Review Rating: 7 out of 10
Newly out of the closet gay boy Hunter Killian (Brian Raetz) returns home to his conservative parents with a van-load of friends for some down-home partying, only to be subject to a pitchfork-happy murderer terrorizing the neighborhood!
And that, boils and ghouls, is effectively the whole movie in a single run-on sentence. Very little is new or unique about Pitchfork, and a great many of the kills and tropes are borrowed from previous B-Horror flicks. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, because the movie seems to be aware of the sheer wackiness of its own self and therefore becomes a kind of happy parody of overused Horror films tricks. The overall feel is akin to 2001 Maniacs, and I actually rather enjoyed those movies, so away we go!
So after our poor dog lady got a face-full of hooks, Hunter and pals in their gaily (literally in Hunter’s case) painted van come roaring into the rolling hills and grassy plains of town. Hunter makes a point of warning his progressive friends that his disapproving father isn’t likely to be happy to see his now-out son, and of course his pleasant companions attempt to reassure him in their cute little ineffectual ways. Hunter’s friends include Claire (Lindsey Nicole) and Matt (Ryan Moore), the stereotypical jock couple where the guy is a player and the girlfriend is a bit of a blonde ditz; Rocky (Keith Webb) and Janelle (Sheila Leason) are the ever-present token black couple; single Indian-appearing guy Gordon (Vibhu Raghave) has a thing for Claire too of course; and lastly we have the unapologetically British chick Lenox (Celina Beach) and her wildly eclectic friend Flo (Nicole Dambro). Most of these people don’t last very long and have barely a thimbleful of personality to spare, but they do represent stereotypical college kid tropes, victims to be found in any given Horror flick, so that’s fine.
Dad (Derek Reynolds) turns out to be just as Hunter said he would, stiff and unyielding when it comes to his gay son. Mom (Carol Ludwick) is just happy to see Hunter home and wants there to be peace in the house, like all Moms everywhere. Hunter’s sister Jenny (Addisyn Wallace) has a real way with animals, and that’s important, because that actually seems to be the one thing that might actually save some of them.
Save them from what, you ask? When Hunter and his friends decide inevitably to have a New York-style barn dance out here in the sticks, this monster with a dogs furry face and a makeshift pitchfork for a missing hand decides its now time to come terrorize as many of them as possible! Pitchfork (Daniel Wilkinson), as the film implies is his name, takes a fair amount of delight in running down and killing the various attendees of the barn dance, as many of Hunter’s friends as he can catch, local law enforcement, and yes, Hunter’s parents while he’s at it. Though for some reason when he catches her, Pitchfork locks Jenny up instead of outright killing her immediately, which raises some interesting side-note questions. Like any full-grown animal, Pitchfork’s desires range from killing to sex, and yes he does try to hump Lennox when he’s caught her and strung her up with razor wire, but can’t quite seem to figure out how to do it.
Round and round we run, trying to escape Pitchfork while collecting whatever survivors are left and hiding, or confronting the bad dog, which is never a really good idea. It’s only when Hunter and Claire scurry to the neighbors house and demand that the Hollisters call the police, that we discover it’s actually Ma (Rachel Carter) and Pa (Andrew Dawe-Collins) Hollister who are responsible for this whole mess, and Pitchfork is their truly messed up in the head son. Even then, the torture of Hunter and Claire by the Hollister parents, is brief and mostly nauseating rather than any kind of really gross and disgusting.
What saves Hunter, Claire and Jenny, and ultimately Pitchfork too, from the madness of the Hollister parents isn’t a weapon or some kind of strategy, it’s actual kindness and decency. Well, kindness, at any rate. Because once Jenny discovers her true power at the very end of the movie, the tiny gotcha after the title card, it’s no more little Mrs. Nice Girl.
Pitchfork is director Glenn Packard’s debut, and I thought he actually did quite well for a first-timer. The movie is a good little introductory piece for those who want to get into the Horror world, but not be overly scared or disgusted the first time out.
Get skewered by Pitchfork on DVD and Blu-ray today, also available on Amazon Prime Video now!