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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Barrens delivers
Darren Lynn Bousman has proved to be a quite prolific director, so much so that I was unaware that he was even making The Barrens, let alone it getting a Blu-ray release. He first came to our attention with a triple-whammy of Saw films, all of which I thoroughly enjoy, and then came the rather wonderful Repo: The Genetic Opera. After this it goes a bit ass about tit, with...
Published 23 months ago by Jude D. Felton

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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray Review: "The Barrens"
I hate when I put a movie in I was excited to see and it fails to meet my expectations. That's exactly how I felt when the credits rolled on Darren Lynn Bousman's "The Barrens." This is the perfect example of a film whose beginning and end shine but the middle just drags on for too long. After seeing what Bousman did with "Mother's Day," I really expected more from his...
Published 24 months ago by ERSInk . com


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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Barrens delivers, October 14, 2012
Darren Lynn Bousman has proved to be a quite prolific director, so much so that I was unaware that he was even making The Barrens, let alone it getting a Blu-ray release. He first came to our attention with a triple-whammy of Saw films, all of which I thoroughly enjoy, and then came the rather wonderful Repo: The Genetic Opera. After this it goes a bit ass about tit, with 11-11-11 coming out on DVD around about the same time as his Mother's Day reboot hit shiny. 11-11-11 being a misfire for the most part, although not terrible, and the long delayed Mother's Day being a wonderfully brutal home invasion flick. Now, we have The Barrens dropping on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack, as I wait quietly for The Devil's Carnival to get a wide release. For those that have lost count, that's 9 films in 7 years. Told you he was prolific.
So, after all that rambling, I shall now focus on the case at hand; that being The Barrens. Set in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, but actually filmed in Canada, The Barrens follows the Vineyard family as they head out into the titular Barrens, so that Michael (the father and husband) can scatter the ashes of his deceased father in the area that they used to camp in.
Along the way we get to learn a little about the myth of the Jersey Devil, including a short, sharp and sweet prologue piece, and the usual trials and tribulations of a slightly dysfunctional family. The campsite that they head to is nothing like Michael remembers it to be, instead it is overrun and one of the kids succeeds in scaring the bejeezus out of Michael's son, Danny, with his tale of the Jersey Devil.
As the film progresses we, as the viewer, are asked whether this is a film about a man, Michael, hunted by the Jersey Devil, or a man that is on the brink of a mental breakdown as he suffers from an initially unknown ailment. All will be revealed of course, and the film doesn't always go where you think it will.
I can honestly say that I had no idea what to expect from this film. I thought Mother's Day was excellent, but 11-11-11 had me worried, so where would it fall in Bousman's quality of output? Well, I can safely say that it falls into his better movies. It isn't without fault; you will find yourself questioning many of the characters actions, of that I can assure you, but Stephen Moyer, as Michael, puts in a disturbing performance and helps carry the film along in its many directions.
That is also one of the film's flaws; Bousmann has tried to cram a lot of ideas into what should have been a fairly simple plotline. Bear with him though, as this tale is a good one, and as you might expect from Bousman he isn't afraid to throw the claret and guts about, without losing a sense of dread and atmosphere.
The Barrens is a good looking movie, with the woods of Ontario, Canada, being utilized nicely, along with sharp looking cinematography and decent sound effects. I could have done without some hokey music playing from a radio in one abandoned campsite, and Michael gets hit on the head one too many times, but the direction the plot takes is a quite refreshing one.
This release does come complete with an audio commentary from Bousman and his director of photography, Joseph White, but aside from that and one deleted scene, there is nowt else in the extras. I can live with that though as The Barrens is an above average chiller that kept my attention, even when it wasn't firing on all cylinders.
The Barrens is well worth checking out, especially if you are a fan of Bousman's movies, or are just looking for a creepy and entertaining yarn. At the end of the day, The Barrens is a solid and surprising movie.
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19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray Review: "The Barrens", October 9, 2012
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I hate when I put a movie in I was excited to see and it fails to meet my expectations. That's exactly how I felt when the credits rolled on Darren Lynn Bousman's "The Barrens." This is the perfect example of a film whose beginning and end shine but the middle just drags on for too long. After seeing what Bousman did with "Mother's Day," I really expected more from his next outing.

