Genre films seems to always have an uncanny way of being a reflection of the actual horrors that surround our society and environment. For instance, the horror films of the 1970's where a complete departure from the elegant and elaborate Hammer films of the 1960's, they where molded from a less optimistic cloth, covered in despair and the instinct to survive in a hostile and ever changing culture. It all began to go terribly wrong in 1970; Nixon , Viet Nam , the death of Janis Joplin , and the rise of the anti establishment punk rock movement , it was all a downhill journey from here on out. The horror films of the 1970's were based on fears grounded in reality as opposed to that of a supernatural nature , the enemy was right outside maybe even in your own backyard. No one was safe from the ever growing danger and hostility of a cruel and unpredictable world, the survival horror film was born. Within the past several years we have seen a resurgence of film makers trying desperately to capture that same aesthetic feel and genuine terror that those films so effortlessly created. Film makers have tried time and time again to recapture that magic with the use of shaky cams and various other forms of nostalgia inducing forms of cinematic methods, forgetting the fact that the reasons these films succeeded in the first place was not because of the off balance nature of the picture quality but the audacity and authentication that went into creating the scenarios. These films were frightening because they were relevant to the time and prayed on the fears that threatened society directly, feeding into the paranoia that hide around every corner.
Director Alan Rowe Kelly has created what I believe to be the first legitimate piece of survival horror to emerge from the genre in the last decade A Far Cry From Home , it is a relentless piece of cinema that dives deep into very real social issues and uses them to spring board into a tale of madness and terror that is one of, if no the most , galvanizing film experiences I have ever had.
A Far Cry From Home tells the gruesome tale of a young gay couple ( played brilliantly by Alan Rowe Kelly and Don Money ) who make a pit stop at a run down antique store while driving through the backwoods of New Jersey. Unknown to the couple the dwelling is inhabited by a group of radical ultra religious fanatics who hold a severe dislike for people of " alternative" lifestyles. What follows is a decent into pure terror and madness the likes this old girl has never seen.
All across the board the acting is amazing, both Kelly and Money are able to create a couple that is rooted in reality.Despite the arguing and turmoil that initially bubbles to the surface you can tell that there is a genuine love between both men that is both refreshing and enduring, which makes the hell they go through all the more relentless and hard to watch.But it is Kelly who truly stands out in what can only be described as one of the most emotionally and physically draining roles I have ever seen in genre cinema, the raw fear and emotion that he exudes is genius. It is a performance that DEMANDS attention and elevates the film to a completely different level. The mental humiliation and physical torture that this character endures will literally leave you breathless. The main component that works for this film is the reality that it is rooted in , we are given a group of villains that could come across as either over the top or morbid in any other film. The actors on hand do an exceptional job of injecting these terrible people with the perfect amount of nastiness and sleaze while not taking it into the " camp " territory. These are evil fucking people that are proud of what they do. Kelly and genius cinematographer Bart Mastronardi have created a landscape that radiates with the genuine beauty of nature. The film slowly makes its decent into living hell and the shadows become more and more violent, the sun that once created a beautiful backdrop becomes hidden behind a forest of gnarled trees and bushes and the beauty moves over to make way for darkness and depravity. It is a very beautiful and visually striking film that is rich in both atmosphere and style.
If it seems as if I am being more than a little vague on the specifics of the story itself, I am. A Far Cry From Home is best experienced first hand, it is not a film that can be explained or defined by any one person or news source, it is rather an emotion or an experience. Alan Rowe Kelly has taken a topic that is very much relevant to the time we live in and weaved it into a story of survival and madness that is one of the most important contributions to the genre since the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. However, unlike its brethren this is a film that is not given any doses of levity to lighten up the situation, once the shit hits the fan it is a straight up ride into hell. This is the kind of film that us horror fans wait to discover, a thoughtful and original work of genre cinema that doesn't water down it's horrifying content for mainstream audiences. I FUCKING LOVED IT !!
What do you say, babies ?