Wednesday, 4 January 2017


What better way to kick off 2017 than with a good old-fashioned slasher flick that has been gathering plenty of buzz in recent weeks?
I’d heard plenty of good things about Uncork’d Entertainment’s upcoming movie and I was delighted when the good folks over there were kind enough to offer me a screener link.
But would this be a movie that’s pitch-ure perfect?
Or is it one I’d want to fork-get?
Read on…


Dir: Glenn Douglas Packard
Stars: Brian Raetz, Lindsey Nicole Dresbach, Ryan T. Moore, Celina Beach, Nicole Dambro, Keith Webb, Sheila Marie Leason, Vibhu Raghave, Derek Reynolds, Carol Ludwick, Addisyn Wallace, Rachel Carter, Andrew Dawe-Collins, Daniel Wilkinson

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I’ll try not to spoil too much here but continue at your own risk.

Hunter (Raetz) is a young gay man who has recently come out. He is now travelling across the country to his parents’ remote farmhouse home, hoping to rebuild his relationship with his father, Wayne (Reynolds), who is struggling to cope with the revelation. For moral support (and with the promise of a wild barn dance throw in), Hunter travels with a large group of close friends: cute good girl, Clare (Dresbach), her douche jock boyfriend Matt (Moore), sweet geek Gordon (Raghave), edgy party girls Lenox (Beach) and Flo (Dambro) and loved-up couple Rocky (Webb) and Janelle (Leason).
The group receive a decidedly aloof welcome from Wayne, but a far warmer one from Hunter’s caring mother Ruth (Ludwick) and animal-mad younger sister Jenny (Wallace).    
The night of the party comes and soon personal revelations threaten to destroy friendships forever… but just as the group is reeling, a deranged, fur-mask wearing, fork-handed psychopath (Wilkinson) attacks with unpredictable and terrifying ferocity.
As the bodycount steadily mounts the group face a deadly fight for survival. Who will last until morning?

THE BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): There are few things as exciting when watching indie horror movies as that feeling that you’ve discovered a serious talent who is almost certainly going to go on to make a big splash in the scene. Pitchfork is absolutely packed with such individuals.
Director/co-writer Packard is certainly among these. From the atmospheric and exquisitely shot opening sequence, during which a camera swoops through isolated corn fields to the haunting strains of a breathy voice singing ‘He’s Got Whole World In His Hands’, I sat up and paid attention. The film is a real treat for the eyes, with cinematographer Rey Guttierez ensuring that the movie looks far better than its humble indie roots might lead you to expect.
Sure, it’s shot on digital, as most indies are nowadays, but it looks polished, bright, clear and clean, something that all too many low-budget efforts certainly can’t say.
There’s a nice reason for Hunter and his pals to be heading to the countryside (one which adds a little more character work to proceedings) and shows some wit by Packard and fellow writer/producer Daryll F. Gariglio.
Speaking of Hunter, leading man Raetz is another of those talents on display here from whom I expect to see a great deal in the future. He's a handsome guy, likeable and a decent actor. Here's hoping he sticks with our beloved genre for a little longer.
The same can also be said of the lovely Dresbach. There are plenty of pretty young actresses out there, but few are as endearing and show the ability that she does. She has scream queen written all over her.
I also loved the work of Beach as the bitch you love to hate, Lenox. She exudes a raw sexiness and even though you know you should be hoping to see her head on a platter, you can't help rooting for her. I'm pretty sure a large part of this comes from Beach's considerable charisma. I really can't wait to see more of her.
On a similar note, Moore's asshole jock Matt is another compelling character, and the good-looking actor does a superb job in bringing him to life. He's horrible, but in a very good way, and it's a testament to Moore's talent that he provokes such strong feelings. Elsewhere all the rest of our youngsters range from good to great and none of them really let the side down, even if a couple aren't given quite enough to do.
One of the real surprises of the film was the excellent turn from young Wallace. It's surprising to see such competent, confident and assured work from an actress of her tender years, but she really is quite fantastic. If there's a sequel to this movie (and I think it shows more than enough potential to warrant future instalments) I think it's a pretty safe bet that she'll be playing a part. Here's hoping!
Of course, a slasher movie can be brought to its knees if one key player underperforms — the actor portraying the antagonist. Thankfully, this is not one of those movies. Wilkinson really is quite excellent as the menacing Pitchfork. Sure, he remains largely mute (if you discount indecipherable yelps, growls and shrieks), much like your classic slasher villains, and the role is largely brought to life through physical gestures and movement. However, Pitchfork is something different. Rather than slow, methodical and chillingly calm, Pitchfork is fast, skittish, a feral animal let loose to hunt his helpless prey. Yes, the inexorable approach of a patient, striding slasher is pretty frightening, but it makes a pleasant change to see one prepared to run and bound after his victims.
Wilkinson adds a number of frightening ticks and twitches to his character, and his depraved antics make him seem legitimately out of his mind. With just a couple more movies, Pitchfork could well become the sort of iconic slasher we've not seen since Victor Crowley roared onto screens back in 2006. Bravo Mr Wilkinson!
He's certainly aided by the fact that the character's design is so striking. The effects work on the titular pronged attachment that replaces his left hand is pretty damn great, while Wilkinson's lean, rangy physique helps him stand out from the slasher crowd.
Of course, a decent cast are only as good as the plot they have to work with, and luckily, this is a pretty good tale. The story has some nice twists and turns, there's some decent motivation given to the characters and the story affords us some good set-pieces.
Now, I know a lot of slasher fans want one thing from their movies — blood and gore. There's not too much graphic gore on display, although we do get some very nice bloody moments, but there are also a couple of sustained torture sequences that are seriously intense.
All in all, it's a good movie with some very cool moments and a few well-executed scares. What more could you be looking for?

