“Haunt gone wrong” is a subject that has been done several times (The Funhouse, The Funhouse Massacre, The Houses October Built) to varying effect. The latest in this subgenre of films is Talon Falls, which centers on two couples who are on their way to a camping trip and are convinced to visit a haunt, where the patrons become part of the attraction. The movie was filmed in the actual Talon Falls Screampark in Kentucky, to add some realism. So how was the film? Read on for my thoughts.
This sinister tale follows a group of teenagers as they visit a Halloween horror theme park featuring gruesome exhibits whose hosts are dressed to the horror nines. The friends soon discover that the hyper realistic staged scares they are witnessing are very real and being performed on innocent victims by a clan of murderous lunatics that inhabit the park. They must quickly figure a way out before they become the next live torture attraction.
The movie, which stars Morgan Wiggins, Ryan Rudolph, Jordyn Rudolph and Brad Bell, was written and directed by Joshua Shreve and produced by Shreve, Jeff Steinborn and Leslie Mills, and executive produced by Todd Ferren and Kent Hammond. The film was a co-production with the well-known Talon Falls Screampark located in Melber, Kentucky, where the movie was also shot.
So when I read the synopsis for Talon Falls, it reminded me slightly of The Funhouse Massacre, which is a film I love. This got my expectations fairly high. The execution for the two films is far different, but luckily, Talon Falls doesn’t disappoint. It starts out like your standard slasher with a group of teens going on a trip. They stop at a gas station, where the attendant (who is fucking hilarious) recommend they hit up Talon Falls, a local haunt, as they pass through. They decide to give it a shot, which they soon find out was a really bad idea.
The film goes on to add some torture elements to the slasher proceedings. Thankfully, it balances the two extremely well and doesn’t devolve into senseless torture porn, cutting back and forth between brief torture segments and slasher sequences. The kills and grue are fairly nasty, including a man being eaten by a dog, electrocutions, fingernails getting ripped off, stabbings and more.
The main characters, with the exception of one, were all fairly likable and the cast did a great job with their respective roles. I’m used to slasher characters being on the stupid side, usually feeling like they brought on their own fate. I didn’t feel like that was the case here. The characters just wanted to enjoy their vacation and did nothing to provoke anyone. They also are fairly intelligent, working together with other patrons for their mutual benefit.
The workers at the haunt didn’t come off very threatening separately, but they work together and monitor the visitors’ every move with surveillance cameras. There were two things in this movie that genuinely unnerved me: The fact that they could murder people in front of customers, who were none the wiser, and that it was very clearly shown that these people have been at this for some time with no plans to stop. Check out the picture below to see what I mean.
Talon Falls is a fun and twisted melding of the slasher and torture subgenres that features a great young cast playing a group of characters that aren’t your typical slasher film idiots. The kills are pretty brutal and nasty but never go too far over the top. The film manages to be genuinely tense and unnerving. If you like slasher/torture films, give Talon Falls a watch. You can check it out for free if you have Amazon Prime.