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When a young woman takes a trip down Rogue River, her car mysteriously disappears. Lost without transport or communication she accepts the hospitality of a stranger who offers her shelter for the night at his cabin. With no other options available, she reluctantly accepts only to forever regret it. The ensuing hours yield nothing but torture, indescribable pain, and horrific agony. Written by
ROGUE RIVER is one of those low budget horror films that feels like it has big aspirations. It wants to be the next big fear flick, the sort of film to have crowds flocking to theatres to get caught up in a thrilling journey into hell. Unfortunately it's an entirely predictable and routine affair, one that slavishly copies the plot of a dozen other movies (such as the Aussie flick THE LOVED ONES) while remaining singularly unsatisfying throughout.
The best thing ROGUE RIVER has going for it are some surprisingly decent production values, and effective cinematography to boot. Jourdan McClure certainly knows how to make his film look good on a budget, and there's none of that dodgy shaky cam editing to spoil things. The acting isn't too bad either; Michelle Page is a relatively likable heroine (until she starts making dumb decisions, that is) and Bill Moseley and Lucinda Jenney are quietly effective as the mysterious homeowners.
Unfortunately what sinks this is the calibre of writing, which just isn't up to much. For once I would like to watch a low budget horror film that avoids clichés, but I wonder if it will ever happen. There's the usual excursion into torture porn territory here (although thankfully nothing too distasteful), along with some extremely dumb character decisions in the second half that will make you despise the characters. I think of such moments as plot holes, designed purely to string a lacking plot out just a bit further, and they make ROGUE RIVER a disappointment.
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