Movie Review: THE BARRENS
Once you get past the one big flaw of the film, which is actually several little flaws, then it’s pretty good. The big flaw that is really several small ones? The old cliche that people in Horror movies do stupid things. Like, if you saw the Jersey Devil in the Pine Barrens of New Jersey when you were a little boy, thus you know for a fact that Devil exists, why would you then, as an adult, return to the Barrens, and bring your family along with you? Maybe because your mind isn’t functioning properly. Okay. We’ll go with that. But if your husband-slash-father is acting in a bizarre manner, why would you go with him into the Pine Barrens on a camping trip, where he wants you to leave behind your cellphones, tablets, etc. and be cut off from civilization? And you just go along with that? See. People in Horror movies doing stupid things. A standard genre misfire.
If you can get past that, though, the film’s a lot of fun. It starts out with you thinking it’s one kind of movie, then it completely shifts gears and turns into a different kind of movie, then, satisfyingly, at the end, it goes back to being the kind of movie you thought it was in the first place. More succinctly, it’s a Monster movie, then it isn’t, then it is. There are a couple of plot holes, in addition to the ones already mentioned, but to comment on them would give away the “twist.” I’ll just bequeath this one a grade of B+, then, and leave it at that, crediting the cast with overall good acting, in particular lead actor Stephen Moyer (TRUE BLOOD), and writer/director Darren Lynn Bousman (REPO: THE GENETIC OPERA, ABATTOIR) with keeping it all between the lines and making it all work, in spite of those gaps in the fabric.