As a horror fan I'm looking for a really good scare and to be entertained. Sometimes while watching a movie you can figure it all out quickly, which often creates a feeling of disappointment, however, I liked how they went about the ending of this movie. In all honesty, I really didn't expect it to be what it was.
Once in a while I discover an impressive indy horror treat ("Session 9" was such an experience). Watching "Deadwood Park" unfold, I was impressed with much of the story and particularly with the striking and confident cinematography ... and felt that maybe I was in for a pleasant surprise again. This movie seemed almost like a nod to some of the quality ghost story movies like "The Changeling". I was pulled in, enjoying the atmosphere.
But in the final act (the revelation of the mystery), the film disappointed me. I had been guided down a pleasantly sinister path only to find a muddled conclusion in which the movie seemed to not really know just what it wanted to be. It changed. The whole mood and tone of the story changed.
Mind you, this was an effective exercise in horror, for the most part, for a low budget movie. It built its tension carefully and languidly. And I'm a sucker for a decrepit, abandoned carnival. But because of the baffling climax of the movie, I can't say that this movie lived up to some of the glowing reviews and feedback. I want potential viewers to know that this may not be a total gem.
I have to say this is one of the best indie horror movies that I've seen in a long time. While the acting from some of the extras was wooden at times, William Clifton did a great job in the leading role. The story was engaging and literally had me on the edge of my seat wanting to know what came next. Director Eric Stanze has done some stunning cinematography work here; the old house, the church, and the amusement park are haunting. For that matter everything about the town of Eidolon Crossing is downright eerie. One thing that struck me as very effective was the use of sound -- you could hear the smallest titter across a wooden floor, the slightest creak of the old house settling into the earth. There were some genuinely scary moments in this film. Thick with atmosphere and suspense, DEADWOOD PARK is an intelligent creepfest sure to please the most hardened horror fan. It was a real pleasure to watch this movie. Kudos to the crew at Wicked Pixel. Well done.
If you are a serious fan of intelligent scary movies, you frequently find yourself wading through luke-warm to unbelievably bad dreck, looking for the real gems in the genre.
*This* is the kind of movie you're hoping for.
_Deadwood Park_ is a great example of personal passion, creativity, cinematic technique and a strong story, completely overcoming the lack of a big budget. It's thrilling to watch a classic style pulled off with this much heart and soul. Entertaining and engrossing.
On a micro-budget, the filmmakers have built a slow-burn, atmospheric ghost story with some truly harrowing suspense and chills. Making use of great use of locations, this movie is beautifully shot and deliberately paced. It takes its time, but delivers some remarkable and evocative sequences - from a gas-lamp search of an abandoned second floor, to a harrowing WWII battle flashback (filmed with local re-enactors). A moody ambient score and effective sound-design give these scenes exactly the bite they need, and near-brilliant use of composition.
All of this would be for nothing without a story worth telling, and this is a place too many indies fall down on. But not here. I can't tell you how delightful it is to be halfway through a movie and _not_ have a clue where it is going. And it turned out that even my suspicions didn't guess the half of it. There is a big story being told here. A smart, literate, novel-like structure full of striking details and themes. Historical flashbacks and visual devices that I found very rewarding. While some of the dialogue is un-remarkable, it's not annoying and seems to support the common-place feeling of the place and the characters.
The only thing I felt detracted were a few performances. The wordless suspense scenes are completely effective, but I found a couple of the actors to be unconvincing in scenes involving dialogue. I know they were going for very low-key, naturalistic performances, but IMHO the movie would have benefitted from stronger screen presence.
Still, this is terrific work, an inspiring movie for Indie-filmmakers, and *essential* viewing if you're a fan of old-style ghost stories in a Bava-esque vein. I strongly recommend _Deadwood Park_.
*Deadwood Park* by Wicked Pixel Cinema starts off slow, and ramps up into an intriguing story keeping the viewer wondering what is coming next. The slow start is effective in building up the suspense of the story. The overall plot is excellent for a horror film, and the use of flashbacks to explain the story was used perfectly. A lot of horror films have a tendency of just trying to gross out the viewer; *Deadwood Park* puts itself away from this stereotype.
The viewer is put on edge with great presentation, cinematography, and story telling while trying to figure out the mystery of what happened at Eidolon Crossing in the past, and how this links to what is happening in the present.
The picture quality is great and in no way difficult to watch. The setting locations on their own are extremely creepy, and when you add in a few freaky looking children, you get a frightening picture to say the least. I thought the score (especially the opening credits) was excellent and really set the mood early. Some of the interaction acting / dialogue was a bit tough in some parts, but in no way took away from the film. Wolfe's portrayal of Reverend Callahan was excellent and very believable.
The last few flashbacks (I don't want to spoil anything so I am being vague) do an excellent job of answering the viewers' questions while not getting too far away from the action that has been building up.
If you are looking for an enjoyable horror movie, that stays true to the classic approach of scary and creepy being better than bloody and gory, *Deadwood Park* is a must see.