched it a few times & even though we know what’s going to happen the audio still gets us both. Excellent job.

  14. I found the actors annoying. Everyone interviewed had the same speaking style. Yet the story was compelling enough that I kept watching.

    I was confused by one thing. Were there one or two people at the cabin? Was the guy with the machete and the guy searching for Gary by torchlight the same person? If yes, then what happened to the flaming torch?

    Overall, a good story despite the over coached “natural” speakers.

  15. I found the actors annoying. Everyone interviewed had the same speaking style. Yet the story was compelling enough that I kept watching.

    I was confused by one thing. Were there one or two people at the cabin? Was the guy with the machete and the guy searching for Gary by torchlight the same person? If yes, then what happened to the flaming torch?

    Overall, a good story despite the over coached “natural” speakers.

  16. Movie was ok till I saw the the last 20 mins and the story comes to a closing. I think the not knowing factor had me interested and the moment I knew what happened the move lost its allure. The truck part was dumb to me kinda made the ending dumb, someone knew how to drive.

  17. Overall, a fairly suspenseful film. I liked the way it builds up to a climax where Gary goes back to the cabin and then encounters a scary situation. In a way it reminded me of The Blair Witch Project from a few years back. Lots of hand held camera work. Decades ago, I myself was an avid backpacker (though not a survivalist) going on solo hikes by myself . Also, not informing anyone of my whereabouts. No cell phones either. I would never do that now. Too, many weirdos out there.

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