River of Darkness Reviews
Written and directed by Bruce Koehler
I'm back folks with a cinematic masterpiece from the director of Endgame starring Kurt Angle when he was in TNA. This is part of a new journey into the world of cinema. I'm using suggestions from other people and reviewing in tandem with a friend of mine Roguish. This was my suggestion. I thought upon seeing the horrifically photoshopped poster that made the movie seem more like a cheapo action film that I had to see this. It's not an action film. It resembles what should be a horror film. It tries to scare you in the most rudimentary way possible. It has some make up effects but the camera used had to be a digital camera from the early 2000s.
I have to make mention of this right off the bat because it's the first thing that catches you offguard. The look of the film, the camera work being done. Everything has this unusual haze about it like we're in some dream level. It also looks painfully cheap. I assume that's because the director spent all his money hiring Kurt Angle and couldn't afford a half way decent camera. The lights give off this harsh painful glare and cast deep shadows like having a spotlight shone directly on your face. I was confused right from the start.
The other thing that bothered me was the inability of the movie to determine a time period. Things felt really anachronisitic. The diner had a 50s feel to it. The cabin the sheriff lived in felt more in tune with Grizzly Adams.
But the biggest problem is the odd relationships between characters. Everyone treats the hero like complete garbage. He is the sheriff and he is desperately trying to solve these murders albeit in a rather relaxed manner. He doesn't seem to have any urgency about him and he routinely shows regular every day folks graphic crime scene photographs. It had me uttering in a quite audible level what the hell is going on.
It has scenes that start and then go nowhere only to immediately pick a few moments later in a different location. It had me scratching my head and blathering like a buffoon at the path this story chose to go. It was the story of a wronged group of outcasts coming back from the grave to get revenge on the town who cast them to their graves. You know the plot of The Fog.
This was a miserable experience. I should have known better considering this director made Endgame. All the problems that movie had, this movie still has. He has learned nothing in between films. I know better. I do. I'm not certain why I do this to myself. A certain degree of self loathing I suppose. I have to remind myself though to stay away from Pro Wrestlers vs Zombies. I can do this. I have faith in my resolution.
I give this movie an F.
The only reason why i watched this film is because I am a huge fan of pro wrestling and I have seen other films featuring wrestlers. Kurt Angle's acting is diabolical, Ray Lloyd plays an unimpressive role and Kevin Nash and Psycho Sid star was the ghoulish killers in which you only see their face for a total of around 2 minutes of the whole feature. The special effects are awful and the storyline could take intelligence of a ten year old to write. Overall, I rate this film onestar. Avoid this, there are far better films starring wrestlers such as Wrong Side of Town, Road House, Highlander, Spider-Man and Beyond The Mat.
Thanks for reading.
The acting was so wooden that the rest of the cast made Angle and co look like the spirits of Olivier and the cinematography would have been poor for Home and Away. Just don't get me started on the 'special effects'.
In all this was amateur hour at its very worst.
It's got it all.
The film stars Kurt Angle as the Sheriff of Cedar Creek, a southern US town host to a number of murders by the Jacobs boys, who happen to be local lads killed 30 years ago.
The film is so bad I don't know where to begin. Lets start with characterisation. Main characters in films like this are supposed to be guys that you can get behind and root for. However, Sheriff Angle is portrayed as so much of a dunce that it's just impossible. The fact that the local lawman has absolutely no knowledge of the murders that made his hometown famous is absolutely ridiculous, making it no wonder he's portrayed as a figure of fun by the townsfolk. It is also worth noting the Sheriff's insistence on wearing blue jeans as opposed to uniform trousers with his sheriff's shirt and cap makes him look more like a gas station attendant than an officer of the law.
The writing and direction are horrendous too. If they were going for a Garth Marenghi's Darkplace kind of feel, then its a masterpiece, but you know they weren't. The amount of awkward pauses, clunky dialogue, and poor camera work are just laughable. The paranormal investigators who come to town also make light of the writing, given they claim to have read about the killings in the news, despite there seemingly being no media coverage of the murders whatsoever. Also, the unwillingness of any of the townsfolk to question the supernatural explanation for the murders is hilarious.
Then theres the quality of the film itself. Now, in 2007, I made a short film at college titled "Biff Saxon Versus The Emo Plague Terror", on a handheld DV camera. Aside from some issues I had with outdoor shots and wind noise, the quality difference between the two films is practically non-existent. The film does not look professional in the slightest.
Speaking of which, a quick look on IMDB will tell you River of Darkness cost an estimated $3.2 million to make. Watching this film, the only possible explanation for that cost on THIS film is thus: Embezzlement. Someone HAD to have been on the take for this film to end up looking like it did. How such a sum of money could be spent, only for the movie to look like it was made on roughly the same budget as your average Crimewatch Re-enactment, we can only wonder. Not to be boastful, but I'm willing to bet I could make a better looking film for about £5,000, if that.
The treatment of the Jacob Boys is baffling as well. Played by wrestlers Kevin Nash and Sid 'Vicious' Eudy, they receive about 2 minutes of screen time between them. Nash has already proven he has some acting ability after his turn in The Longest Yard, and is known in wrestling as a good talker, so why not give him more than one line, let alone more screen time?
As for Angle, this is his second film with director Koehler, with another in the works. If he's thinking of being the next Duane 'The Rock' Johnson, he's already done his chances irreperable damage with what has to be the most poorly made film I've ever seen.
There is irony to be found here. While John Cena's films (and the rest of WWE Films fare for that matter) are poor at best, they at least look professional. It had to happen that the film with TNA connections would be a poorly made, poorly written, illogical mess by comparison.