Wow, what a lesson how a single scene can ruin a movie.
But let’s begin with the… well, story? I’m not sure there really is one that goes beyond the typical slasher formula of “group of twenty-somethings camps in the woods, killed by rednecks”. Actually, that is exactly the story here, with the not exactly uncommon addition “killed by rednecks who make snuff movies”.
The group of twenty-somethings consists of Pete, his younger brother Brian, their friends Zack and Gina (or something) and another camper they meet, Kate. They are semi-forgettable, but at least not as annoying as the usual cast of “20 minutes with jerks”. That is the next point that stands out as positive: There is no “20 minutes with jerks” phase in the movie and the pacing in general is great. Stuff keeps happening from the first minute; there are no lengths. My usual attention span lasts 15 minutes of nothing relevant happening into a movie; this one wasn’t hard to sit through at all. I also liked the overall atmosphere; very grindhouse, not too overdone-gritty, nice light.
Now to the less positive points. This movie was clearly going for torture porn, and measured by Hostel standards, it did succeed. My opinion about Hostel, however, is that it is obscenely overrated, highly disappointing and boring. “Carver” has more kills, more gore, more explicit gore, using a variety of tools (mainly farming tools). Yet these scenes still seem uninspired and don’t follow through on the ideas. In some cases, the victims underact the injury and hardly scream or struggle; in general, everyone recovers much too fast and too unphased from hammer blows and later even shotguns. “The Hills Run Red” comes to mind; a very similar issue in a very similar movie – a masked maniac killing people in the woods to make snuff movies.
In total, this was alright to watch – with the exception of the one scene to ruin it all and make it laughable. An escaped victim sees a chance to run over the killer with a truck and actually takes it, then even double taps with a fork into the head. At this point, yeah, the killer is dead. Until he steps up behind her and seriously says “that was my stunt double”. Really? REALLY? Come on. That was completely unneccessary, and comical in a clearly not intended way. You can’t make a serious slasher/torture porn and then bring such a stupid “plot twist”. A second killer, sure, that was the idea all along, but a STUNT DOUBLE of a rather recognizable guy? Had the actual second killer taken over at this point, I would not see any problem with this movie as a whole and would rate it as one of the more enjoyable slashers. But this scene ruined it all.
Famous Last Words: Just… WHY?