Richard Vineyard (Stephen Moyer) needs a little time off from his busy life and the trappings of modern civilization. He takes his family on a camping trip to the pine forests of New Jersey called the Barrens. His father used to take him there as a boy. Richard wants to honor his father's wishes by scattering his ashes throughout the area. Upon arriving at their campsite, they are bombarded with stories about a creature spawned from Satan named the Jersey Devil. Richard becomes convinced the monster is hunting his family and the other campers down as gutted bodies start turning up.

I have no complaints when it comes to the picture quality of the film. "The Barrens" looks great and the cinematography successfully captures the gloomy and massive expanse of the forest. The creature itself is shot close-up to give us a glimpse of what it looks like but never delivers full body shots until the climax of the film. Obviously a mix of practical and CGI effects were used to capture the actions of the Jersey Devil and it looks realistic no matter what angle it's shot in.

The movie's 5.1 surround sound mix guarantees viewers that all the sudden jerks of the musical score, loud screams, trees rustling, and gunshots are projected all over your home theater. You feel like you're actually in the forest with the Vineyard family. This helps pull the audience into the film and make them feel like they're living it.

The only bonus material we get for "The Barrens" Blu-ray is audio commentary by Writer / Director Darren Lynn Bousman and Director of Photography Joseph White. A deleted scene offers an alternate ending for the movie. Commentary is provided by Bousman in regards to the deleted scene as well. It would have been nice to get a "Making of" featurette which expanded on the special effects used to bring the creature to life.

I wish I could say something more positive about "The Barrens." The performances by the actors in the film are excellent and the filming techniques are striking. However, a redundant mid-section foils any chance the movie has of rising above mediocrity.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Fast-Paced, Entertaining Tnriller, October 24, 2012
This review is from: The Barrens (DVD)
Reviews on this site for this film have been mixed, but personally I enjoyed it. There is nothing groundbreaking about a movie about a family being stuck in the woods, but the tension and conflicts between the characters are well executed, the movie has a brisk pace to it, and generally the story is pretty solid.

The performances by te cast are hit-or-miss, with the dependable Mia Kirshner being one of the bright spots. The film nearly gets sidetracked in the middle by focusing too heavily on the family dynamic, and yes, of course the family members occasionally do irrational things, but that's just the case with these types of movies. I mean, let's face it, if you've purchased or rented a movie about the Jersey Devil, you should be prepared to suspend disbelief a little.

If you're looking for an entertaining film that won't make you think too much, especially if it's just a cheap rental, then this makes for a decent return on your investment. It won't make you yell at the screen too much, but the suspense will keep you focused on the screen until the end, and that's what a thriller like this one is designed to do. "The Barrens" accomplishes that. 3.5 stars.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A very cool idea but like most movies lately the idea is better then the movie. Not awful but also pretty cookie cutter. I say C, October 10, 2012
By 
Tony Heck (Belgrade, MT USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Barrens (DVD)
"The deer, his antlers, it wasn't the fence that tore them off...it was the Leed's Devil...Jersey Devil." Richard (Moyer) is a father who can feel his family slipping away. They don't do anything together anymore so he decides to pack them all up and drive them out to the woods where he went as a kid for a weekend camping trip. When they get there the hear of a missing person. Richard begins to wonder if the stories he heard about the Jersey Devil are true. This is a movie for true horror fans only. The movie is pretty slow and not very original but on the other hand it is a very neat idea. The biggest problem with this is that once again the idea of the movie is better then the movie itself. The idea of the Jersey Devil is something that is made for a horror movie, but to me this one was just to slow and not really scary enough to fully expand on the "legend" of the devil. This movie really just boiled down to a family going crazy in the woods, which has been done over and over. Fans of the "Hunters" or even "Wrong Turn" may like this but to me it was just too slow and un-original to fully enjoy. Overall, another movie that had a really good idea but ended up being a cookie cutter horror movie. I give it a C+.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Major Groaner 0=6 On The Groaner Scale, October 17, 2012
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This review is from: The Barrens (DVD)
I 1st took a look at the cast and thought this might be a good movie to watch. Was I wrong. This has to be the worst movie Next to "Plan 8 From Outer Space" I have ever seen. An abundance of critical overacting along with a "monster" made up of a horses head with glued on wings of some sort for "special effects" made me cringe to the very bitter end (not soon enough). The lead dude suffering from "rabies" should be ashamed of himself to be associated to such a bad grade c movie. The women on this film never quit screaming & overacting in a vain effort to attempt to make this terrible movie worth while watching. At the end when you see the entire family writhing around in spit, blood and various parts of greenery was nausheating to say the very least. Poor story line along with very bad overacting really sent this groaner to where it should never be brought out from again.. Save your $$ and your time and NEVER see this piece of tripe ever.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A passable little thriller, February 23, 2013
By 
Brian (The Twilight Zone) - See all my reviews
I was not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did.

