River of Darkness (2011) Does Not Flow Gently
Beer and popcorn is highly recommended when watching some films—the beer somehow helps the story along and the popcorn can be thrown at the screen without damaging it. River of Darkness, now available on DVD, is not that kind of movie.
Boats in River of Darkness justify going right for Bob’s Pirate Punch, the heck with the beer. Don’t get me wrong, I love this movie. It is so incredibly bad, it totally redefines the concept. With dialogue like “How are you going to fight these demons from hell when you don’t have God on your side,” and a story that runs on inconsistency, River of Darkness is made for Bad-Movie-Night. Connoisseurs of terrible movies will want to watch it more than once or twice—at a sitting.
It’s a simple story—some chick claimed she was attacked by a country moron (a member of the Jacobs clan) thirty years ago, and her dad and his friends rounded up the moron, his brother, and father and threw them in the river where they drowned. The moron hadn't attacked the girl, and the threesome is back from their watery graves to exact revenge on the killers and their descendants (and, it seems, anyone who's in town).
It just so happens that the girl’s dad, Harvey Hix (S. William Hinzman), still lives in a ramshackle cabin in the woods; he hasn’t been in town in thirty years. The marauding dead apparently think the townspeople are stupid (I can’t imagine why), so they leave a hint on the first two bodies—“Hix” carved into a forehead and written on a sign attached to a body. Okay, so marauding dead are not always subtle—we already knew that.
Starring “some of wrestling’s biggest icons—Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash, and Psycho Sid Vicious,” River of Darkness is not as gory as it is dumb. The murders are pretty gruesome, but the audience doesn’t see much of that action. In fact, in one scene while the victim is being hacked to death, the camera focuses on reactions from two male witnesses (who both could stand some reacting lessons).
There are also some very good things in River of Darkness: a cool title, a diner (I love diners), sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, the preposterous ending, and Psycho Sid Vicious. About that last one…it’s not that he’s a great actor, I just love the audacity of his name; I don’t even know if he’s a great wrestler (is the term “wrestler/actor” redundant?).Continued on the next page