Wilderness Michael J. Bassett

Wilderness Michael J. Bassett

Eli Roth could learn a thing or two from the Brits. If watching eyeballs dangle in Hostel made you squirm, consider a tall barf bag supply for Wilderness a smart investment. Michael J. Bassett’s latest gore porn centres on a group of young offenders who get shipped to a seemingly deserted island for some boot camp-style discipline. A prison-assigned warden goes along to remind them of why bullying a suicide victim named Davie (whom we learn very little about) was "juvenile and mean.” We’re introduced to four nasty dudes who fit The Lord of the Flies model perfectly: the bully, his henchman, the coward and the dangerous but ultimately human "John Bender” clone. In tow are three girls who are professionals at petty thievery, screaming and running around aimlessly. Despite his blatant jacking of other films (tiny totems hung from trees, à la Blair Witch, and forest-savvy psycho hunters, à la pretty much everything else), Bassett manages to get some earnest performances from the group of mostly unknowns and the dialogue manages to stay sharp and fresh, escaping the usual banality of survival movie clichés. Wilderness also succeeds in creatively offing its characters. Most gut-wrenching are Bassett’s use of man-eating King Shepherds (yes, man-eating), as well as human torching, not to mention a few poor souls getting filleted in a bevy of bear traps. Unfortunately the originality ends there. The plot slips from serious to downright silly quickly, making it difficult to care about our doomed toe-rags and their grey pasts. And let’s not get started on the inconsistencies. Luckily the special features give us some fun options, like an entertaining "on the set” play-by-play on how to dismember people in the movies, replete with bloopers and the like. There’s also a chance to get up close and personal with director Bassett when you select his name on the menu. If you’re thirsty for a stylised bloodbath, look no further. Just keep it on the "rentable” list. (Peace Arch)