You can ask anybody in New Jersey, and they will probably tell you. The legend of the Jersey Devil, a nightmarish creature that is rumored to live within the dense Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey, has been around for over 400 years. The story of it has, within that time, attained the same level of mysticism that currently surrounds the oft-mentioned folklores of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster.

The most accepted origin of the tale, at least as far the residents of New Jersey are concerned, began with Mother Leeds and reads as follows:

"It was said that Mother Leeds had 13 children and, after giving birth to her 12th child, stated that if she had another, it would be the Devil. In 1735, Mother Leeds was in labor on a stormy night. Gathered around her were her friends. Mother Leeds was supposedly a witch and the child's father was the Devil himself. The child was born normal, but then changed form. It changed from a normal baby to a creature with hooves, a horse's head, bat wings and a forked tail. It growled and screamed, then killed the midwife before flying up the chimney. It circled the villages and headed toward the pines. In 1740 a clergy exorcised the demon for 100 years and it wasn't seen again until 1890."

That, in a nutshell, is the basic setup for "The Barrens," the latest feature film by Director Darren Lynn Bousman. Mr. Bousman, who some horror fans might remember from his contributions to the "Saw" franchise, trades graphic gore and massive body counts for a far more subtle and effectively eerie psychological character study. The screenplay focuses upon a man-(Stephen Moyer from HBO's popular "True Blood" vampire series)-who, within the downward spiral of a full-fledged mental collapse, becomes convinced that he and his family are being stalked while camping in the Pine Barrens by the legendary Jersey Devil.

Moyer, who is using his native British accent here, channels Jack Nicholson from "The Shining" as, little by little, his grasp on reality and his very sanity slowly begins to flake away. Bousman does a uniform job at breaking down the reason for Moyer's decline, so much to the point where you're actually wondering whether anything he's witnessing is the real deal or all in his head. And that, believe it or not, is what really helps sell this movie. It keeps you riveted straight through to the very end.

And, what an ending! The payoff it rewards you with is so worth it in ways I dare not spoil. It was enough of a pleasant surprise to motivate me towards adding "The Barrens" to my ever-blossoming Blu-Ray collection.

As video releases go, the Blu-Ray isn't all bad. The picture quality ranks right up there with the very best. There are no special features to speak of, unfortunately, not even a behind-the-scenes featurette; something I had actually wanted to see. But you do get a deleted scene, an alternate add-on to the existing ending that I personally feel should have been restored, and a running commentary by Bousman, himself.

A rather cool and catchy opening tune by Kevin Welch, too, I must say.

I am and always have been a rabid fan of any and all things horror, and I was very pleased with the way this film played out. To anyone who may, for whatever reason, be on the fence about watching it, I say: go for it! It's a welcome change of pace, especially if you're in the mood for something different.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Urban legend Jersey devil explored in this thriller..., January 6, 2013
This review is from: The Barrens (DVD)
I wouldn't call this a horror movie: more of a thriller, though, it does have some moments. A family goes into the New Jersey Barrens Woods for a weekend camping trip. Something is terrbily wrong with dad, Richard Vineyard. As he leads the family deeper into the forest to locate a more private and perfect camping spot, events beyond and within their control begin to spin out of control. Overall, a well done film that explores the Urban legend of the Jersey Devil. I don't want to spoil it for you, but if you enjoy horror/thriller films, this one may be wrothy for you to see. I didn't think I'd like it: I liked it moer than I thought I would, but not as much as I expected it to be. It does make you wonder what is going on and if Richard is somehow connected to the Jersey Devil.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Predictable, December 26, 2012
By 
J. Drayton (Brisbane QLD Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Barrens (DVD)
Horror movies don't work for me if the characters are unlikeable - and that's the greatest flaw in this movie. The father is grumpy, stubborn and self-centred, the mother/step-mother is unbelievably acquiescent to his paranoid demands and the surly teen-age daughter is ... well, a surly teen-ager. Only the timid little boy in the family struck me as sympathtic.

