Deadfall Trail (2009) – Review

3 Stars

Deadfall Trail breaks the current low budget mold and brings back the good old days of 1990’s indie flicks. Director Roze has created one hell of a calling card with this film. Granted Deadfall Trail was shot on video (Red camera, if you can really count that as video), and in most instances there is a dead giveaway to that, although the picture quality and lighting are stunning. Cinematographer Tari Segal has captured the wilderness in such a way that you feel as if you’re there. This isn’t a movie filmed on a soundstage, but in the mountains just beyond your own backyard.

Deadfall is being billed as a ‘Thriller/Horror’, but it’s far more complex and much harder to put into any one or two categories. There are drama, thriller, horror and action aspects to it that really make this film shine. Instead of the classic guys go deep into wilderness and are attacked by crazy hicks idea, Deadfall takes an alternate route. We get to see how a crazy blood thirsty hick gets out there in the first place. Shane Dean plays this role so incredibly well, I would never be caught on a hiking trip with him.

The story centers around three men, John and Julian (older/experienced trails-men) and Paul (much younger and very inexperienced), going on a ritual trip deep into the mountains. They take nothing but the clothes on their backs, forcing themselves to survive on the land itself. John is the leader and has taught everything he knows to Julian. They have been on these outings many times before. Julian hates the idea of taking Paul along, and Paul must prove to him that he is more than capable. In one gross out scene Paul drinks his own urine after running out of water. Slade Hall, Shane Dean and Cavin Gray Schneider play off each other in a realistic manner, lending credibility to the storyline. Things go bad when John gets hurt, and they must get him back to civilization before he dies. Of course things go from bad to worse when Julian begins to lose his mind. He winds up taking John’s life to spare him the pain he is in. So far drama, but now comes the horror: He does so by bashing his head in with a large rock. Paul realizes how gone Julian is and now must escape if he wants to live. The hunt is on. This may sound exciting, but be warned this is a slow moving film. The first half is about how these men use their skills to survive off the land, but several montages set to Jason Camiolo’s masterful score will keep you interested. Simply hearing this music will conjure up images of wooded hills and grassy meadows.

Overall this film outdoes what is currently on the market for indie films. My opinion: definitely worth checking out, and maybe even hunting down if you have to.

Director: Roze
Stars: Slade Hall, Shane Dean, Cavin Gray Schneider

8 thoughts on “Deadfall Trail (2009) – Review

  1. Love the trailer – I’ve been looking forward to this film for a long time. I’m headed to Phoenix Film Festival on April 9th to see it on the big screen!

  2. I also saw an advanced copy and agree it is excellent! Great review and description of the film. Definitely NOT your typical poorly done indie flick (like you would see on SYFY or something)- acting was great, very high quality look to it, excellent original musical score. Does a great job of building the tension and sustaining it! Well worth making the trip to the Phoenix Film Festival to see. I heard they are looking for a domestic distributor and hopefully they will get one soon so this movie can be seen nationwide like it deserves.

  3. I got to see an advanced copy and would agree with everything Trevor had to say. Pretty much took the words right out of my mouth, great job.

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