A couple's camping trip turns into a frightening ordeal when they stumble across the scene of a horrific crime.A couple's camping trip turns into a frightening ordeal when they stumble across the scene of a horrific crime.A couple's camping trip turns into a frightening ordeal when they stumble across the scene of a horrific crime.
On the surface, it tries in vain to put a fresh face on the Psycho Hillbilly From Hell movie. Killing Ground plays with time quite a bit in the first half of the film, sometimes to good effect in building suspense. Sometimes this backfires and convolutes scenes, as when the same character appears in two scenes back to back at different points in time. Hey, I love when filmmakers mix things up, but it's also a fragile ethos. When it backfires, it just draws attention to itself.
A lot of Killing Ground is like this. I found myself pondering film- critic-type questions (not a good sign) between checking my watch, such as "What is this film trying to achieve and what's it doing differently?" The answers are "I doubt if the filmmakers really know" and "Not much".
If you strip away all the stylized artifice, the competent acting, the technically good filmmaking, what do we really have here? Well, you basically have a slicker "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" slanted to tweak the emotions of the Middle Class (add yuppie heroes, add tykes in danger) or "Wolf Creek" with some really stupid villains (sorry, sadistic does not equal interesting).
None of the characters in Killing Ground are really very interesting, if you get down to it. Maybe that's not important to you, and with a strict thriller, it's not a requirement. Are the human characters in Evil Dead very interesting? Hell no. But with Sam Raimi bringing the freshness, who cares? Even Eden Lake (which has a very similar plot) brought villains with a slightly fresher edge.
Does Killing Ground just stink? No, it's a competent if not overly manipulative knock-off posing as an arty thriller. And that's just a little to ingenuous for me.
- Jul 23, 2017