The Hike

13 Nov

Smith’s Verdict: ***
Reviewed by Tanner Smith

NOTE: The film I’m reviewing has not been released yet, so consider this an “early review.”

“‘The Hike’ Drinking Game: The Next Time You Watch This Film, Take A Shot Everytime Vinnie Almost Falls Down Or Touches His Face. You Will Not Make It To The End…” -Post-credit stinger for “The Hike”

“The Hike” is a horror film made for cheap by a group of friends–a group you can tell just wanted to go up to some mountains and make a fun indie horror flick. It’s set in the woods, as a couple (played by co-writers Vinnie Vineyard and Kandi Thompson, who collaborated with the film’s director Luke Walker) go on this titular “Hike” for a camping trip–anyone who has seen any horror film knows that when you think you’re alone and isolated…someone with malevolent intentions might be creeping around. (There just aren’t enough dramas about camping, are there? They all have to be horror films.)

The couple comes across some disturbing photographs and a camera with something apparently even more disturbing (we never see what’s on the camera, but a change in filter indicates something is wrong before the characters can announce it). But why should they let a trek towards a ranger station (so they can report this evidence) get in the way of a good time when they could be trying out some ‘shrooms? By the time they get further along the trail and come across some troublesome folks (and yes, they’re burly mountain men with huge machetes and a bow-and-arrow), they’re already in danger.

There’s nothing that is particularly groundbreaking about this amateurish production, save for a particularly laughable extended sequence in the final act that had me going, “Are you kidding me? Is this really what we’re doing right now?” But the spirit of the thing kept me invested in staying to the end. I knew the people who made this film were making a film not for critics but for fun–and who am I to get in the way by stating what they already know and criticizing it for that reason?

There are some funny one-liners, such as when the couple argues about whether or not their potential oppressors are “rednecks” (she says they can’t be, because of their shoes), and Vinnie Vineyard is sincerely dopey as the male lead. And being a horror film, there are at least a couple of moments that I found particularly unnerving, such as when a character is alone with a lighter in a dark cave. There’s also a continually surfacing legend involving something called “Spearfinger” that may or may not be relevant to anything the characters are facing, but you never know…

I dunno, I just had fun with “The Hike.” Call it the side of me that appreciates both the art of filmmaking and the spirit/passion that comes from people working together to make something. All I know is I wouldn’t have fun picking on “The Hike,” and so I recommend it instead.

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