Hey folks, Valkor here. And I welcome you to TOV's "30 in 30", where I'll review 30 unique film and maybe some not so unique, all in 30 days. What's cool for most of the flicks, is that I know nothing about em. So this should be a real treat not just for you guys, but for me as well. Good or bad, this is gonna be a fun month. It all starts today July the 4th and ends on Aug the 3rd. Can I make it through? We'll know soon enough!
Films such as Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, or even Cloverfield do nothing for me in terms of films done in shaky cam to freak me out. Absolutely nothing! But number 23 in the 30 for 30 does a damn good job of drawing out one of my fears. Check it out, it's Meadowoods. Oh ya! Spoilers ahead!
Meadowoods revolves around three college students who one day decides they want to commit a murder. Filmed amateur style, we follow along with the teens as they plot out, plan, choose their victim, finally committing the act. Their reasoning for doing it? Well there's Travis (Connor Thorp) who simply wants to do it for the rush, Steph (Michelle Roe) who simply hates people plus she wants to leave her mark and Ryan (Michael Downey) who just wants to film it all as a keepsake. It would appear that Ryan is the center of the film as he gets to ask all the questions, which center mostly on death and what does each one think of it. He even goes so far as to interview the victim, Kayla (IIa Schactler), who was chosen at random. When they finally get the victim cornered, Ryan has cold feet. As payback, Travis and Steph make Ryan throw them an apology party, to which Kayla is invited, and its then they put their plan to action – to bury Kayla alive, taunt her, and watch as she slowly dies.
I honestly thought this film would not cross that line and actually show Kayla in a box, but I'll be damned they did it and it is the most claustrophobic I have ever felt!
First off, anyone who has a thing against shaky cams may wanna steer clear of Meadowoods. Though not nearly as bad as say Blair Witch or Cloverfield, it's still enough to be annoyed. But I enjoyed the style, especially in a film of this nature, because it feels organic and real. The acting is a definite plus, especially towards the end, though Kayla shouting "Don't leave me alone!" while she's trapped in a box underground was a bit campy. But otherwise it's the acting that carries the story and the acting that sold me on the film. Now the ending completely freaked me out! I'm a touch claustrophobic, I don't get into serious panic attacks while in small places, but I sweat a little and get a bit nervous, and this… this just put me over the top. Watching Kayla underground was difficult… but I couldn't look away! And what's worse is that the box collapses freakin me out even more! Yikes! But overall great job!
Ryan wasn't as vocal expressing his concerns about not committing the murder as he should have been. He basically spouts out "this is crazy" or "We shouldn't be doing this" to himself, but if he really wanted to show he didn't want to do it, he should have expressed himself more forcefully, creating some serious tension. I mean buying the parts to build a box and digging a hole wasn't enough to think "hmmmm… this is a bad idea", his feelings only kick in when they first decide to kidnap Kayla. And speaking of Kayla – hated that interview! I was more pissed at Ryan for being pissed at Kayla. What the hell his job was to get inside her head not get her riled up! And when he starts taking things seriously, to me, he doesn't ask the right questions for me to really care about the fact that he wants her dead. What about questions about her friends, her school, life in general. The only thing we really learn is that her parents push her too hard and she doesn't want to be alone.
THE BOX CAVES IN!!! Sweet jeebus man!!!
Overall, Meadowoods is a definite freak out film that's a total trip to watch. From the moment it starts until the bitter end you'll be sucked in entirely, though some scenes drag you out, it will keep you interested long enough to find out the fate of these three teens. Out of TOV 5 stars, I give Meadowoods 3.5 stars and it's been Valkor Tested, TOV Approved!