Abby (Jaimi Paige) and Sam (Toby Nichols), her teenaged Son, head out to the remote wilderness to scatter the remains of her husband with her best friend Jen (Alyshia Ochse) taggin’ along. Everything is pines n’ posies for our trio until a beardo-weirdo dubbed ‘The Hiker’ makes the scene and begins the ol’ stalk n’ slay business we laid down our shekels for after our heroes leave some wine bottles behind causing him to go rabid Woodsy.
Desolation has some good things going for it. For starters, the tension remains razor sharp throughout much of the run time once The Hiker shows up…which of course is a major plus for a fright flick. Speaking of the H-man; I dug his silent routine…he never utters a word, lurks menacingly, and besides those aforementioned wine bottles, he has el zippo for motivation…he’s just there, ready to kill, and our protagonists are merely in the wrong neck of the woods at the wrong time, which makes it a damn sight more terrifying in my beastly book! Additionally, the woods themselves (filmed in Utica, New York) are a nice dichotomy; both picturesque and devastatingly isolated in equal measure.
On the flip, Desolation takes a hit with the character of Sam…who of course ends up being more of an annoyance than anything for most of the picture (though Nichols’ acting in on point). While the kid never reaches the film breaking heights of that bastard in The Babadook, he definitely skirts the line. There’s also an eleventh hour twist that stretches the ol’ credibility a bit, but whateves.
Desolation is a solid slasher effort; The Hiker is full of menace (if not motivation), the locales are great, and the flick is wound tight with tension, and should satisfy fans of the genre!