Plot: Steven (Jeremy Ivy) is headed back home for a family tradition, but this year, he is bringing his new girlfriend with him. He is excited to introduce Amanda (Sherri Eakin) to his friends, but is a little worried his uncle Morgan (Richard Tyson) might be a too much for her to handle. Morgan is obsessed with Halloween and has a big persona, so he comes off a little abrasive at times, not to mention he loves to flirt and hit on any pretty girls he encounters. He also happens to run a popular haunted hayride, a local tradition and this year, he expects it to be bigger and better than ever. But as the group prepares for the event, they’re unaware that a killer lurks in their midst, even as they try to scare each other with tales of Pitchfork, a local legend. But when bodies start to turn up, is it just a random killer or is Pitchfork all too real?
Entertainment Value: The premise here is a fun one, as a killer is loose during a haunted hayride tour, which lines up plenty of potential kills and a cool backdrop for the all the carnage. And Hayride is a solid indie slasher, but it does run a little slow and seems afraid to go for broke, which results in some tame kills and a refusal to lean on camp elements. The story here is fine, but the tone isn’t that serious and the scares are minimal, so I wish the writers would have ran with that and gave us some wild lines, but no such luck. Instead, we’re handed a lot of exposition and local folklore, none of which makes much sense or adds to the experience. But once the kills kick in, the pace quickens and I liked the Pitchfork persona, even if it is very derivative. I just love murderous rednecks, so I have a soft spot for old Pitchfork, I suppose. The cast is passable here, but the standouts are Sherri Eakin and veteran Richard Tyson, who turn in memorable efforts. I wish Hayride was either scarier or funnier, but in the end, it is a watchable indie slasher at best.
No nakedness. Tyson is a fun perv, but no sexual content whatsoever takes place on this haunted ride. A little bloodshed, but not much. I like the idea of a lumbering redneck offing teens with a pitchfork, but I need some blood flowing, which Hayride doesn’t come through with. Most of the violence is just off screen, or the effect is set up to where we don’t see the spurts of crimson as it happens. So most of the blood is aftermath red stuff, which isn’t as much fun. The dialogue is fine, but aside from Tyson’s creepy old perv remarks, there’s not much that stands out. A little more colorful dialogue or interesting characters would have worked wonders here, I think. The same holds true for general craziness, as Hayride tries to ride the line between humor and horror, with bland and predictable results.
Overall Insanity: 0/10