It will shock readers of our wicked and wonderful website to discover that there are actually people out there who don’t like horror. I know, it’s hard to believe but its true. For these poor, unenlightened, misguided, film fools horror is quite literally horrible to them and for that reason alone they do not watch it.
With the rise of torture porn, the relaxation on ratings and content in mainstream cinema, plus the ever evolving, unfiltered internet spewing forth real life images – uncensored into our hand-held devices daily – challenging our morals and minds, it is no wonder that horror films are forced to push the boundaries to provoke a reaction.
Rogue River is one of those films. Starting in a seemingly simple, innocent way we are introduced to Mara (Michelle Page) scattering her recently deceased fathers ashes in Oregon’s titular Rogue River.
On returning to her car she finds she can’t get it to start, but luckily for her, a friendly guy called Jon is on hand to help (played by horror stalwart Bill Moseley from Devil’s Rejects, Army of Darkness and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2). Offering her a ride, he insists he’ll take Mara back to his home to meet his wife Lea (The Mothman Prophecies Lucinda Jenney), to which she reluctantly agrees.
Jon and Lea are very obviously not what they seem. Pretty soon Mara finds herself their captive, forced to suffer through DIY home surgery, boiling hot water torture and much much worse as the psychotic couple act out their sick fantasy upon her… And from here on you can pretty much work out the rest.
There is no denying Rogue River is most definitely horrible. But sadly it is also horribly boring, horribly predictable and a horrible waste of anyones time to watch.
The huge problem with Rogue River is that it wants to shock its audience so badly, it almost forgets to add in important filmic elements such as character development, plot and any kind of originality. From the first moment you see Moseley you know what’s going to happen and all tension and anticipation is completely lost.
Rookie director Jourdan McClure and writers Kevin Haskin and Ryan Finnerty piece together motifs, moments, clichés and character traits seen in a million other much better movies. And although the trio of actors themselves do a reasonably good job they have so little to work with their efforts go unnoticed.
Even the messed up set pieces, which gradually escalate up and up in supposed ‘shock factor’ fail to frighten. As we come the final ‘reveal’ you will either have given up caring or find the whole thing so ridiculous, you’ll be laughing.
In the end, the baddies are punished and the good girl gets away. And all you’ll be left with is a bad taste in your mouth, having wasted a good hour and half of your life on a horror film that was trying way too hard to gain notoriety and not trying in any way to engage and enthrall its audience.
And what about those people that hate horror?
Well, Rogue River is exactly the sort of film they hold up high in an attempt to vilify and deride the genre we all love so dearly. And in that way, the film makers of Rogue River have succeeded.
However to any true horror fan, Rogue River gives horror a bad name. Not because it’s so shocking and controversial, but simply because it’s a terrible film.