This morning I sat down to watch Glenn Douglas Packard’s slasher ‘Pitchfork’. Watching a director’s first film is always interesting. You never know what to expect, usually it’s hit or miss. This time, I was pleasantly surprised, especially considering that this is Packard’s first real introduction into the genre.
Packard’s well known for his work as a dancer and choreographer. He also serves as creative director and producer for the new series Men of the Strip on the E! Network. This Prime Time Emmy Award nominee has racked up quite a few awards, including two Fright Night Film Festival awards for Best Director and Best Feature Film for ‘Pitchfork’.
‘Pitchfork’ follows a young man who “recently shared a life-changing secret with his family, Hunter recruits his friends to come with him from New York to the farm where he grew up as he faces his parents for the first time. As the college students enjoy the fresh air of Michigan farm country, an older, more dangerous secret slowly emerges. While Hunter navigates a new place within his conservative family, a vicious creature from their past descends on the farm, putting the unsuspecting city kids in mortal danger.”
The film opens with a group of young adults on a road trip to Hunter’s (Brian Raetz) family’s farm. Once they arrive you can feel the tension between Hunter and his father (Derek Reynolds). Early on his mother (Carol Ludwick) drives home the point that Hunter’s sister (Addisyn Wallace) is good with animals. That will be an important point later in the movie. Not longer after arriving at the farm the group of friends begin getting ready to have a barn dance. I have to say, I was impressed with the choreography in the barn dance scene, but it’s no surprise considering Packard’s background.
The film is a slasher, so of course lots of people get killed throughout the movie. I was surprised that there was such little gore. As for the killer, played by Daniel Wilkinson, he was unique and fit the farm theme perfectly, I mean come on, he has a pitchfork for a hand. I did have one big issue with the killer, I felt sorry for him. It’s hard to fear a killer that you feel sympathy for. He clearly had some kind of mental problem and had a history of suffering abuse and torture that made him the killer he is.
Almost every victim in the film broke one or more of the classic horror 10 Commandments, such as “though shall not have sex”, “though shall not drink or do drugs.”, ect… It would have been nice to see a departure from that. We see it too often and frankly it gives away spoilers. After we see a character break those rules we all know they’re going to die.
There was one element that I really appreciated. I despise when a movie is too dark to see the action, I complain about it a lot in my reviews, that was not an issue in this movie. The entire film is well lit, even at night and in most cases, the lighting added an element of spookiness to the setting.
Brian Raetz did a nice job with his role as the lead, everyone did. But I was most impressed with young Addisyn Wallace, especially in the final moments of the film. I expect that we will see a lot more of her in the future.
Lindsey Nicole, Brian Raetz, Ryan Moore, Celina Beach, Keith Webb, Sheila Leason, Nicole Dambro, Vibhu Raghave, Rachel Carter, Andrew Dawe-Collins, Carol Ludwick, Derek Reynolds, Addisyn Wallace and Anisbel Lopez co-star.
There was a lot of action and several twists, which was very nice. I did like the ending, which left it open for a sequel. Over all, I enjoyed ‘Pitchfork’. There were a lot of elements that we haven’t seen before. And to watch a movie with a unique villain is something we don’t get often these days. I recommend that you check out ‘Pitchfork’, which will arrive in theaters and on Demand on January 13th from Uncork’d Entertainment.