The writer/director/actor Flood Reed throws everything including the kitchen sink at the screen in American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire and the result is glouriously gory but somewhat messy story wise as I’ll explain soon.
The story follows four guys (names Bro, Buddy, Dude-Guy, Kid) who are out to find a strip club that is a bit of a local secret. After crashing the car on the way there they are captured by local rednecks who will hunt them - however there is also a marauding band of ancient and brutal Vikings that happen to live in the woods…So as you can see there is a hell of a lot of ideas happening in the one space.
So first things first, the story is batshit crazy. With so many threads it’s really difficult to keep track of things. The film has some strange social commentary (or I am just reading into things) but there are no women characters bar strippers or college girls and there is a hell of a lot of male on male rape. So whilst they women are objectified, the males are certainly made to pay a physical price. Sure male on male rape by rednecks is nothing new in film (I don’t think anyone who has seen Deliverance will ever forget the ‘squeal like a pig for me’ scene) but this particular redneck group seems to be all very accepting and in fact quite insistent of this, it is even part of the ‘game’ they play during the hunt. They seem to use it as a power play over their victims (again nothing new) but also as a bonding experience with each other – oh yeah and of course when the rednecks hunt in pairs and one of them gets killed then the surviving redneck has to violate the corpse…not sure what all this is actually saying (if its saying anything at all) however it is a change to see guys being subjected to sexual assault in a film.
For a lower budgeted film, the gore in American Backwoods: Slew Hampshire is sloppy and gross - in the best way possible. Plenty of stabbing, cannibalism, severed body parts – and possibly the most outrageous gore scene I have ever witnessed…ever. I think that if the film concentrated on just one of the threads be it, the ancient Vikings or the raping rednecks it could been a tight little 80 minute kill fest, as it is - it becomes slightly more confusing than it needed to be and switching between plot strands slows the film down.
Reed’s direction is far better than his writing but he does have a wicked sense of black humour, evidenced in the names of the four main characters Bro, Buddy, Dude-Guy, Kid and some of the wonderful vernacular of the rednecks. The directing is good especially the staged gore set pieces but he also works hard within the constraints of the budget. The music is great, a mix of metal and score moments that work well together at key moments.
Uneven in parts and downright weird in others but one that doesn’t hold back in any way, shape or form, Reed has created some real mayhem and not only that but watchable mayhem, so if you like you rednecks anal rape happy and your Vikings brutal – this is the film for you.
Images: IMDb & Extremehorrorcinema.com