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Blackburn (2015)

Blackburn Movie Asylum horror film review


A forest fire and rock-slide trap five bickering college friends in a small Alaskan ghost town with a horrifying history. When they seek refuge inside the torched ruins of Blackburn Asylum they must fight to survive as the angry inhabitants slaughter the friends one-by-one.


Blackburn Movie Asylum horror film review


Review

The story of Blackburn is pretty generic - five friends become trapped, and for some reason seek shelter deep in an abandoned mine, where there be villains. I had issue with the setup, more than anything else in the film, to be honest. It starts with a young family, man, woman, and baby, going to an abandoned mine for some reason. Obviously they are to be the opening kills, which is fine - horror needs them - but I was questioning why. Why take a baby? But anyway - our protagonists (I use the term loosely) then turn up, find the road they're traveling blocked by a landslide, turn around to find the other end of the road blocked by a car on fire (for some reason), and turned back (again) by the fire department, and end up in the old abandoned mine.

It's all very convenient.

But, hey, we're not here for the backstory, we're here for the horror, right?

The mine houses some escapees from a local asylum, which they burned down, and became terribly scarred as a result. So after the initial twenty minutes or so, we have teens vs. burn victims, and we know what we're in for from then.

There is some big plus sides on the gore front here. The squick is front and center, and pleasantly disgusting, which is a change of pace for micro budget horror, and it maintains it throughout. There seemed to be a good number of plot contrivances written in to justify the FX on show, and I really don't have a problem with it. This is a get-what-you-get sort of film. The plot is non-existent, but the gore is up there, and superb quality it is.


Blackburn Movie Asylum horror film review


The acting is pretty good across the board - some better than others - but Sarah Lind (WolfCop) and Zack Peladeau (iZombie) who carry the weight of the film are solid, and there are some surprise pop-up performances, notably from Ken Kerzinger (Freddy vs. Jason) and the Soska Sisters (Dir. American Mary). Absolute props goes to Joyce Robbins and Jacqueline Robbins (The Wicker Man) for subverting every gas station attendant trope out there.

There are some extremely off-putting directorial choices from Lauro David Chartrand-DelValle (Born to Raise Hell) with stylistic visual choices over steady, solid, camerawork. Not a fan, I'm afraid.

No, it's never going to win Oscars, and you have to stop yourself from shouting at every stupid choice made in the film, but Blackburn does what it sets out to do. Yes, it's low budget, yes a couple of the protagonists are very unlikable, and yes, they die as expected. It wants to be gross, gory, and worth watching. And that is exactly what it is.





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