Movie News & Reviews

Big Awful Friday: 'Trailer Park' gory good time

People complain about formulas for being rote and boring, but I say they're a good thing. If we didn't have the quadratic formula, how the hell would we solve whatever it is that thing solves? We'd still be hitting each other with sticks here.

Entire subgenres can subsist for decades off of one simple set of rules. Take 2008's slasher flick Trailer Park of Terror, a direct-to-video release that at least gets solid mileage out of its formulaic slaughter of good-looking youngsters one by one.

Years ago, Nichole Hiltz's boyfriend was murdered by her trailer-dwelling neighbors, spurring her to massacre them all, then herself. But when a bus of church camp kids gets stranded at the trailer park, they discover Hiltz is still around -- and so are her wrathful victims.

Hiltz's original killing spree is aided by a roadside stranger with a potent shotgun and a pickup full of magic snakes. But Trailer Park of Terror isn't as interested in its vague supernatural backstory so much as Hiltz's tormented upbringing. With about a quarter of its run time dedicated to her past, the movie comes off like Trailer Park Boys meets House of 1000 Corpses.

When the kids show up at Hiltz's trailer, she launches into story hour. These aren't kid-kids, either. They're Hollywood kids, meaning 17-year-old characters played by 30-year-olds. A terribly weak excuse to drop some character background, it's indicative of most of the script. Worse yet, the kids do almost nothing to fight back against their demonic trailer trash attackers. Which is a pretty realistic response, come to think of it, but not all that fun to root for.

Considering its budget, the makeup and effects in Trailer Park of Terror are pretty awesome, which is important for a gory horror flick. There are a few moments of genuine wit, as when Hiltz's mother laments, "I wish I knew who your daddy was -- your eyes are so beautiful."

And the villains are a weirdly successful paradox of creepy, cheesy, original stereotypes. Fans of bloody B-horror should give it a go.

* Contact Ed Robertson at edwrobertson@gmail.com.

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