Madison County is precisely the kind of film that will ultimately frustrate the fuck out of you. Not because it's bad, mind you...but, because it should've been much, much better than it ultimately is. I should have been glowing about how great of a little slasher throwback film Madison County is. Instead...well...let's discuss...shall we?
Now, it is important to point out that writer/director Eric England is a great filmmaker. Though this is his first feature, he does show signs of a filmmaker who is going to take his audience on an exciting journey within the genre. I am eager to see what he has in store for us. I actually get a little excited when I see talented young directors taking the genre seriously. Ok...maybe that last sentence sounded a little weird. It's not that I'm getting excited in the way that you're thinking...and don't get me wrong...Eric is a good looking young man and all...but---damnit. I did it again...didn't I?
Anyway...how 'bout them Yankees, huh? Ahem..
So, Madison County is basically about a group of young college-bound teenagers travelling off into the deep woods of Madison County to interview an author of a book chronicling a bunch of gory murders that went down there. However, when they arrive in Madison County...it appears that the author is missing...and to make matters worse no one in Madison County knows what the fuck these kids are talking about. It's as if these goddamn kids are high and this book never existed.
Ok. I'll admit this premise to be a little on the unoriginal side. However, it is a perfect canvas to paint something distinctive and memorable. Especially when you consider that these kids can actually act.
Colley Bailey reminds me of a young Brad Pitt. He shares the same sort of charismatic charm that Pitt had when he was much younger. Bailey also stars in a film that I'm having a hard time getting through called Donner Pass. I keep falling asleep with that one. Review to come...eventually. I wouldn't be surprised if Bailey went on to bigger things. On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if we never heard the name Colley Bailey ever again.
As far as the female cast goes. I think I'm in love with Joanna Sotomura. She reminds me of what might happen if Olivia Munn and Masuimi Max ever mated and created the perfect brunette indie genre actress. I also feel like I may have a shot with Joanna. Especially because Madison County is a lower budgeted indie horror film...and we love to watch those kinds of films around these parts. And so, she may happen across this review for the film...so, perhaps I should write a great review of her performance. Here goes nothing. Joanna Sotomura's acting reminds me of a young Meryl Streep...if Meryl was hotter and drenched in her boyfriend's blood...and did nothing but scream and cry for the last 20 minutes of the film. But, she does that really good.
The rest of the female cast involves another little hottie named Natalie Scheetz...and, well...Holy Scheetz this girl is cute! She plays Jenna in the film and doesn't really do anything significant. But, she is cute, tho. There's also a young woman dressed in nothing more than a bra and panties and blood...and she's pretty cute, too. She's played by Katie Stegeman.
The rest of the male cast is pretty solid for what is asked of them. I'll also mention that Nick Principe is looking to be the next legendary horror movie icon in the same way that Kane Hodder and Gunnar Hansen carved a name for themselves in the genre. Principe is already well known for playing Chromey in the Laid to Rest films and he plays the character of Damien pretty fucking awesome in this film. I only wish he was given more to work with.
So, the main issues I had with the film are that of the editing variety. It feels too rushed and out of sync in some spots. I don't wanna discuss too much here in an effort to not divulge too much of the plot (even tho, you could probably figure most of that stuff out within the first 15 minutes of the movie)....but, the film is about 81 minutes long and feels like it was more like an hour...tops. I feel like there's a much better cut of this film somewhere. I mean, there's nothing wrong with the character development or anything of that nature. I just feel that once the horror portion of the film arrives, it's just sort of hackneyed and riddled with bad timing. And just like comedy, timing can be everything in a horror film.
There's a scene in the film involving naked boobies and a waterfall. Normally, I love naked boobies in any film. However, here it felt out of place and awkward. And I got the meaning behind the scene...it wasn't that complicated to figure out. It just felt random. There's also a scene later on in the film where our Damien antagonist hops into the flatbed of a pick up truck and our hero finally figures out that he can step on the brakes to stop Damien from creating any kind of true harm. Kind of random and awkward.
It's a shame, because I really wanted to love this film. It's really well made and shows alot of promise from the young talent involved. Even the gore is pretty awesome for such a small budget.
In all, Madison County is not a great horror film. And that's too bad...because it seriously could have been in the hands of a more capable editor. I would've loved to see another half an hour of this film. Still...Madison County has enough good in it that would justify a satisfying late night rental. Especially if you get it from the RedBox...it's like a fuckin' dollar there!
By the by...did you know that Masuimi Max shares the same birthday as me?
Totally blows your mind...right??
Thanks for reading,