Berkshire County (2015)

berkshire county (2015) new posterWelcome to day 12 of my #31DaysOfHorror, and I hope the month has been a fun one for you. Please share the movies you’ve been watching (good or bad) with me in the comments or on Instagram. Anyways, let’s get to it shall we? This is Berkshire County.

Kylie Winters, a bullied and self-loathing teen, reluctantly agrees to babysit at an isolated country mansion on Halloween night. When a small boy in a pig mask appears at the door trick-or-treating, Kylie’s night transforms into a horrifying and violent cat-and-mouse game. She must go beyond what she ever thought possible if she and the children are to survive the night.

Initially I was prepared to overlook as another generic slasher, but I noticed something that you don’t see too often in slasher movies, or even horror movies these days, a female director. This one was directed by Audrey Cummings, in her first feature film effort after a number of shorts under her belt. I’m always enthusiastic for movies that break up the old boys club that horror tends to be (hence my excitement for the upcoming XX anthology), so I figured I would give this one a try. I also remember seeing a poster for the movie up at my local movie theater, which was a surprise as it’s not a particularly big town, and smaller horror films don’t come often. So, with a renewed enthusiasm and my usual cautious skepticism I jumped on in to what ultimately turned out to be a watchable but forgettable slasher movie.

The movie starts with our main character, played pretty well by Alysa King, going down on a guy at a party and having a video of the event go around her school and lead to scorn from her classmates and, bizarrely, her mother. She spends the first 10 or 15 minutes of the movie being sexualized in kind of a strange way, starting with the party blowjob and when she gets home after discovering the video is out and everyone has seen it, she undresses to get into the shower, and that scene is punctuated by her bra being thrown on the ground from off camera which felt a bit awkward and unnecessary. That said, the story then becomes a “trapped in a house by murderers” movie when she goes to a pair of kids who live in some kind of weird castle-house.

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The kids actors are one of the biggest detriments to the movie honestly, the young boy actor (who is way to old to be talking like this) speaks in a really infuriating “baby voice” that was jarring and horrible. The young girl is bland and  both kind of felt like someone on the production wanted their kids to be in the movie. Alysa King is fine in her role, her dialogue seems pretty clunky from time to time, including when she has a forced conversation about how useless she is with a 911 operator. Aaron Chartrand plays Marcus, the guy she fellates at the start of the movie, and he has a kind of hilarious story line, including having zero awareness of anything except for himself.

A lot of time is spent on the cat-and-mouse elements of this game, and as a result it has very little body count. There is a kind of great moment where King is crying to the child of one of the murderers (all of them wearing pig masks) and the kid responds by stabbing her in the stomach. King has a pretty standard arc for her character, she is beaten down and defeated in the beginning and comes to find her strength and value and fight back for her own survival. It’s effective enough, even if it feels a bit clunky from start to finish in different areas.

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All in all, you’ll do much worse when it comes to smaller slasher movies, but this one won’t likely be making any “best of the year” lists either. The masks are effectively creepy, and the movie has a couple of fun kills in it. I’m not going to give it a strong recommend, but if you come across it then, hey, you’ve probably seen everything else. Plus, if you’re looking for more Canadian horror, well, this is one.

RATING: ***

 

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