Plot: Abby (Jaimi Paige) is still raw from the sudden death of her husband, but she tries to be strong for her own sake, as well as her son Sam (Toby Nichols). In an effort to find some peace and honor his memory, Abby plans a weekend retreat to the woods to scatter the ashes in nature. The two are joined by Abby’s best friend Jen (Alyshia Ochse), who has been a massive source of support for her friend, as well as someone that Sam seems to be receptive with. The camping excursion proves to be emotional for all involved, but there is some solace taken as well, at least until a mysterious figure begins to appear wherever they go. This man has long hair, dark sunglasses, and remains silent, but is always lurking around, close to their location. Who is this strange man and will this trip prove to be more tragic than cathartic?
Entertainment Value: Desolation is a lean, focused survival horror thriller that has some good atmosphere and tension, but suffers from a forgettable villain that drags down the movie. A nerd in dark sunglasses just doesn’t bring the heat here, but even with a weak bad guy, Desolation offers some solid thrills. I also think the bland villain was obvious to the filmmakers, as the character is limited in screen time and is a minor element until close to the finale. The narrative is simple, a family melodrama that turns into a survival horror run, but it is that drastic shift and lack of explanation that helps the movie work so well. I do think the film is a little slow at first, but we need to meet and connect with our leads, so it makes sense and once the chase begins, the pace picks up and never relents. While the villain is as dull as dishwater, I appreciated that the two female leads were interesting and skilled performers. Alyshia Ochse has a lot of charisma and screen presence, while Jaimi Paige is rock solid and handles the dramatic elements quite well. Desolation has some issues to be sure, but the positives outweigh the negatives and the movie is a solid watch.
No nakedness. There’s no sexual content involved beyond some small dick talk, so it makes sense that nudity is non existent. There is a nice bikini scene to open the movie, however. The violence is limited, given the low number of characters involved, so don’t expect a torrent of bloodshed here. The kinetic violence is very minimal, with almost all of the carnage off screen or in scenes we’re not shown at all, so aftermath is about all we are given here. But honestly, given how non threatening and bland the villain is, I doubt he could pull off horrific violence. I suppose the whole “what you don’t see is scarier” deal applies here, but I wouldn’t have minded a creative, splashy kill to give the movie a little extra punch. The dialogue here is passable, with the banter between the leads made better than it should be thanks to their performances. The two women seem to have a real, believable friendship and that makes their interactions effective, even when they’re making fun of someone’s small dick. The kid is beyond annoying, but it spices up the movie, as you can root for him to be killed. As for craziness, there’s not much to speak of here, just a straight forward experience.
Overall Insanity: 0/10