Belief is quite a private thing, and if it’s not then you’re either one of those Stepford families that like to parade themselves around on a Sunday in the A.M when I’m at my most hungover, just to let me know that they’re right, I’m wrong and there’s a special place in Hell reserved for me, someone who shows that they love God the most by strapping a bomb to their bits and planning a holy disco inferno, or that old guy who wanders us up and down the high street warning of the impending apocalypse – we all know that if the end doesn’t involve me being allowed to shoot brain hungry zombies, then I’m having nothing to do with it.
My point being that if you’re the sort that wants the world and his civil partner to know that you’ve found a belief system (or system of non belief) that gives you the warm fuzzies without being prompted, then chances are you’re a zealot and nobody likes you (apart from the other zealots, providing their zeal is directed toward the same deity because otherwise, well two extremists with differing views never seem to make a right do they?). I mean if you’re so secure in your beliefs, why do you care if everyone else thinks your Divine inspiration is a douche?
Whatever you believe in, one things for sure, religion and horror go together like drunk girls and unexplained crying fits, and whether or not you’re a ‘Go God!’ or ‘Science Rules’(and you’re never going to be the cool kid carrying either of these signs in reality) chances are that if you’re a horror fan, you’ll own at least a few gore fests with a spiritual slant be it Satanic cults (Rosemary’s Baby) or fallen emissaries of a Christian god (Legion).
Clark and Summer (now there are two names just wholesome enough to choke upon) are a young pregnant couple driving through the desert on their way to visit family when they get into a car accident. With no choice but to walk through the dust and heat to the next town, which unbeknownst to them has been abandoned for years, they drag themselves five miles through the deserted landscape, worrying about the fate of their unborn child. Salvation appears to arrive in form of a mysterious and poetic cowboy who seems to know a lot about the pair and their perfect marriage, but events choose the sinister turn off on the highway, because this is a horror movie after all.
This is without doubt one of the best indie horrors I’ve seen in a very long time, the acting is outstanding (particulary Andrew Howard who plays the enigmatic Joseph with a touch of the Harrelson about him, and I mean that as a compliment!) , and the story line is neither sugary sweet or preachy, which can be one of the flaws of the subject matter (Good always wins -Yey! Is a bit of a tired concept these days in the horror genre.), though Blood River’s interesting take on morality and subtle undercurrents, really managed to strike a chord with a jaded Gore Whore such as myself.
There’s no trail of severed limbs and predictable deaths to follow, as the film relies mainly on script and performance to create an intense and visually impressive horror, that at no point shows the strain of a low budget and little known acting talent, so if you’re on the lookout for horror/thriller heaven with a supernatural twist then look no further than the cowboy with an interesting take on his bible.