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Darren Lynn Bousman
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This movie is about the Vineyard family and their trip to the New Jersey Pine Barrens. There is a legend that the Jersey Devil lives in these woods. It came about after a woman known as Mother Leeds had 13 children, but she offered up the 13th child to the Devil so she and her other children didn't have to leave their house as they were going to be forced out by the town folk because she was having too many kids in the area back in the 1700s. So it's now the present, and the Vineyard family are going to camp there so the father (Stephen Moyer) can release his father's ashes. But while there they hear that someone has gone missing, and Richard (Moyer) thinks it's the work of the Jersey Devil. So they move their camp site to get away from the rest of the campers only to find that they're in more trouble than they were before. But is the legend of the Jersey Devil real, or is it just another story? Written by
Michael Hallows Eve
The Barrens is a moody and atmospheric horror thriller set in New Jersey's famous Pine Barrens and dealing with it's legendary occupant. Stephen Moyer (whose heavy Australian accent is odd here since he is playing someone who has lived here since childhood) plays an emotionally troubled man taking his wife (Mia Kirshner with delightfully distracting cleavage) and family (Allie MacDonald and Peter DaCunha) on a family camping trip to the Pine Barrens. But, not only is Moyer's Richard a bit stressed, he also has been bitten by a dog that might have rabies. Add to that having possibly seen the Jersey Devil as a child and we have a great mix for a really interesting family outing. Despite it's convoluted set-up, Barrens is actually an entertaining horror. Obviously Moyer starts to see things and then people start to go missing and we are left to wonder is Richard hallucinating or is the Jersey Devil real and poor delusional dad taking blame for it's actions. And I must say Darren Lynn Bousman keeps you guessing and keeps the film filled with an atmosphere of dread as we slowly learn what's going on... or do we? That's what makes this deliberately paced thriller work so well, just when we think we have the facts, we get handed more reasons to doubt. The cast all perform well, Kirshner is a little too deadpan at times but, not enough to hurt the film. I personally liked her hot girl-next-door MILF because she wasn't playing the role that way, it came across naturally. There is some nice gore and make up effects to go along with Bousman's visual style which is one thing he always delivers whether his films work or not. They always look good. All in all probably the best film I've seen on the subject of Jersey's most elusive resident so far and while Bousman does give us a definitive answer by the last shot... you'll have to investigate The Barrens to find out what it is.
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