Rangers Darcy (Tucky Williams) and Ennis (Billy W Blackwell) wander furtively into the middle of their local woods and search a seemingly abandoned shack for reclusive Roland (Dave Haney). But instead they make a gruesome discovery and attempt to flee, screaming ...

Then we meet Janice (Cecilia Waller), an aspiring newspaper reporter who enters a bar and approaches a quartet of local kids hoping for the lowdown on a couple of disappearances in the area that she's investigating. She's given the bum's rush ... but won't give up that easily.

Meanwhile, the kids in question - led by Wes (Dustin Roe) - embark on an ill-advised jaunt into the countryside on a camping trip. Not even a melodramatic sheriff can persuade them otherwise. Instead they persist deeper into the woods and, after a spot of skinny-dipping, they set up camp for the night and enjoy a spooky story round the fire.

Little do they know that psychotic, cleaver-wielding Roland is watching them from not too far away ...

Of course, not a great deal of time passes by before our wise-cracking, hard-fucking youths come face-to-face with loner Roland, who communicates via a portable intercom usually reserved for those suffering from throat cancer. Why? I don't know ...

More pressing to the plot though is the fact that Roland now lives with a chained deformity he refers to as Hamburger Head (Jason Crowe), and that he is a mental case who believes that any acts of murder he commits (such as chopping the papier Mache head off a stray treasure hunter) are acts of God.

Short at only 77 minutes in length, the film wastes little time in building towards some jarring scenes of cruelty and torture ... But don't forget, Janice is still lurking in the background somewhere, hunting for a story!

Shot on an apparent budget of just $5,000.00, RED RIVER is the latest film from Jacob Ennis - director of STASH.

With such a derivative storyline, miniscule budget and conventional roll-out of both scares and gore, this should by rights be a right old load of shite. Actually, it's quite entertaining.

Despite some clumsy attempts at comedy, the tone is kept relatively straight and the film is all the better for it. Chase sequences are handled well, with adroit editing and camerawork aiding in eliciting tension from them. Gore scenes, while crude, are decent and will more than suffice for anyone who's well versed in low budget splatter films of the early 1980s. Look out for homages to ROADKILL: THE LAST DAYS OF JOHN MARTIN and HUNTER'S BLOOD ...

Throw in women getting topless to the strains of soft rock, and some righteous gore (including a couple of really brutal old-school sequences) and you have a film that - if you can get past the lo-fi aesthetics and obvious comparisons to superior fare such as THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE and THE HILLS HAVE EYES - is highly watchable.

The opening titles sequence is indebted to David Fincher's SE7EN, both in its mock Nine Inch Nails score and the montage of scratchy clips that in this instance contain a lot of sepia-tainted gore FX. It's not a bad way to kick things off.

RED RIVER is presented uncut in a highly attractive, clean and crisp 1.85:1 non-anamorphic transfer.

The 2.0 English stereo soundtrack is a good, consistent and clean affair throughout.

Bloody Earth's disc opens with a static main menu page. Although there is no scene-selection menu, the film can be raced through by way of 15 chapters.

Extras begin with "The River Runs Red", a 36-minute Making Of featurette which is an amiable SOV affair offering plenty of candid chats with Ennis, Waller and writer Gregory W Brock. Some good behind-the-scenes footage creeps in there too.

"Creating A Monster" is a further 9 minutes in which the likes of FX artists Matthew Perry and Sven Granlund speak about creating the look of the film's monster, known here affectionately as 'Hamburger Head'.

"Red River Video Blog: On Location" is exactly what it says it is, and provides 8 minutes of more fun with Ennis etc.

4 minutes of deleted scenes add little of interest but it's nice to have them here nonetheless.


RED RIVER is better than I expected. It's a good, solid low budget offering that any horror fan who's tolerant of shot-on-digital films should be able to appreciate. It looks very nice on Bloody Earth's Region 0 disc, and is complemented by some fine extras.

Review by Stuart Willis

Released by Bloody Earth Films
Region 1
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review