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Wild Country

Directed by Directed by Craig Strachan

Written by Written by Craig Strachan

Starring Starring Samantha Shields, Martin Compston, Peter Capaldi, Kevin Quinn

Produced by Produced by Ros Borland

Rated R

72 mins

***

The import drive continues as Lions Gate brings us the fairly decent Wild Country, a movie that proves that the Sawney Bean story still has some legs.

This time, we follow recent teen mom Kelly as she goes off on a camping trip in the woods with her friends. Now, perhaps you’re wondering what kind of mother would possibly let her kid, who just delivered a baby of her own (which she gave up for adoption), go on a camping trip with friends, including the guy who knocked her up in the first place. Well, it’s okay! It’s a YOUTH GROUP trip! Sponsored by the church…led by a priest…who’ll be banging some chick by the end of the movie. Oh wow. And it’ll only get weirder when the teenagers camping in the woods run afoul of…well…they keep calling it a “wolf”, but the thing looks like some kind of mutant warthog.

So like I said, the Sawney Bean story still has some legs; they’ll quote it here in Wild Country, of course, but it also comes up as the basis of The Hills Have Eyes. And will show up again in the godawful Asylum film Hillside Cannibals. And it’s not much more than a throwaway around here, especially by the time the wolf-pig things show up. There may be a connection—I won’t tell because it spoilers the ending—but it’s of the most tenuous sort.

This is one of those rare movies where the shortened run time—it’s only seventy-two minutes—actually works for it. They’ve compressed everything and made it a very rapid-paced movie, allowing the shocks and the kills and the confrontations with bizarre mutants to come fast and regular. Even if it turns out you DON’T like it, you’ll still have only lost about an hour.

Don’t look for great depth of plot here, but instead, look for a fast, fun movie that’ll do its level best to keep you interested with both big plot and small twists.

The ending includes a fairly clever twist that relates back to a very easily missed point a good ways back, so pay attention and keep a sharp eye out.

The special features include English and Spanish subtitles, a behind the scenes featurette, and trailers for Punisher: War Zone, Transporter 3, The Spirit, Chill, Kemper: The Co-Ed Killer, and Werewolf Hunter: The Legend of Romasanta.

All in all, Wild Country can never be called a bad movie. It’s too short to give you that feeling of wasted time even if you don’t like it. It’s fast, it’s clean, it’s fairly watchable, and these days that’s not bad by half.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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