Watching ‘Timber Falls‘ was like watching monkeys play chess; inane and a bit daft, but you can’t look away on the off chance something interesting might happen. Washington couple, Mike and Sheryl, have set out in to the wilderness of West Virginia. Ready to camp it up, they begin a hiking adventure with no real knowledge of the trails or the forest. Luckily for them they bump into a local woman who’s eager to help, and lend a bit of her local knowledge, she recommends Timber Falls, for its beauty and lack of people.
The local crazy lady was right, the views are breathtaking, however the tranquility quickly fades, when they’re caught off guard by some bored, yokel brothers who force the couple to buy some moonshine (Deliverance anyone?). Anyway when Mike wakes up the next morning to find Sheryl missing he quickly suspects the rifle-wielding brothers from the previous day. However, Mike is very wrong, and in his haste and panic stumbles into a bear trap, which is one of those good old fashion squeamishly grim moments where the sound of crunching bone is much worse than anything visual. Mike is rescued by the lady who they briefly met before (Ida). But all is not as it seems, when Mike discovers Sheryl at the same house. Ida and her husband, the park ranger, want a child but can’t conceive so have gone to the extreme length at abducting a young fertile couple to basically do it for them.
This film is scary because of it’s setting, the backwoods of America scare the bejesus out of me, and if you’ve seen “Deliverance” or the X-Files episode “Home“, you will understand why. It’s always a terrifying thought, to be trapped in an isolated place, cut off from society, all bar a handful of deformed, redneck, psychopaths for company. Although Timber Falls aims to use these novel factors as it’s basis, it doesn’t really push it as far as it could, which basically means, they need a handful more disfigured Leatherface’s to gormlessly hack up younglings.
The reason this film doesn’t work like it should, is because it’s so basic. Neither Mike or Sheryl plot or plan or scheme their way out. Their captives are pretty dim, and there are a million moments when they could pretty much, up and leave. I don’t mind if there is no real gore, or brutality, but I’d like a bit of suspense and a few proper scares. If they had they filmed inside a dingy house in the daylight, it would have been a lot more unsettling, however, choosing to use the ‘cellar at night’ approach shies away from any real creepy developments. There are very few deaths in comparison to hack-em-up torture features like Hostel or Saw, which mean we have to focus on dialogue and plot, both of which are thin and weak.
There are almost too many chances in the film for it to turn around and shake things up a bit. But it doesn’t, it just meanders along, which to me is the reason it is so bad. Because clearly on a number of occasions someone could have made a brilliant spin, but they were just too lazy.