Picture this if you will. You are Tom, a college jock and although you look like you’re in your late 30’s you act like you’re 3 years old. You have a small group of friends both male and female who somehow represent all major social types, attitudes and backgrounds.
In between your simple studies in ‘whatever the heck’ degree you are doing, you spend your time partaking in a multitude of illegal substances, morally dubious sexual relations and enjoying extreme sports.
One day your best friend asks you if you want to go away with him for a holiday back to his home town. This is the same home town him and his sister fled from as kids after a majorly traumatic disturbing event happened to them which left his sister completely emotional unhinged – You remember, the one neither of them will ever talk about.
“Of course I’ll come” you say, “sound’s fun!”
So you pack the large motor vehicle you’re traveling across the country in with necessities such as weed, condoms, alcohol and extreme sports equipment throwing out non essential items such as phone charges, first aid kits and maps heading out with the gang to the middle of nowhere.
Fast forward one hellish week, and you are dead in the desert after being chased by a mad dog, shot by your own best friend and hunted by a homicidal hick who eventually eviscerates you.
Although this may be the worst holiday ever for Tom, he most definitely deserves it because he is an idiot. And although – fellow reader – you are not Tom, and more importantly you are most defiantly not an idiot, if you’re unlucky enough to be forced to watch Red Canyon you’ll feel, like me, nearly as stupid as him for wasting your time.
Red Canyon, which is direfully directed by first timer Giovanni Rodriguez (the scenic artist for such classics as The Smurfs and Confessions of a Shopaholic) is low on originality and with its awful story line, boring action and lack of frights is also low on everything else as well.
The plot or what little there is of it feels like it was pieced together from a hundred other horrors including The Hill’s Have Eyes, Wrong Turn and every other movie set in the American Hinterlands with a backwards psychopath in it all of which are more scary than this.
Using documentary style shots filmed with a HD camera, the movie looks a lot cheaper than it actually is and its attempts to shock and scare constantly fail due to the bad direction and editing.
All of this is especially unfortunate for the cast who try their best with what they have, attempting to emote and act through the clichéd characters that they are given. Special mention go to Smallville’s Justin Hartley who is somehow extremely entertaining as Tom the aforementioned dirt bike riding disembowelled jock and The Walking Dead’s Norman Reedus who should fire his agent for getting him this job.
The central siblings Regina and Devon, responsible not only for the vile vacation but for the perpetual flashbacks which are intended to intrigue but only annoy, are played by Christine Lakin and Tim Draxl who also intend to be likable victims with a dark past but end up grating on the audience who will spend most of the time wondering why they haven’t both been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and why anyone would ever agree to go on holiday with them.
Red Canyon is a Hicksploitation horror as predictable as it is pointless, which fails to instil any fear or interest in the audience up until its gratuitously grim and upsetting ending. It is meant to surprise but just serves you up an even nastier taste in your mouth than the rest of the film.
The one star is for Tom and Justin Hartley’s performance because thankfully there is one lesson for us all in Tom’s tragic tale; if anyone offers you a trip to Red Canyon just say no.