Jake returns to Eidolon Crossing where he lived when he was younger. It's also where a child murderer killed his brother. But the town is just a shell of what it once was. The popular amusement park Dogwood Park is dead and no one ever moves into town, only out of town. Jake is staying at his parents' old house, which is a wreck now, and starts seeing strange things at night. The dead children seem to be haunting him, so he and a local girl starts investigating if the right guy was ever caught.
NOTE: THERE MIGHT BE A SPOILER OR TWO IN THIS REVIEW! "Deadwood Park" is, from what I've seen so far, Eric Stanze's best movie. I believe I have only "Ratline", "Chine White Serpentine" and his segments in the two "The Severed Head Network" anthologies. The only one I think I'll ever check out of those is "Ratline". So for now I will say that this is his best film. Does that automatically mean it's a good movie? Of course not, but it's not pure crap this time around. Maybe Eric Stanze have learned from past mistakes (doubt it since he has been hailed for many of his films, for whatever reason) or maybe it was just this story that worked better.
It's a classic supernatural story involving child murders. Jakes returns to his home town where he once lost his twin brother to a murderer that was never caught. He murdered a whole lot of kids but the guy they caught was apparently not the right guy. While Jake is staying there, in his parents' old house, he decides to investigate who the killer actually could be. He gets especially invested when strange things start happening at night in the house. And not to mention he manages to get tight with a local girl, and she's just as interested as he is!
We've seen most of it before, sure, but that doesn't make it bad. "Deadwood Park" is actually an okay movie a lot of the time, but not often enough to leave a good impression on me and here's why. PLEASE NOTE: SPOILERS AHEAD! I have to spoil something to go into my biggest dislike and like.
The first dislike is that every time we see those dead kids haunting him, it's fucking silly. They do ridiculous movements (mostly due to the editing) in attempts to make a typical cool, scary effect (done better in films like "Jacob's Ladder"). And whenever the film wants to be scary it has a soundtrack that makes sure we never forget that it is supposed to be scary - one filled with ooh-aahs. Yeah, thanks for reminding me when I should be scared! I wouldn't have known otherwise. Sadly it didn't work, even with your mustic! The film has several flashbacks to different times (40's and 70's especially, if I remember correct) which is actually kinda interesting but are the necessity that the filmmakers seemed to believe? Definitely not. Some of them we didn't need at all. The one that seemed important to the story fell flat because it just gave us more questions. It's when we see what happened to a person back in WWII. You see, this person is the child murderer and we finally find out through the local cop that there was something off when they caught him. They did catch and kill him but kept it a secret because of what happened - he seemed invincible. They finally had to bury him under a chapel. Well, here's the explanation to why he couldn't die: back in WWII he was attacked by a demon. Alright, makes sense. But they never tell us anything about the motherfucking demon! Basicly what they say is "This guy was attacked by a demon in WWII and now he is possessed" and that's all there is to it. In the flashback we get to see the demon too, and it's actually great looking. But of course they had to fuck it up by never going further into that, which is fucking ridiculous. It leaves a lot of fucking question unanswered! When the main focus of the film is to explain a mystery, don't leave it as a bigger mystery than when you started! Honestly, I wish that flashback was the movie, not just a flashback. It was more exiting than the rest of the film and the demon was cool. This was a solid way for Eric Stanze to ruin any chance of making the ending good.
"Deadwood Park" still managed to be "meh" instead of "crap" and that's a big step for Eric Stanze. Some parts were good, some parts were bad, and plenty were somewhere in the middle. The biggest turn-off was the ending and that's ultimately what upset me the most - the other flaws I could ignore for the time being, but there's only so much bullshit I can take. Overall, a step up for Eric Stanze, but still pretty low!