There is a reason I don't watch many slasher movies, and movies like
"Hayride" are exactly the reason. It's not that I expect something new
or mind blowing, but sometimes I just wish more creativity was present.
And maybe more care. I can't for the life of me imagine anything that
would be more boring in the world of film than to sit down and write a
slasher script. What would be the point, even? Evidently there are
people who just love it, and that love making them, and "Hayride" is
just feeding it with the same snooze.
Besides being based on the redneck version of Haunted Houses, "Hayride"
is dressed in the same cloth as any other "masked-killer-returns"
horrors from late 70's an onwards. The movie is set on Halloween, and a
guy is returning home just in time for the Haunted Hayride. He is
bringing his girlfriend, but has made sure she understands where she's
going, telling her about his uncle, as well as his uncle's favorite
story to tell: the legend of Pitchfork. Pitchfork is said to be out
there looking for his daughter who ran away, but is the legend really
true? Pitchfork is the main focus on the Haunted Hayride. The only
problem is that the Pitchfork mask is gone, and little do they don't
know that someone else is taking upon the role of Pitchfork. Or is it
the real Pitchfork?
How did I do? Did I scare you enough? Did I build up lots of tension?
Did you start to question whether the legend is real or not? The movie
sure didn't do any of that. Now, it's not as bad as some backyard
flicks in its production, but at least those you can accept for the
fact that they are made with little care to begin with. "Hayride" is
low budget, sure, but it has the bland characters, unimaginative
antagonist and yawn-inducing violence that has nothing to do with
production values. There are some issues in the production values
themselves, but that's nothing new. You're quite prepared for stale
performances, day-for-night shots, pointlessly added CGI rain and blood
squirts, and so on. It's not really an issue for the movie. Of course,
it doesn't help it either.
The movie does try to give us a justified back story, and to its credit
it's not terrible. But they tell it in a really cheesy way, with an
overly stylized frame around the flashback, and it's really pushing it
in length. The story itself, that Pitchfork is out there looking for
his daughter that ran away, and killing everyone in the way, isn't too
shabby at all. It might not break new ground, but it's at least on par
with some much superior movies' back stories. And that's quite a
compliment, I think.
The kills in the movie are often nothing attention-worthy. I did enjoy
one kill somewhat: when someone wearing a cheap Jason Voorhees mask is
hit in the face with an axe, and the mask sticks to the axe. Even
that's stretching it. But I guess it's a simple thing to do, but was
creative enough to stand out in an otherwise lackluster slasher. The
amount of gore and blood isn't great, but it's enough for me to not be
overly annoyed about it, and just little enough so that I don't take
"Hayride" might appeal to some huge slasher fans. We're talking about
those who also love the hell out of the post-"Scream" phase that ended
sometime in the early 00's. "Hayride" isn't much more than that, and
probably worse than many of them. It's more in style with "Friday the
13th" and "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" (if you only count the chase scenes
towards the end) than "Scream", but you get the point. It's a slasher
flick in 2013 (2012), and it does absolutely nothing to break the mold.