Darren Lynn Bousman’s tale of insanity and New Jersey comes to a head in The Barrens.
Directed by: Darren Lynn Bousman
Stars: Stephen Moyer and Mia Kirshner
The subject and myth of the Jersey Devil has been around for a few centuries. Just as old has been the stories and self made exaggerations to said myth. The film delves into the story a bit but has a bit more depth than just a spooky “satan’s child” angle. Don’t get me wrong, The Jersey Devil is almost as big a character as the family in the film.
Richard Vineyard (Stephen Moyer) is taking his family on a camping trip in order to scatter his father’s ashes on a lake in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey, a place where Richard and his father had many good memories and fishing trips. His wife Cynthia (Mia Kirshner) and their two children (Allie MacDonald and Peter DaCuhna) both don’t want to take the trip for various reasons, so from the get go, things are strained in this family and this adds some real life tension that any parent can relate too. Once in the woods things go from bad to worse and Richard slowly starts slipping into delusional, sometimes violent, fits. During all of this, there seems to be a malevolent force in the woods that only Richard can see.
Moyer and Kirshner play excellent roles and are one hundred percent believable when they argue. Moyer really carries the film but his supporting cast do more to enhance the film as a whole, then bring the film down to a lower rank. Peter Dachuna who plays Richard and Mia’s young son Danny, is so riveting in his role and could be even called an “old soul” by some.
Now on for the Drive-In Totals.
4 Dead Bodies
2 Dead Deers
And an ending that makes you go “Oh shit!”
I really enjoyed The Barrens and Anchor Bay’s presentation of it was well delivered. The colors were dark when they needed to be and vibrate when warranted. The grain of the film is just right and draws you in when flash backs are used. On the audio side, this 5.1 track is really aggressive and has teeth. The wonderful score really shines, but never over powers the dialogue or sound effects. This to me is very important.
Director Darren Lynn Bousman is making a name for himself more and more and The Barrens cements him in the horror master league for me.The Barrens shows yet again that he’s worth paying attention to, as the movie is a tense drama about trust and the family bonds on the edge of destruction.
The Barrens takes you for a trip every scene and makes you guess at every turn. If you live near the Pine Barrens of New Jersey…you might wanna just keep driving.
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