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Fan Film Feature: Never Hike Alone (2017)



A hiker's survival skills are put to the test, when he stumbles upon the remains of an old abandoned camp and discovers its long dark secrets.




Review

Written and directed by Vincente DiSanti, Never Hike Alone is a step into the world of Friday the 13th - modern day. Protagonist Kyle McLeod trips into the middle of nowhere intent on a few days hiking. He knows of a lake some miles down the trail and plans to circle it, returning to his vehicle some time later. Half way around he stumbles onto Camp Crystal Lake. Guess who else is there?

Beginning with a cleverly put together title sequence, the first thing that strikes is the sound design and editing. Feeling less like a Youtube fan film and more like a theatrical release movie is a good start. But not being one to be lulled into a sense of false security, I waited for some acting.

And I wasn't disappointed. It's pretty much up, all the way.

Disanti has written a fairly generic story, but it does what it says on the box - and that is no bad thing. What the writing does do, however, is make the actions of McLeod relatable, and believable. The character creation is spot on. He's a Youtuber (I'm going to say influencer) and the writing for him is excellent. A lot of that is of course down to Drew Leighty whose acting if far better than a great deal of Hollywood releases.




Having McLeod as a Youtuber allows for some subversive story-telling too. With only a single character within large parts of the narrative, exposing their thoughts to a camera is a wonderful way to exposition character motivations without just talking to themselves.

Jason, played by Vincente DiSanti himself, is an imposing figure, and feels like a later Kane Hodder Jason.

And there is an important word in there. Feels.

The film feels like a theatrical release Friday sequel. The actions and motivations feel like they are in universe. The acting, writing, and direction - sound design, special effects, action, and stunts - feel like a Friday sequel.

There is little here not to like. There are a few surprises in the 54 minute run time (an enormous run time for a fan film that just flashes past) - with a neat ending. Now I just want all involved to be given a Hollywood budget and a unique IP to play with.

Unmissable stuff - for any horror fan.





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