GORE IN THE STORE
Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans
THE CURSE OF WOLF MOUNTAIN *
Directed by David Lipper.
Starring Keli Price, Danny Trejo, Tobin Bell, David Lipper, Eddie McClintock, Karissa Lee Staples.
Horror, USA, 94 mins.
Released on Digital and On Demand via Uncork’d Entertainment on 9th May 2023.
The trailer for THE CURSE OF WOLF MOUNTAIN promised a horror movie starring SAW icon Tobin Bell and action movie legend Danny Trejo, and strictly speaking that is what you get, although anyone expecting a team-up or a face-off featuring the two selling points is going to come away feeling short-changed; so short-changed, in fact, that mugged might be a more apt description.
Also, don’t let the title fool you, as THE CURSE OF WOLF MOUNTAIN is more of a slasher movie than a lycanthropic monster movie, so any ideas you may have of Danny Trejo getting his machete out to take on a moonlit shape shifter will be sadly unfulfilled. What you do get, however, is AJ (Keli Price, who also wrote the movie) receiving therapy from his psychiatrist Dr. Avery (Tobin Bell). He is getting therapy because twenty years previous, his parents died on Wolf Mountain after being attacked by what the young AJ saw as a wolf-like creature, and so Jigsaw… sorry, Dr. Avery advises him to go back to Wolf Mountain to see if he can purge himself of guilt. AJ does just that, although he does not go alone as he is joined by his pregnant wife Samantha (Karissa Lee Staples), his brother Max (director David Lipper), Max’s wife Lexi (Fernanda Romero) and, for some reason, Lexi’s sister Emma (Malu Trevejo) and her boyfriend James (Matt Rife), and the scene is set for carnage as they return to Wolf Mountain, after the traditional warnings to behave themselves from the wardens that patrol the area.
However, unbeknownst to them, fugitive criminals Eddie (Danny Trejo) and Joe (Kenny Yates) are also on the mountain so they can bury their stash of cash. Where they got it, why they have to bury it there or any other details are not forthcoming, but now we have two criminals with guns, a Scooby Gang of potential victims and, at the centre of it all, an attempt at a psychological thriller as AJ tries to confront his fears as the so-called creature of Wolf Mountain threatens to return.
Basically, THE CURSE OF WOLF MOUNTAIN is a melting pot of several ideas – or genre tropes – and tones, none of which fully gel into anything coherent. The central premise of AJ facing his fears and looking to find out what really happened to his parents is intriguing, and Keli Price sells it quite well in his more emotional scenes, but just as the script starts to get a bit deep – possibly too deep for a movie such as this – there is a gag or a comical line delivery that breaks the tension, but also saps away any tension.
Consequently, when the script calls for some light-hearted moments – most of them provided by Eddie McClintock as AJ’s cousin Ric – they are performed well enough and add some fun to the slasher mayhem, but none of it sits well because the movie then needs to be dramatic. You see how this is going?
Add to that the fact that not a lot actually happens for the first hour or so, cramming all of the action into the final 30 minutes and then going on for a little too long when it had a neat ending point well before it actually ends, the script throwing in a few more slasher movie clichés, just in case the first two acts didn’t provide you with enough. And the performances? Well, you can always rely on the old pros to deliver, but naturally Danny Trejo and Tobin Bell command higher salaries and so their time on the screen is limited. Keli Price and Eddie McClintock are the most watchable and play their roles with enough likeability that you do actually root for their characters, but the movie does spend far too long with Max, Emma and James when they get to the mountain, and if the characters are supposed to be horrible and totally unlikeable then the actors knock it out of the park, but one suspects this is not supposed to be the case.
Ultimately, THE CURSE OF WOLF MOUNTAIN is a movie full of ‘what ifs’, such as what if Tobin Bell and Danny Trejo got some screen time together? What if Danny Trejo had more to do, seeing as you had him on the set for at least one day? What if David Lipper stayed behind the camera and let someone else play Max? What if the people who keep having sex in this movie had some chemistry and actually looked like people having sex, instead of keeping all of their clothes on and just rocking back and forth whilst moaning? What if the tone was more consistent? What if the kills were lingered on rather than seen in quick edits?
And the list goes on. The shame is that there are actually the seeds of a decent low-budget slasher movie in there somewhere but it all feels like there were too many ideas being thrown around, a lot of over thinking, a bit of under cooking and relying on the two star names whose presence is there to sell the trailer, and if they were removed it would make no difference to the final movie whatsoever as THE CURSE OF WOLF MOUNTAIN would still be a mess, and not a particularly entertaining one.
Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans