• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Wilderness

TITLE: Wilderness

YEAR: 2006

GENRE: Horror and Action/Adventure

There is something to be said for a horror movie that has that unique aspect that belief that the event transpiring on the screen could actually happen. Most scary films require a suspension of disbelief to be effective, but periodically the film world will create an evil that is not that far fetched. Wilderness is one of those films that gives the viewer an antagonist that is not as out there as undead psychopaths, ghosts haunting us in the night, and zombies eating our brains. As a result, Wilderness is an enjoyable film that has a realistic approach to its interpretation of evil and is a well paced in its execution.

A group of juvenile delinquents in the Young Offenders Institution torment a petrified inmate to the point where he slices his own wrists to end his torture. The heads of the youthful prison decide that the boys need to be taught a lesson, so they are dropped with proper supervision onto a supposedly deserted island where they are to learn some team skills and wilderness survival training. A female youth group gone wrong group is also doing a similar exercise on the island, which creates some headaches for the chaperones to work extra hard to keep the naughty teens separate. This becomes the least of everybody’s worries however when the father of the suicidal delinquent, who happens to be a Special Forces Operative, decides to avenge the death of his son by extracting revenge against the prisoners and the adults who should have done a better job supervising the oppression. As the body count rises, the youth must learn to work together or die in a hail of arrows and booby traps.

If one can get past the “punishment” of the inmates—being dropped onto an idyllic island for rehabilitative purposes—then the viewer will find Wilderness to be an enjoyable thriller. The killer is well portrayed by Stephen Don and seems to be hiding in every crook and crevice in the woods throughout the film. One never knows who will die next, and this makes Wilderness more creative than most slasher films where the deaths are predictable. None of the deaths are exaggerated either and are presented in a way that the viewer knows could actually happen in the hands of a trained mercenary, which is the major aspect that makes Wilderness successful. The viewer almost spends time during watching Wilderness looking over their own shoulder, so the film does get into the psyche a bit which makes it even more chilling. The actors in the production are also all adequate especially Karly Greene as Jo, a pretty yet tough brunette who has a hatred with most of the boys in her company. The gore effects are plentiful and fairly well done, especially when the male supervisor gets mauled by a bunch of attack dogs. Once the killer appears the pace of the film is quick and satisfying. My major complaint was the ending of the film which I did not find to be as realistic or satisfying as the rest of the production, but that is not to say that it sucked. It just did not appeal to me.

The next project for Michael J. Bassett is his first step into big budget Hollywood with the sequel to Silent Hill. It is easy to see how Bassett was able to get his big break as his work in Wilderness is very capable and well executed. Wilderness is an entertaining and exciting entry into the horror genre, and fans of survivalist films such as The Condemned or Deliverance will enjoy Wilderness as well. There are a lot worse ways to spend 100 minutes, that is for certain.

* * * 1/2

–Mark

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