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The Barrens (Blu-ray + DVD)

3.4 out of 5 stars 67 customer reviews

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(Oct 09, 2012)
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Editorial Reviews

It's known as the Jersey Devil, the winged beast spawned 400 years ago by Satan himself. Some say this creature still inhabits the dense pine forests of southern New Jersey, where Richard Vineyard (Stephen Moyer, ''True Blood'') takes his family for a rustic weekend camping trip. As the Vineyard family ventures further into the woods in search of the perfect campsite, Richard teeters on the edge of sanity. And it seems that the blood-crazed demon called The Jersey Devil may no longer be just a myth. Mia Kirshner (''The Vampire Diaries,'' ''The L Word''), Erik Knudsen (SAW II, SCREAM 4) and Allie MacDonald (HOUSE AT THE END OF THE STREET) co-star in this twisted chiller from writer/director Darren Lynn Bousman (SAW II-IV) about a new kind of horror that lives -- and kills -- in a place called THE BARRENS.

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Stephen Moyer, Mia Kirshner, Erik Knudsen, Allie MacDonald, Shawn Ashmore
  • Directors: Darren Lynn Bousman
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Blu-ray, Color, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: Spanish, English
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region A/1 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.77:1
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: ANCHOR BAY
  • DVD Release Date: October 9, 2012
  • Run Time: 97 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B008NNY8UE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,849 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: 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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Format: Blu-ray
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.
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Format: Blu-ray
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.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
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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