Crime, Drama, Horror, Slasher

Hayride (2012)

0 Comments 06 May 2013

Hayride coverStudio: Midnight Releasing
Theatrical Release: October 14, 2012 (limited)
DVD Release: May 7, 2013
Director: Terron R. Parsons
Not Rated

Review by Richard Rey

Mostly paying homage to its horror predecessors, Hayride is a low budget slasher flick whose kills don’t sync properly with its fine-tuned score. Director Terron R. Parsons is well aware of the cliché nature of his Southern fried tale; so much so that he takes the time to spell it out in wink-wink-nudge-nudge fashion in a diner scene early on: “You have to keep it simple; you, know, here’s the killer, here’s how he started killing, here’s who he’s gonna kill. Simpler is scarier. People don’t come to these things to learn some lesson in life or hear a compelling story. They come to be scared.” Regrettably, Parson’s KickStarter-funded bloodthirsty brain baby is none of these things… except simple. Simple both in its rinse, lather, repeat plot and its lackluster cinem-antics. With the exception of the opening credits, this Hayride is likely to be the bumpiest and most painful you’ll experience all year.

Steven (Jeremy D. Ivy) and his girlfriend Amanda (Sherri Eakin) head down to southern Alabama for Halloween to participate in the annual Hayride held by Steven’s kooky uncle Morgan (Richard Tyson, the most convincing thespian of the cast) and daft cousin Corey (Jeremy Sande). Surrounding the event is the legend of Pitchfork: a demented psycho-killer trying to avenge the loss of his runaway daughter by viciously hacking and impaling. Lucky for us this myth has just turned reality in the form of a deranged murderer on the run. A few twists and turns ensue in this Texas Chainsaw knockoff that doesn’t quite achieve what it sets out to do.

Tying the word “horror” to the film is a bit misleading considering the post-production result is an attempt to have us actually care for the dead teenage characters. Much attention is given to moments; melodramatic, ham-fistedly scripted moments between bright-smiling Steven and his dark-haired love interest. Harnessing his efforts towards this other, less conventional cause, Parsons digresses and winds up overlooking the actual kills themselves, filtering out just about every drop of suspense and energy the picture could’ve had. It makes you realize just how challenging shooting heavy action sequences can be, especially within the framework of a genre that doesn’t (or at least hasn’t) allow for the mixing of bloody entrails and character arc. To make matters worse, the quality soundtrack is juxtaposed by poor sound editing and sound mixing, distracting the audience and affectively pulling them out of the world of the film.

Parson’s does manage to showcase his talent of directing crime scenes; perhaps his future endeavors will take him to Manhattan Beach. Only time will tell. Either way Parsons is to be commended for his efforts in introducing the element of true character development to the horror genre. But, as a whole, what we have here is an odd blend of slasher, drama, and crime that doesn’t result in anything more than discordant cinematic pitches set to self-aware overacting. Parson’s will find his voice and style, he just hasn’t found it here.

The DVD which releases May 7th, 2013, features audio commentary by Parsons and lead actor Jeremy Ivy, cast audition clips, and a short time out with the director. Additionally, a very neat Kickstarter featurette offers a fairly in-depth look into the projects beginnings and processes which will interest the likes of filmmakers.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆


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