Roughly 20 minutes into the barnyard slasher flick "Pitchfork," the cast gathers on a dusty old Michigan farm and performs a fairly elaborate line-dance, halfway between Bollywood and a boot-scootin' boogie. It's a weird but welcome moment of personality in a horror exercise that's otherwise tediously routine.
Brian Raetz stars as Hunter Killian, a gay New Yorker who brings a group of his friends with him back to his hometown, where he plans to come out to his conservative father. But not long after Hunter arrives, both his family and his pals are stalked by a feral savage in an animal mask, who has a pitchfork stitched onto one of his arms.
Next to the big musical number, the look of the killer is the most indelible part of "Pitchfork." Director/co-writer Glenn Douglas Packard tries to bring a little style and color to the film by relying on off-kilter camera angles and cartoonish supporting characters. But he mostly stays within the narrow parameters of the "knocking off generically attractive youngsters one-by-one" movie, never getting campy enough, bizarre enough or satirical enough.
According to Packard's bio, he grew up on a Michigan farm before becoming a dancer and choreographer, which means he's put at least some small piece of himself into this picture. Next time, rather than using his personal experience as the foundation for a forgettable fright-flick, he should flip the formula. Keep the dancing, skip the stabbing.
Running time: 1 hour, 34 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinelounge, Hollywood