It's 1994 and a group of friends head out for a road trip from New Hampshire and up to Canada... or so they planned. They head through a location where some gruesome things occurred not long ago when they meet some peculiar people. And these people have no intentions of letting them go on with their journey...
I'm sure you recognize this title from the "Most Anticipated" list we had on a the site a while back - it was in the middle of that list for a long time. I found out about this movie because of our good friend Michael Todd Schneider, as he acted and worked with FX in this movie. Needless to say, I was interested, but even more so the more I heard about it, and the more photos I saw. But it's hard to expect what "Slew Hampshire" is offering. It might seem familiar, and many pieces of it are, but it's still really far away.
The movie sets the mood as a comedy of a group of friends going to take a legendary trip from New Hampshire to Canada for some wild fun. They stop by their old friend Bro, a guy who used to be quite the sports guy, but was left with a injured, deformed hand after an accident, to get him to join them. After some convincing they're on their way. But not without a stop at a gas station, where they find out about a great strip joint. Continuing with their trip, they soon find themself in the middle of the woods when a cop stops them - an incident which requires their car to be towed. But our gang won't be leaving this place any time soon. This little incident is just the beginning of something huge - a war between races, involving killing, raping, feeding and breeding.
"Slew Hampshire" took me by surprise. It's easy to think you know what it is, but it rarely stops at one place. Is it backwoods horror? Creature feature? Road trip movie? Comedy? Hell, "Slew Hampshire" might be one of few times where I experience an equal amount of shlock and philosophy in the same movie. We're talking about a movie that contains gay rape, mind you. Yes, you can laugh at "Slew Hampshire" because it's very obviously using comedy to lure you in. And there is enough comedy in there to keep you smiling, yet it can get extremely dark, violent and... Darwinian. And damn it, it does really well.
I like that this movie is more than just "that". "That" being whatever you have seen before. It's very familiar because it cleverly uses things you have seen before, but always keeps you on the edge. You're thrown from a road trip into a cold blooded war (or game, if you will) where you will be meeting enough characters and races to keep you busy counting. It doesn't stop to explain to its audience, but like the characters here we eventually have to fight to survive (understand). The movie is a grisly trip - one to experience.
There are certain things I would have wanted to see more of in the movie, but the movie still somehow manages to be 103 minutes long. A lot was squeezed into this runtime, and it makes it rather unique. Personally, I wouldn't have minded a slightly different priority at some parts - maybe a few minutes less in the beginning in exchange for a few more towards the end.
The cinematography is excellent for the most part, and looked great on blu-ray. I think the locations used were spot on and they knew exactly how to spice it up with some interesting - nearly experimental - effects and filters here and there. That said, a few shots (one car scene in particular) didn't look very good next to the rest of the movie - and actually distracted a bit. It's a short scene, but it's basically lighted weird and the use of greenscreen became very obvious. It's in the nature of a reviewer to be picky, eh? It doesn't drag down the overall experience because it's quickly forgotten about, luckily.
Most of the effects here are great, and two of the people behind that are very familiar to us here - Michael Todd Schneider and magGot Films family member Eric James. With the addition of Nate Millspaugh, who I'm not familiar with. They're gnarly, graphic and in your face. I wouldn't necessarily call it a gory movie but considering how much is jammed into it, it's definitely enough to please. And boy, it makes me realize just how well Michael Todd Schneider fits into any role that is fucking wild and crazy.
My intention was to leave a lot to imagination with this review, so I hope it worked. It's a unique movie that you won't feel unfamiliar with, and that's just one of its many tricks. "Slew Hampshire" actually requires you to think about it after its done, and how often does that happen with movies that essentially show themselves to be shlock horror? This is shlock, exploitation, creature feature, teen comedy and Darwinism, all trapped in the middle of the woods. So basically - fun, a little confusing and reeks of filth.