The Redwood Massacre was released in 2014 to unenthusiastic reviews. Mind you, the critics weren’t foaming at the mouth with rage over the Scottish slasher, but most found it to be mediocre. For me, I randomly stumbled upon the title on Hulu a few years ago. I watched it just the once, which says something right there, but I do distinctly remember thinking it was kind of dumb, but enjoyable.
Years later, writer-director David Ryan Keith has returned to the well to continue the saga of the burlap-hooded slasher with Redwood Massacre: Annihilation. Tom (Jon Campling) became obsessed with the murders at Redwood Farm after one of his daughters was killed by the Burlap Killer (Benjamin Selway). Another person fixated on the killing is Max (Damien Puckler), who stumbles upon the mask and weapon of the murderer while exploring the woods.
“…arriving at the farm, the group realizes…there is more to the massacres than they knew.”
Max uses these items as a way to convince Tom, Tom’s surviving daughter Laura (Danielle Harris), the hulking Gus (Gary Kesper), who is brought along for protection, and Jen (Tevy Poe) to search the woods one more time. Upon arriving at the farm, the group realizes that not everything is that it seems and that there is more to the massacres than they knew. This, coupled with their distrust of Max (how exactly did he find the killer’s gear?), and this is one nightmare they wish wasn’t real.
In the nearly 15 years David Ryan Keith has been making films, shorts, and features alike, he has stuck to the horror genre. All that he has learned is on full display throughout Redwood Massacre: Annihilation as the movie oozes atmosphere and tension. Minus a scene here or there, it is a good long while for the body count to actually start rising, so what hooks the audience in is the eerie suspense hanging in the air of the woods.
Once the attacks begin, that sense of dread gives way to brutal violence. To be honest, it is a bit of a letdown, as actual scares are sacrificed for Jason Voorhees-like escapades. In and of itself, that is not a bad thing, but the movie does not make a smooth transition from the eerie calm to the brutal attacks. The last 30 minutes or so feel like a different movie entirely.
"…this is the Jon Campling show through and through."