Friday, May 04, 2012

Madison County's Tourist Attraction is Murder and Mayhem: A Movie Review

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*full disclosure: a DVD screener of this film was provided by Image Entertainment.

Director/writer: Eric England.

Cast: Ace Marrero, Katie Stegeman, Natalie Scheetz, Nick Principe, Matt Mercer, Colley Bailey and Joanna Sotomura.

Madison County is a slasher film soon to be released by Image Entertainment (May 8th). The film follows a group of friends into a small town where a possible thesis, involving a serial killer, awaits James (Colley Bailey) and his four friends. That serial killer is still active and James must fight off a 6' plus killer, played by Nick Principe. The story from Eric England is only partially fleshed out, but sometimes having unanswered questions creates a better experience for viewers. Overall, Madison County was a fun time spent with believable characters and their last moments.

This is definitely a horror film and the sub-genre would be one of the slasher. Horror elements include certain tropes. Five friends heading out into the woods is a staple for the horror genre; beware of the woods! There is also a serial killer lurking about and there is plenty of gore. Elements of the slasher sub-genre includes plenty of sharp instruments. There are axes, knives and, strangely, shovels. All of these tools and a few more get used on the killer and the characters. As well, the killer is masked and nubile characters are the victims. All of these characteristics define the film and its genres.

These elements also keep the film's story tense. Actually writing out the story and summary, Madison County's script is sparse. Yet, the film is intriguing by not filling in all of the blanks. One of those blank spots involves the antagonist, Damien. His reason for killing is not explained. His murderous brethren also create questions. Some more eye brow raising involves the characters. Most characters find themselves face to face with Damien to tragic effect. But, some escape. What happened to these characters? And why are the townsfolk complicit in Damien's killings?

These questions made this film fan scratch his head and England's writing style focuses on tone, while not shying away from slasher cliches. The tone is one of tension. Characters are often on the run from Damien with the killer often only one step away from another murder. England is also efficient in his writing. Every scene has a purpose: to develop characters or to add to Damien's history. The breadth makes the film short and the conclusion confusing. But, the film is still enjoyable to watch.

Madison County will release on DVD May 8th and this reviewer would recommend that horror fans seek out this title. Slasher film fans will especially like this outing, with gorehounds likely to be slightly disappointed. There are many scenes of brutality; yet, the focus is on the tension and the conflict between James and company versus Damien. There are a few tropes here and England is best at creating and holding mystery. Those who see this film should not expect all of the events to be wrapped neatly. After all, this is a bloody film that is more gorey mess than pretty bow.

Overall: 7.75 out of 10 (lots of fun, good characters, believable, story is sparse, conclusion is open, good directing techniques).

More details on this film can be found at the film's fan page:

Madison County on Facebook

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