July 2, 2013

The Midnight Horror Collection: Road Trip to Hell

I get worse. I bought this collection way back in March 2012 (although it actually came out in August 2010), and I only finished watching it today.

It's not that "Road Trip to Hell" is a particularly bad set of movies or anything, but I had other things to do and newer movies to watch. Time slips aways so quickly, doesn't it?

Despite spending most of the weekend watching the two Alfred Hitchcock biopics, "Hitchcock" and "The Girl" (which I'll review later), I need to finally finish off these Echo Bridge Home Entertainment multipacks this week. They've been hanging over me like a dark cloud for far too long.

Sheltered (2010)

"On the eve of a massive storm, Joey, an awkward but straight-laced bartender, offers a group of vacationers refuge at his house. As the storm wreaks havoc outside, the group slowly discovers why they've been invited to the house, just how disturbed their host is, and that they'll have to fight a crazed killer if they're to see the light of dawn."

Although "Sheltered" is a very formulaic and predictable, the acting is above average for a slasher, everything looks okay, and the story is good enough to sustain anyone's interest until the end. Well, it kept me amused anyway.

The only downside is that the "twist" is given away right from the start so there's no mystery apart from who is going to die and in what order. Like I said, it's a slasher.

The sex scenes would have benefitted from some nudity as well, but that's not really a problem. The girls in this are very beautiful indeed even with their clothes on.

The Craving (2008)

"On a road trip across the country, a group of college friends become stranded in the desert. Miles from anywhere and with limited supplies, they discover that when the sun goes down, a deadly killer comes out. Something that will not go into the night quietly... or without a meal. The group must battle the creature for their lives in a desolate, harsh land that few have survived."

"The Craving" is quite an enjoyable monster flick if you are prepared to overlook some awful dialogue and frequent lapses into slasher formulas. There's enough mystery and tension to keep it interesting although the poor decision-making skills of the characters makes you want to slap some sense into them.

I'd like to say that I enjoyed this movie most of all, but I'd be lying. The concept of the monster and the purpose for luring it to a shack in the middle of the desert is original, but it's only an "Evil Dead" clone otherwise.

Hell's Highway (2002)

"A road trip for four college friends turns into a twisted, bloody nightmare when they pick up Lucinda, a hot, young hitchhiker who lusts for the kill. After she terrorizes them, the group kills her. But around the next bend—and every bend—she appears like a mirage, ready to slaughter again..."

Easy to confuse with "Detour" (also known as "Hell's Highway" in the UK), I mistakenly thought that I had the other movie until I watched it. The plot and tone are completely different.

This is the much lower-budget one with Phoebe Dollar (from "Goth") and Ron Jeremy in it, so it's not as serious as it should be. I must admit that I spent more time looking at Phoebe's slightly wonky teeth than concentrating on the story or lack of production values anyway. Phoebe is still a very pretty girl though, and one scene is genuinely erotic.

Feeding Grounds (2006)

"En route to a weekend at a desert cabin, four young couples find themselves in a dangerous situation that will push them to their breaking points. After a glitch in plans forces them to pull over, they burn time by getting the party started amid the gorgeous desert scenery until a grisly discovery sets them running. But there's nowhere to run, and nowhere to hide..."

"Feeding Grounds" starts off really well, then jumps the shark when it becomes yet another story about bickering teenagers being picked off by monsters in the desert. It could have been scary, but there's too much talk and not enough action.

Taking the low-budget into account, there's still no excuse for the huge plot holes and confusing ending.

"Road Trip to Hell" is one of the best "Midnight Horror" collections if you like low-budget movies. While not exactly brilliant, these aren't "hobby horror" movies like so many which give the genre a bad name.

The best way to look at a themed pack like this is to imagine it as a really long anthology without a wraparound story (and with some of the segments being weaker than others). There's certainly enough variety to keep you from feeling that you're watching the same thing over and over again.

As you can see from the Amazon link (to the left), the best price for "Road Trip to Hell" is only a penny. I can wholeheartedly recommend it for twice that price!

This is one of the few Echo Bridge Home Entertainment multi-features which I intend to keep.

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