Before the opening credits title cards inform the viewer of the back-story, that in 1972 four campers died in what appeared to be a mass murder near Sweetwater, Oregon. The FBI investigated and concluded that the teens committed suicide although the town's people didn't agree, because they knew of the 'dark forces' in the area. In 2002 six young campers headed to the same campsite but were unaware of the peril they were in, this is their story…
Ok it's a fairly weak premise but it has a lot of scope to go anywhere. We start with some dizzying opening credits then start the film with a young man looking into a remote diner then running back to the SUV where his five mates (3 girls, 2 boys) are sitting and tells them how good the food looks. The actors are all over acting and seem, perhaps, a little too enthusiastic, but it's usually a good sign that the cast appear to be having fun.
We have many conventions of the classic slasher sub-genre starting to unfold, the teens are all coupled although not married and appear to be sexually active, later we see them drinking in the car and the lawyer amongst them even cites the code violation that they are breaking. The locals in the diner advise the teens to head back and not to camp in the area (member of the old community warning the young community). One lets slip about a petrol station further up where they can get fuel but the others turn on him and tell the teens that the attendant says 'crazy things'. Of course this intrigues the teens into going there.
The attendant then tells the kids where they can camp but warns them (again) where not to camp. After creeping them out they head off but miss the turning to the 'good' campsite and head to the campsite they were warned not to go to. One girl gets bad feelings about the place and another starts seeing a young girl (Miranda Lindley, the only actor who deserves a mention). They pitch their tents then get down to some fooling around. So far has taken most of the film and what little remains concerns the demise of the teens controlled by the 'dark forces' into killing themselves (after they are stalked by voices, the ghosts of the young girl and an old man). Whilst this is going on the attendant appears to be in a trance. The sole survivor makes his way to the petrol station where the attendant picks up a bag, says his goodbyes and tells the teen 'welcome home'.
So it could have gone anywhere…
There are many similarities to the slasher genre although all good slashers require something to distinguish it from the rest, a novel twist of the slasher formula, in this case it would be that the teens kill themselves. But a good slasher has to have more than that subtle difference and The Attendant certainly has nothing else going for it.
The director, Timbrook, is the man responsible for the dire A Crack in the Floor so I wasn't really expecting great things, good job, because it really didn't deliver great things. The direction was extremely static, that is to say that it was one scene after another but with no real fluidity between them. The story didn't really work that well either, there was no real setting up in the first reel, development in the second and rounding off in the third. There was set up, development and resolution but it was rushed over in each section and the rest of the sections padded out with teens being teens and dialogue which had no real place in the film.
On a minor plus point is the cast really did appear to be having fun, this is strengthened by a segment in a gap during the end credits where the cast are goofing around in a series of staged skits. Also worth a mention is the music, composed by Jason Peri, which was good and fitting for a horror film although it was simply overused.
I have been perhaps a bit harsh in my judgments but that's because many inferior films like this have flooded the market recently and are being churned out over and over. There must be a market for these films otherwise no investor would fund these projects but really the consumers should be more picky about their viewings so some real effort goes into producing good scripts with genuine up and coming talents (which I know are out there). I cannot for the life of me understand why Hard Gore picked this film up.
A trailer for the film as well as for other (better) Hard Gore releases and as mentioned a short behind the scenes segment in the end credits.
Review by Marc Woods
|Released by Hard Gore|
|Region All PAL|
|Extras : see main review|