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Local Legend the Haw Ridge Devil (2004)
Movie Review by The Gravedigger

Local Legend the Haw Ridge Devil (2004) Yes, that's the title.An independent movie is not an easy thing to make, particularly if it's your first movie. Most of the battle is just getting the thing completed. And with first movies you often learn as you make it...Somewhere in Tennessee there is this monster that starts attacking people. It looks just like the Tazmanian Devil from the Warner Brothers Bugs Bunny cartoons but is green with black fur. The way it attacks people is like a football player-tackling and hugging them to the ground while make these lion-like noises. It doesn't seem to actually eat them, though. It just makes them a bloody mess.We're introduced to a lot of different people, most of them hicks, and they are shortly killed thereafter. In between the killings are these really really really slow montage scenes of the forest, which I suppose are for mood. It gave me plenty of time to get up, get something to snack on, go to the bathroom, let the dog out, et cetera. It turns out that there is more than one monster-and a really big one appears at the end of the movie. It's done with stop-motion-animation and I liked it-cheesy but entertaining. It happens so quickly it kind of takes you by surprise.The problem I had with the movie was on the technical side. In one scene someone will be talking to another person-and when we go to that other person the color of the film is different, either redish or bluish tinged. And then it might go to a wide shot, which is overexposed. I don't know if the scenes were shot on different days or if it was just the Super 8mm film stock, but the effect is truly jarring. It simply doesn't cut together. Then, later in the film some scenes are shot in video-and then go back to film-and maybe back to video again. The dialogue is all audible but I suspect it was recorded with the Super 8mm camera microphone-and the result is as if hearing these people with country accents talk through tin cans. The title credits are way too long-and consist of a POV shot of something running through the forest in this weird strobe effect. It's cool looking for maybe fifteen seconds...not three minutes!The special effects are okay but not the most realistic. In one scene a woman is attacked by the creature and then she's found alive by some people. She stands up and we see that her entire throat and neck is exposed-you can even see the bones-yet she's talking! Not an appropriate makeup appliance.On the plus side the movie is entertaining, but I think not in the way the filmmakers intended. If a MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATRE scenario was done to it, with people making comments-or even putting a completely different, comedic dialogue track in, the movie would be so much the better.For more information email tmphutchens@msn.com
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