Reviews

Review: Madison County

I remember a few weeks ago when I saw Ryan post a news item about a movie coming out called Madison County and my interest was piqued because there is a Madison County not too far away from my home town. I asked to be put on the review train for this DVD. I thought it would just be good fun to watch a movie named after a place I’ve known all my life, I was wrong. It was not fun.

Madison County is one of the most banal movies I’ve seen in quite some time. I’m no stranger to horror movies, I’m quite a big fan of a lot of them, but when something in the genre is content with being immersed in the tropes with no attempt at trying new things or being fun it’s just a pain to watch.

It starts, as you can imagine, with kids going on a camping trip, but there’s a secret about the place they are going to that not everyone knows about (hint: there’s a killer). Kids get freaked out, have odd encounters with strangers and do a lot of standing around and talking. Here’s where I got the most perturbed.

Based on the cover of this movie and the tagline “Kiss your axe goodbye” I assumed this movie would know how to have fun, not take itself so seriously, and have enough rolling heads to satisfy my thirst. Again, I was wrong. Madison County tries to be a serious movie. It plays out like a tired teenage melodrama instead of a horror movie. I will give it credit that it’s at least trying to coalesce a story out of these characters, but it’s not an interesting one.

The next thing that really got me irritated was, as I said, the sheer amount of standing around and talking. This movie fits under the rules of so many other bad movies and follows the rule of “Oh, we want people to jump at this, PLAY A REALLY LOUD NOISE.” I do not like this and you shouldn’t either. Was this a conscious move by the filmmaker? I can only assume it was considering it happens about three times and the majority of those times it’s nothing the viewer should be scared of – even further than that, we see the thing that’s about to “scare us” walking up in the background, albeit out of focus. How are we supposed to be surprised or scared by something when we can see it walking toward our screen?

I will compliment Madison County on it’s villain design and gore. The killer, while more like a tiny Leatherface than anything, has a cool look to him and an interesting aesthetic. The kills also get better as the movie goes along – well, some of them do at least, and they’re quite good considering the snoozefest that the rest of the movie is.

Madison County is not original, follows a lot of the patterns that we’ve seen in other cliché horror movies and doesn’t do much to distinguish itself from other entries in the genre. It’s muddled down by poor performances, unnecessarily long exposition and ludicrous “twists” that are as visible as Godzilla.