The Anniversary At Shallow Creek
The problem with trends in horror is that, well, they become trends. It isn’t always a bad thing as it happens with every aspect of the entertainment industry – you produce what sells. The hope you have as a consumer is that the work produced is good. Or at least entertaining. Cycles is what they call it and cycles they are but sometimes these cycles take a while to run themselves out. Anniversary finds itself at the end of a cycle that hit a few years back with The Strangers and that was films about people beset by a stranger/strangers killing them seemingly at random. Thankfully this is one of the better entries into that subgenre but it just seems to be lacking something that keeps it from being really good.
Anniversary follows six friends as they head just outside of LA to the remote home of an uncle of one of the young people for a weekend away from their stressful lives. It was meant to be a romantic get-away but plans change when one of the couple’s friends invites him and some other friends along and suddenly it’s a big getaway, the hope for romance spoiled. Once away from the city though the anniversary couple opens up to the idea of a shared trip and all of the friends begin to enjoy their time together. Things get strange for the friends when a neighbor boy forces himself into the group, telling them how his parents are away and his older sister is not exactly being the most responsible babysitter. The friends have fun hanging out with the boy but things become suddenly dangerous when a masked stranger begins stalking them with a rifle. One by one the friends fall to the stranger, who has them trapped inside the home that was supposed to be their escape, and unless they can find a way to stop him, none of them may make it back to the humdrum drone of their everyday lives.
An adequately made film with passable acting, the big issue here is that there is a lack of logic at the heart of the movie. Saying that there’s a lack of logic is not to say that horror films are known for their logic but that there are just a lot of things here that stand out and cause issues when watching. Too often in horror films things are set up for the protagonists to be sheep for the slaughter and while this often true in life, it is too often true in movies. I am sure most of us would fall pre y to our fear and do stupid things but Anniversary has this happen far, far too often. There just isn’t a point where people fight back until it’s too late. There are some genuine surprises, some good twists, and the direction the film takes is interesting but there is just nothing new here to recommend it. If you are a fan of these films, of the subgenre, whatever you call it, then you will probably enjoy it, but there is nothing new to see. I give it that the story takes a very interesting turn, and for that it gets credit, but it’s still nothing we haven’t seen.
A capable film that, while not astounding is certainly watchable. Shot on vid, the movie looks pretty good and has a decent pace it’s just too familiar and lacks any spark of originality past the ember of the ending so it’s another mid-week rental if you are curious.
6 out of 10