Looking for some cheap Friday the 13th thrills? Take the detour far away from Pitchfork, a spectacular disaster of a horror film that’s more of an endurance test to try and make it through all of this woeful 94 minutes. Maybe I’m forgetting one, but I’m comfortable saying Pitchfork is the worst horror movie I’ve ever seen.
Way too often I started busting out in uncontrollable laughter. And not the good kind. In fairness, its kinda hard to buy into any legitimate horror film that tries to work in a dance number. The rest of the time it left me both appalled and wondering why I so poorly valued my time.
Director/co-writer Glenn Douglas Packard probably had to call in more than a few favors for this embarrassment. While the odds are against anyone involved in the film making it big, this will make for some prime humiliating early role footage.
After coming out to his parents over the phone, Hunter (Brian Raetz) wants to chat in person. For moral support, he brings along his buddies. The gang is the standard teen caricatures you find in pretty much every horror film. There’s the jock, the nerd, the super dumb jock, the hottie and the slutty hotties 1 and 2. This assortment of characters are unbelievably unlikable. If Pitchfork had an iota of charisma it’d be easy to root him on to take out this entire crew.
Hunter’s father is having a hard time with his son’s sexual preference. That’s not a terrible subplot, but it’s so poorly developed, it’s ultimately unnecessary. Soon the farm and everyone on it is terrorized by a lunatic wearing a dog head and a pitchfork in place of a hand.
Despite a decent design, Pitchfork is a remarkably dull villain. He’s not scary in the slightest and scurries around like a frightened pup most of the movie. He’s the anti-Leatherface in that regard. Apparently he kept all his charisma in the left hand he swapped out with the pitchfork.
The only legitimate scares came from the performances. No one should go into a horror movie expecting award winning performances, but the cast acts like they’re reciting the lines for the first time. They’re not credible for a second and their line delivery is amazingly flat and stilted.
One by one, Pitchfork slowly kills off everyone on the farm in increasingly disturbing fashion. Hunter and his best friend Clare (Lindsey Nicole) have to use all their cunning to stay alive and survive the night.
Packard and co-screenwriter Darryl F. Gariglio grasp their villain isn’t all that menacing and give him bizarre character traits. Instead of providing some tragic backstory, it makes Pitchfork seem much more like a joke.
For a horror film, Packard shoots the film too clean. The lighting is too crisp. To try and instill some sort of horror elements, Packard heavily utilizes smoke effects as if hoping fog will help increase the thrills. Packard finds better luck with cheap thrills in shooting the female cast members from a low angle to best showcase their short shorts. Beyond that, his direction is strictly Horror Movie 101 with all the expected jump cuts and weak plot twists.
There’s no good reason to sit through Pitchfork. It lacks good thrills, characters you actually want to see survive the night and a punchless villain with a neat gimmick and little else. Dig up the old Friday the 13th collection. Watching Jason’s exploits at Camp Crystal Lake are a much better option than this debacle.
Rating: 1 out of 10
Photo Credit: Uncork’d Entertainment