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.