Dead Woman's Hollow (2013)

Summary: Based on a shocking true crime that took place on the Appalachian trail. Two female students set off for a camping trip into the Pennsylvania woods - but they are hunted, shot and left for dead by a mountain man after he discovers they are lesbians. A local sheriff soon begins to piece together more unsolved disappearances and murders on the trail, but can he act in time to stop more killings.

I was a bit hesitant going into this movie. I was expecting the standard independent horror film complete with a shaky camera, bad acting, and a weak script. Not to say that some of those qualities weren't in it, I must say I was surprised by the overall product. I wouldn't say I was blown away by it, or that it was a great movie, but it was better than I was anticipating. I'm not really sure how I would classify this. It's definitely not a horror movie. For the most part, it's strictly a predator/prey movie. I wouldn't say it's psychological because the mountain man doesn't really play games or set traps or do anything to mess with the girls. He just follows and watches. I'm not even sure that the girls realized that he was stalking him. Every time they crossed paths with him, they seemed to brush it off to coincidence.

So the movie starts off with some guy bird watching and he sees a naked girl walk out of the woods and start walking down the railroad tracks. He calls for help, an ambulance comes and gets her, and that's pretty much the end of that story. Not 100% sure of the relevance of that. The movie then goes to a man at a sheriff's office reporting that his girlfriend is missing after going hiking in the woods. The sheriff gets a call that there is a body in the morgue and after he goes to see it, it ends up being the girl reported missing. The movie kind of takes a Tarantino approach from there in the sense that the time line jumps around a little bit. The main portion of the story is about the dead girl. Her name is Jen and when we are first introduced to her she is outside of a diner smoking a cigarette and attempting to call her boyfriend. They don't immediately lead on that she is a victim of domestic abuse but with her wardrobe and actions, it was pretty obvious. That is a huge compliment to the actress for being able to get that across in such a short time without it having to be said. Then we are introduced to her friend Donna who is inside the diner. In a very brief conversation with the waitress, we realize real fast that Donna is basically a bitch. Once Jen returns to the table, there is a discussion between her and Donna that unfortunately gives you the heads up on the quality of the dialogue The conversation didn't feel genuine at all. It seemed like to girls, using big words just to show off their college educations. Not a conversation you would expect between two friends. However, from what we could get out of the conversation, Donna is taking Jen into the woods for something, we find out later that it's to take a nude photo shoot for a piece about domestic violence. They leave the diner an stop at a gas station where Jen goes inside to ask for directions and it does lead to what could potentially be one of my favorite movie quotes of all time.

Jen: Isn't that what happened in Deliverance?
Cashier: Burt Reynolds... no mustache... Ohh la la
Jen: Ned Beatty... no pants... no thank you

Once they get into the woods, the true story really begins. Donna follows Jen, taking pictures of her as as she goes throughout the woods. During one of the rest stops, Donna makes a pass at Jen. Now the whole thing begins to bring on a new light. Donna is friends with Jen and she wants to do this photoshoot but her alterior motive is that she wants to sleep with Jen. And with very little effort, she does. Because a trend that Jen follows strongly throughout the movie is that she buckles to peer pressure easier than anyone I've ever seen. The whole time they were walking through the woods, they were being followed by the mountain man. Sometimes they saw him there, sometimes they didn't. That is, up until the end of the movie when he joins them at their camp fire. Up until this point, I was actually enjoying the movie. It spent a lot of time jumping back and forth between them in the woods and the “after math” of the sheriff investigating their murder. I wouldn't say it was blowing me away but it was doing enough to keep me involved. Until this point. This is where the movie got very confusing and unbelievable. For one, the bitch version of Donna that we first met is back at full force. It was one thing for her to treat a waitress horribly but to insult a mountain man... who has a rifle.... in the middle of the woods; now that's just a whole new lever of stupid. The mountain man tells the girl about his back story and how he is served time in jail. Apparently it all makes sense to Donna now. She thinks that the man has been following them because he saw them “together” earlier and wants another free show. She convinces Jen to make out with her right in front of him. Jen doesn't really want to but like I said, peer pressure is a killer. When they are done making out, the mountain man is gone and then the mayhem begins. The man walked a short distance away, pulled out his rifle, and opened fire on the girls. He was right in front of them but for some reason had to walk away to pull the trigger. First shot nails Jen in the head but wasn't a kill shot. Somehow while she was on the ground he managed to hit her a few more times. He also shot Donna a few times but she apparently shook them off long enough to run to a road where she is rescued by a passing car.

As I said, I was surprised by this movie. It was better than I had anticipated it being. However, it wasn't enough for me to say that it was a solid movie. The end did ruin it a bit for me. To many unanswered questions and pointless sub-stories. This might be worth the watch if you see it on TV or some stream somewhere. Definitely not worth going out of your way to find it though.

reviewed by Bobby

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