Friday, September 5, 2014

Hoboken Hollow (2006) review


   This low-budget, roadside horror had to be one of the worst I've seen. I didn't expect much from it to begin with, but when it promises to "scare the hell out of you", I expect it to at least give me a jump. Wooden performances, cheap effects, bad plot execution, and amateur editing show the true meaning of "low-budget" in a movie.

PLOT: In a small town area near the border of Texas, drifters tend to crowd to the highway, hitchhiking for a place to go. A small ranch nearby always seems to have their eyes on these drifters, however. We follow a small group of guys who get picked up by the owners of this ranch to work for a few days. However, they don't know that once they get "hired" to work on the ranch, they can never leave. The owners of this ranch, the Broderick family, shackle up the new "transients" and force them to work for food or succumb to drastic torture, such as abuse by cattle prod or hanging. However, the brains of the operation is kept hidden from the audience, with deals being made secretly within business and law to get land and make more cash. The plot itself wouldn't be so bad if it had more colorful and actually scary elements, but with the major execution, it just falls flat on its face.

ACTING: The performances in this movie are atrociously hollow and wooden. No actor or actress gives a performance memorable enough to be a realistic character. The writer/director of this film decides to use grotesque characters, including a half blind man, a disfigured woman, and a mentally ill main character, to give them some kind of significance. If it wasn't for the blatant physical traits on these characters, you wouldn't know exactly who was different from the other. I'm not even kidding when I say some performances are downright laughable. We do have some slightly notable minor performances, however, by Dennis Hopper and Robert Carradine. If we had more by them, it might have saved this movie by maybe one or a half rating. The only performance that I thought to have been fairly decent would be Rudolf Martin as Howie Beale. He played his part fairly well compared to the rest of the cast and the terrible script/screenwriting.

SCORE: The score wasn't anything too special. The score marked the changes in emotion and suspense, with some southern-sounding songs to set the mood. The score we hear in this movie is basically just the generic horror movie intense jump score.

EFFECTS: The effects in here were cheap and lame, to put it bluntly. The effects of the grotesque characters' appearances and the blood and gore were so cheaply done that the effects they meant to set off were only labeled as pathetic in my book. Literally speaking, there is a fake eyeball stuck on a stick, portrayed as the eye stalk. Along with that, the blood, severed limbs, and defects on the characters looked like something I could do for a Halloween party. Low budget is definitely squandered on this movie, because you can make low budget look good, as seen from Raimi's original Evil Dead films.

EDITING/CAMERA: The editing in this movie is cheap and well. It looked as if a teenager were put in charge of when to cut and how to transition. Often during the movie, we're faded out into a direct next scene, as if this were a television special on Sci-Fi or the like. Also, we're left with too many seconds of fade into black. The audience is left staring at nothing for a good portion of the time. If one is going to make a movie, one should at least make it look professional.

MISC. THOUGHTS: This movie actually would have had potential if the execution and screenwriting had been greatly revised and written with thought put into it. I could see this being a pretty decent horror movie if it had just been put into more professional hands or at least treated with greater professional manner. Not everybody can be a filmmaker, especially not a rich one. I will admit that the twist at the end did catch me off guard and satisfy me to an extent, but if the rest of the movie could just catch up to the one moment of clever plot it had, things might have worked out for Hoboken Hollow.

   This movie definitely was one of the worst in its genre I've seen, with the major plot execution failing, atrocious performances, generic horror movie score, lame, cheap special effects, amateur editing, and wasted potential. However, it got a few small things right and did actually have the potential to do something decent.

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