The Anniversary at Shallow Creek Movie Review

Written by TGM

DVD released by Vicious Circle Films

Directed by Jon D Wagner
Written by Eric Fischer & Brianna Lee Johnson
2010, 89 minutes, Rated PG-13, NTSC
DVD released on July 5th, 2011

Katharine Brandt as Lindsay 
Annie Burgstede as Katie 
Anthony Campanello as Jeremy 
Eric Fischer as Sam 
Brianna Lee Johnson as Paige 
Jay Laisne as Jim 
Marina Lyon as Betsey 
Brick Patrick as Anthony 
Jeff Perry as Cashier 
Pia Pownall as Melissa


Lithium, 1200 milligrams by mouth, three times daily.  That is one of the more widely accepted treatments for bipolar disorder, a condition characterized by serious shifts in thinking, mood, tone, and behavior. That would be my most sincere recommendation for those responsible for writing the screenplay for The Anniversary at Shallow Creek, a marginally decent horror/thriller that squanders the opportunity to be amazing with its habitual changes in exactly what type of horror flick it wants to be.

This movie starts out with a bang (literally and figuratively), with an opening scene as chilling as the original Scream.  Unfortunately this auspicious beginning precedes thirty minutes of bland exposition that sets up a plot involving a couple of medical school students who head off to a secluded cabin for a romantic weekend.  Of course, just before they leave, a slew of their irritating friends find out about their plans and invite themselves along for the ride.  Since there is not a likeable soul in the group, when the shit finally hits the fan, you will be hard pressed to root for any of them to survive.

Once at the cabin, the pace mercifully picks up, albeit briefly, when our annoying band of twenty-something stereotypes soon find themselves the prey of a sociopathic sniper who starts to pick them off one by one.  If only the choice was made to keep the “crazy sniper” aspect going throughout the remainder of the film then this might very well be a glowing review of a taut and claustrophobic masterpiece as these are the moments that are tremendously effective and highly entertaining. Unfortunately once the killer decides to become a bit more intimate by dropping the rifle and picking up a knife, The Anniversary at Shallow Creek becomes a run-of-the-mill slasher flick with all of the standard cliches usually associated with that genre.  Ten minutes and another shift in tone later we now find ourselves in the midst of a watered down torture porn parody where the killer captures one of the group and makes them choose which unconscious friend should die a sadistic death.  Oddly enough, when the time comes, the death is relatively tame and woefully anticlimactic.  Sadly, all of these continual genre “reboots” are so jarring that it prevents The Anniversary at Shallow Creek from maintaining any momentum or sustaining any level of true suspense.

The thought of a trigger-happy crazed sniper who gets his jollies by terrorizing coeds holed up in a glass-enclosed cabin is fantastically frightening and well deserving of an entire movie all its own.  It’s simply not something to be relegated to the back burner, acting only as a setup to a bunch of tired horror cliches that have been done a thousand times before.

Video, Audio and Special features:

Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.


Video: n/a
Audio: n/a
Features: n/a

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