THE WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): I only have a few qualms with Pitchfork, very few of which acted as a serious hindrance to my enjoyment of the film.
First, I did have a slight issue with the pacing. After an obligatory very early kill scene, I felt the movie became a little derailed by a very lengthy sequence in which we received some character development and a fun but perhaps not entirely necessary barn dance. It's not that these scenes are bad per se, but there are no intertwined moments that continue to cultivate the superb atmosphere of dread fostered early on. Luckily, when the masked maniac does reappear, Packard is quick to reinstate that same creepy atmosphere so any damage is soon reversed.
While I mention that early kill scene, it, along with a couple of others, is one that does feel a little, well, lascivious in the way it depicts the female form. I know there's a long history of titillation in slasher flicks (an argument can even be made that the genre was built on it) but we've come a long way since then and I can't help feeling that a couple of the shots of scantily-clad young ladies were perhaps a little gratuitous.
Speaking of the numerous attractive bodies on display, it pains me to say that a couple of members of the cast didn't quite hit the lofty levels of their co-stars. Nobody was TOO bad, but there were a few who didn't quite deliver the goods as well as the real shining stars in the picture. Thankfully it's nothing that really pulls you out of the movie, so there's no serious harm done.
Finally, while I was a big fan of the Pitchfork design, I do think some viewers may find the 'furry' mask a little goofy. I like what it represents, but perhaps the execution could have been a tiny bit better? Still, this is very much a minor grumble.

THE VERDICT: Pitchfork isn't a perfect slasher movie (then again, what is?) but it's a very good one indeed. It may have its flaws, but there is more than enough good stuff here to warrant checking the movie out when it is released on Friday 13th January — and on that date, how can you NOT want to give a promising new slasher a chance?

It boasts a great cast, a cool villain and it looks great. Expect the team behind this movie to go on to be a part of great things — and should Pitchfork 2 be one of them, count me in!

Pitchfork will be released at cinemas and on demand from next friday. Until then, why not check out the trailer here:

or head on over to the movie's official Facebook page here?
Give it some love while you're there too, I'm sure they'd appreciate it!

If you haven’t already, do please check out and Like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to! Alternatively, follow me on twitter: The House @HickeysHorrors

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.

No comments:

Post a Comment