I’m just going to come out and say this right now, no hyperbole – American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire is the kind of indie horror movie every filmmaker should aspire to make. It is such a well put together production, with a great story, incredible acting, and some extremely brutal practical gore effects, you’ll almost forget that you’re watching an indie, but without getting the feeling of watching a glossed-over Hollywood schlock-fest, either.
Slew Hampshire follows the story of four lifelong friends who are setting up a road trip, intent on driving to northern New Hampshire for one last hurrah before they head off to college. With plans of drinking, debauchery, and underground strip clubs – a right of passage in their small town – the four friends set out down the old country back roads. A minor accident forces them off the road, and unfortunately into the world of a group of sick, backwoods New Hampshire hillbillies, out “game” hunting, who are insatiable in their sexual lust for young teen boys. Aside from the raping hicks, the teens must also contest with a group of mystical Nordic men who have trapped young girls in their wooded camp, and who are apparently very hungry for entrails.
The dialog in the film comes across very naturally, and I think that is a good mix of both the very creative, very well-written story, and the superb acting. The film itself starts out almost as a comedy with some hilarious one-liners (“I love it when you jerk me off with your asshole, boss!“), but delves quickly into very dark and straight-up horror, featuring some extremely grisly, practical special FX. Rue Morgue Magazine chose this film as “Goriest Scene” in a horror film in their 2013 year-in-review issue, and it definitely has plenty of brutal violence and brutality. Certainly enough to keep a gore-hound like me happy.
Stand-out performances by all of the cast, most of whom have no major titles under their belts, and especially true of Dayo Okeniyi, who plays one of the lead characters, Bro, and is an excellent actor. Since the movie was shot, Okeniyi has gone on to several major films, including a part in Runner Runner with Ben Affleck, and the upcoming Terminator: Genisys with Arnold Schwarzenegger. Also, I have to mention a fantastic performance by relative newcomer Tyler Rice as Dude-Guy, who was extremely funny throughout. The entire cast, though, deserves applause, as they were all fantastic. I also need to point out the quick cameo by New Hampshire comedy band The Super Secret Project, who appear in the film and also have a couple songs on the kickass soundtrack.
Although the movie has an official release date on IMDb of 2013, the film is just making it to DVD and On-Demand this week, finally making it into the hands of a pretty large group of social media followers who have been patiently waiting to get their dirty, horror-loving mitts on a copy. Flood Reed has said that this is his love letter to the state of New Hampshire, and as someone who spent most of my life there and is a born-and-raised New Englander, I can honestly say that I don’t think there would be a better way to sign a love letter to the Granite State than with a slew of blood, gore, and even some great laughs.