So immediately I don't feel overly concerned about the fate of the leads. Add to that a clumsy script, cheap looking effects and a plot you've seen many times before, and there's not much to recommend this one.

I wonder if some of the the positive reviews for this are coming from fans of the currently popular television show "True Blood" which features the talented Stephen Moyer. He's a likeable actor and certainly brings something to the role, but it's not enough to make this a success.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IS HE MAD?, November 3, 2012
This review is from: The Barrens (Amazon Instant Video)
Without a doubt this is the best film made about the New Jersey Devil. And just for the record I have seen others and reviewed them on Amazon. Richard (Stephen Moyer) decides to drag his family camping in the Pinelands where his dad would take him camping as a child. Richard plans to scatter his dad's ashes on the trip. His family is not eager about the whole thing.

As the film progresses, we discover, as does his family, that Richard has serious issues. Unfortunately by the time the family realizes what is happening, they are located deep in "Devil" territory.

I liked the scare factor in this film. The story flashback at the campfire was well done. Stephen Moyer played a convincing role as a man becoming....you'll find out. Allie MacDonald plays the moody 17 year old daughter. 5 stars might seem overrated for a film that has a high amount of predictability. In spite of that, the acting, direction, and script were done well, something I would like to see more of in "B" horror films.

Parental Guide: F-bombs, no sex or nudity.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Jersey Idiots, January 27, 2013
This review is from: The Barrens (DVD)
Having lived in southern NJ near the Pine Barrens for many years I can tell you that this movie was very likely not even filmed in the Pine Barrens. If it was it was in section that I have never seen (It was filmed in Toronto!). Since when does the NJ Pine Barrrens have bears and cougars? Where are the dwarf pine trees? Since when does it have mountains? The most dangerous things there are the other campers and tourists. The story makes absolutely no sense at all. The Jersey Devil itself doesn't really appear until the very end of the film and it looks totally fake.It looks like a college kid in a Halloween mask and a fur coat, which it probably is. God forbid that the director waste good money on descent special effects for a grade Z movie. It's never explained why it waits until the very end of the movie to attack the hero and his family since it attacks everyone around them or what the connection is between the father and the Jersey Devil.
Why would he want to return to the very forest with his family where he believes there is a dangerous beast that will kill them all?. If a lot of people suddenly turned up dead in the Pine Barrens wouldn't there be cops everywhere? Of course nobody thinks to call them even when they find dead animals and human bodies. They spend most of the movie suggesting that the husband, who apparently never bathes, shaves or changes his clothes, is going crazy from a rabies infection (He seems pretty wacked out anyway.) and then the movie cops out at the last minute by saying that the Jersey Devil really does exist. The director even stoops to showing Mia Kirshner with less and less clothes on and even a wet t-shirt so all the guys in the audience can get a cheap thrill. This must be the dumbest family in existence. Also, the characters are all cliches, although the mother seems to have some brains, which leads to the question of why she would want to be married to a complete wack job of a husband. Thank God I didn't buy this movie. Stephen Moyer and all the other actors in this movie should be ashamed and the people of southern NJ should be outraged. Someday someone who is a much better director and more knowledgeable may make a good movie about the Jersey Devil(the director from the Saw movie sequels, really?), but this isn't it. If you really must see this movie take it out from your local, public library if they have it or wait until it''s on cable, which shouldn't take long.
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The Barrens
The Barrens by Darren Lynn Bousman (DVD - 2012)
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