Thoughts on “Backwoods”

I’ve never really watched the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” style of slasher movie. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever actually watched any of the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” movies, and don’t really have any of them in my collection of horror movies. Well, okay, I recently bought the “Wrong Turn” series of movies because Eliza Dushku was on the cover and I think I confused it with a werewolf movie instead (“Ginger Snaps?”) but suffice it to say that I’m not someone who watches a lot of those sorts of slasher movies. But I am, of course, fairly familiar with the tropes spawned by them, just by the cultural osmosis of having that specific genre of movies become popular classics.

“Backwoods” is that sort of slasher movie. And it also seems to be built around using as many of those tropes as humanly possible.

The problem is that this makes the movie completely and utterly predictable, even to someone like me who isn’t as directly familiar with the tropes. We know who is going to survive pretty much from the beginning of the movie. We know what the threat is. We know that the ranger isn’t what he appears to be. We know what plans the villains have for the women. We know at the end that when the female FBI agent is out looking over the area that the strong villain is going to be there and attack her. Everything is so completely predictable that there are no surprises. In fact, the one surprise was that the boss was killed so early and so easily, although his FBI hat tips off why.

For the most part, the characters are serviceable in a tropey way, from the bad boss who can be a little sympathetic to the jerk who actually goes out as a heroic jerk which was a nice touch. The main male lead is nice and sympathetic in a way that makes sense, and the female lead is the typical “cheerleader type who’s with the jerk but ends up with the nice guy”, although her leaving him first was a nice touch. The jerks are annoying for most of it, but they’re supposed to be, and that helps us feel all the more sorry for our hero.

And the villains are tropey themselves. Based around a religious cult, hidden in the backwoods, pretty much all related, kidnapping women to use for breeding and brainwashing them into it, and they replace moonshine with drugs — and now the DEA’s got a chopper in the air — slightly modernizing it but sticking to the tried-and-true tropes. Did I mention that this movie was tropey?

Other than being too paint-by-numbers, it wasn’t a bad movie, all things considered. The thing is, I can’t figure out who the intended audience is. People who don’t like those sorts of movies won’t be impressed by the tropes, and people who do will find that it doesn’t add anything new. I guess if someone was really looking for that sort of movie and didn’t want to just rewatch the same old characters it might be appealing, but for me if it wasn’t in “The Shadows” pack I’d never have bought or watched it. The biggest thing the movie has going for it to encourage me to watch it again is that nothing will be ruined by already knowing what happened in the movie, but that pretty much just leaves it in the “Could watch it again because it killed an hour and a half without boring me but can’t really see why I’d do that” pile.

3 Responses to “Thoughts on “Backwoods””

  1. Thoughts on “Wrong Turn” | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] the first “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” style slasher movie I ever watched was “Backwoods”. At the time, I noted that it was an okay movie but seemed to incorporate so many of the tropes […]

  2. Final Thoughts on the “Wrong Turn” Series | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] at least part of my reaction was spawned from the fact that I was comparing them to my memories of “Backwoods”, which I considered to be a bog-standard “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” style horror movie. […]

  3. Thoughts on “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” | The Verbose Stoic Says:

    […] after “Backwoods” and “Wrong Turn”, I managed to get ahold of a copy of the original “Texas […]

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