by Gary Schultz
One wrong turn and you’re fresh meat…maybe.
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Detour is the essence of stereotypical direct to video horror with most all of the trimmings, including beautiful scantily clad babes who constantly babble on about who’s ass is bigger, acting that truly feels like acting, and a lousy script recycled from The Hills Have Eyes, that would even make The Hills squint in embarrassment. Your only hope is to get really drunk and distort your normal consciousness of what good filmmaking is and then try to suffer through this film. Maybe you’ll make it. I did without the alcohol but it wasn’t easy. To be metaphoric - there really isn’t a silver lining to this cloud - kind of more like a tarnished nickel-plated lining; meaning all hope I guess is not entirely lost. The film Detour does have a few glory moments.
Detour opens with promise as two attractive lesbians driving trough the desert are attacked and gutted in the first five minutes by the main antagonist who has a large self made meat hook attached to his hand. The story goes on from there following seven friends as they drive home from a rave party deep in the very same desert. They travel off the beaten path home in hopes to score some peyote that might be growing at a cactus farm in the middle of nowhere, only to have their RV break down leaving them trapped in a horrible nightmare, this film. Cannibals roam this particular stretch of tortured land feeding off unfortunate travelers. Now the friends must become as savage as their attackers if they are to escape the desert alive. What is probably the most savage, is the acting.
Detour stars Tiffany Shepis (Former Troma Babe, Delta Delta Die!), Aaron Buer (The Last Mission), Brent Taylor (Ripped), Kelsey Wedden (Curse of the Forty-Niner, Woman Behaving Badly), Jessica Osfar, Ryan De’Rouen and Elizabeth Ashley (Happiness, TV’s Evening Shade). Detour was written and directed by Steven Taylor (The Source) with Steve Grabowsky also writing and producing. This is a film made by a director very early in his career and cast with actors many of whom this is their first or second feature film. Taking that into consideration and being a true horror fan I’m going to say some kind words. There are a couple of scenes that are pretty cool in this film, such as someone getting their legs run over by a truck leaving them to squirm helplessly and the gutting via meat hook to several victims. The crazy gas station attendant hiding out in a freezer with a shotgun is a can’t miss winner. But all of this is gravy, and the meat of the story is about a bunch of kids that are truly annoying to watch as they ramble through bad stereotypes such as the ghetto fabulous white-boy who won’t shut up and can’t possibly die fast enough, and the bimbo hating Goth Queen who somehow drinks an entire Gatorade bottle of poison without noticing that it was poison not Gatorade. What?!
The story is stolen pretty closely from The Hills Have Eyes, which many films have taken a lot from but even looking past that, Detour still lacks a style of it’s own. It feels like cut and paste horror filmmaking that makes eighty-nine minutes feel like two hours and eighty-nine minutes. The desert cannibals aren’t very scary except for maybe the lead cannibal, but he’s more of a weird looking Leatherface impression than anything else. If Detour was enjoyable Troma bad it would rock but the film plays it up as a serious thriller, problem is it’s just bad.
So here’s what we’ve learned so far - don’t drink poison Gatorade. Cannibals in the hot desert sun wear thick robes and are not your friend. Goth chicks like key chains made from human bones. All the cool raves happen in the middle of the desert. And if you are going to write in a ghetto fabulous white boy as one of your lead characters, do the horror genre some justice and kill that S.O.B. right away and spare the rest of us his screen time.
Gary Schultz is an indie filmmaker from Chicago and the only person to know Alex Rojas’s true secret—he’s really a masked vigilante who roams the night fighting evil.
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