They accept Ida's advice. While hiking Timber Falls, Mike and Sheryl encounter stunning waterfalls, pristine lakes, and a mountaintop campsite with gorgeous Appalachian views (though camera crews never stepped foot in West Virginia; the film was shot in Romania). They set up camp and go to sleep. The next day, Sheryl goes missing. Mike suspects mischief from the rifle-wielding backwoods boys they met the previous day.
Mike's wrong. Ida and her park ranger husband (Nick Searcy) are behind Sheryl's disappearance. They capture Mike, too, after he stumbles into a bear trap in broad daylight (clearly, Mike was not an Eagle Scout). Ida and her husband demand Mike and Sheryl have sex every night until she becomes pregnant as Ida is unable to bear children and desperately wants one. They promise to torture the young couple until they comply. Either they don't have adoption clinics in West Virginia, or Ida hasn't considered that option.
Sure, the backwoods horrorfest has been done before. Actually, Timber Falls' premise is so familiar that it was released on DVD in Brazil as Wrong Turn 2 (tricky, because they actually made a Wrong Turn 2). But that doesn't make the concept less terrifying. Hollywood could make dozens of these films and it would still be scary to watch deranged, disfigured, knife-wielding psychopaths torture people in the wilderness.
But Timber Falls doesn't fail because it's a recycle bin of other films' ideas (although it is). Rather, the movie disappoints because the audience doesn't care about what happens to Mike and Sheryl. They're so stupid you'll end up rooting for the psychopathic fanatics holding them captive; at least they're intelligent enough to devise a complex, diabolical scheme. It's not rocket science, if Mike and Sheryl want to avoid unspeakable torture all they need to do if sleep together to satisfy Ida's demands. If you think the adults on Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader are dumb, wait until you meet this couple.
After all, it takes a long time to have a child, enough time for them to gather ideas and devise an intelligent escape plan. But no...Mike and Sheryl barely mention that thought; instead, they refuse Ida's demands and seemingly welcome the promised dismemberment, whipping, and electrocution. Mike and Sheryl don't play mind games with their captors like Paul Sheldon does in Misery. These guys just bend over and take it. Obviously, this limits the suspense.
Also, Timber Falls doesn't realize there's more to torture porn than extended sequences of torture. Films like Hostel, The Hills Have Eyes, and Saw made their claim to fame by blending grisly torture with high body counts. Here, there's Mike and Sheryl getting chained to the ceiling and scarred by fiery cattle rods, but very few death sequences. Granted, the movie doesn't shy away from gore when situations arise. But there are plenty of opportunities for Timber Falls to have fun with its genre and lets most of them slip through its fingers.
Timber Falls doesn't need to be as bad as it is. With more thought -- OK, a lot more -- the film could have benefited from the gut-wrenching premise and made for a successful addition into the wilderness-torture-porn subgenre. But it doesn't even try; it surrenders before the first shot is fired.
Run time: 100 mins
In Theaters: Friday 23rd May 2008
Distributed by: Slowhand Cinema
Production compaines: Ascendant Pictures, A-Mark Entertainment, Rifkin-Eberts, Film Tiger
Contactmusic.com: 1.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 38%
Fresh: 3 Rotten: 5
IMDB: 5.3 / 10
Director: Tony Giglio
Screenwriter: Tony Giglio, Daniel Kay
Starring: Josh Randall as Mike, Nick Searcy as clyde, Beth Broderick as Ida, Sascha Rosemann as Deacon, T.W. Leshner as Darryl, Ryan Wiik as Jason, Branden R. Morgan as Brody, Carl Bressler as Sam, Ryan McGee as Lonnie, Suzanna Urszuly as Sarah, Debbie Jaffe as Evelyn, Brianna Brown as Sheryl
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