Talon Falls
R0 - America - Lost Empire / MVD Visual
Review written by and copyright: Eric Cotenas (30th January 2018).
The Film

Driving through the Kentucky backroads on their way to a camping site for their winter break, Lyndsey (Morgan Wiggins), her boyfriend Sean (Ryan Rudolph), his buddy Lance (Brad Bell), and his girlfriend Ryder (Jordyn Rudolph) stop for a bathroom break and some beer in a seemingly deserted town's gas station. Searching for the owner, Lance stumbles upon a backroom stacked with VHS tapes all labeled with dates throughout the month of October over the years. He is interrupted by the owner who is at first unfriendly upon finding him snooping but then recommends that they stop by the local haunted house attraction Talon Falls if they are looking for some fun. Arriving at the attraction, they nearly cut short their visit when it appears as if they will have to wait three hours in the long line to get into the main haunted house until a friendly barker gives them express pass bracelets. At first, the haunted house appears to be the usual winding corridors with ghouls and chainsaw-wielding assailants jumping out at them; however, they soon find themselves a captive audience to the grueling torture of a woman strapped to a dentist chair by a hulking pig-masked assailant with rusty surgical tools. Although disturbed by the display, they move on and Lance enjoys getting the opportunity to pull the switch on a very convincing electrocution. As Lyndsey and Sean move on ahead and dodge more chainsaws and screaming women, Lance and Ryder discover a door leading to the staff-only areas of the haunted house. While investigating the usual noises that have Ryder cooling off of his attempt at a quickie, Lance discovers a room full of surveillance camera monitors in time to witness Lyndsey and Sean knocked unconscious and dragged off by a hammer-wielding masked man. Lance and Ryder are separated when the attackers come after them the surveillance room itself monitored by cameras and Ryder, Lyndsey, and Sean end up in chain-link fence cells along with other visitors. Realizing that they are to serve as the victims for the edification of the oblivious customers and a snuff videotape operation on the side, they must find a way to escape with all of their parts intact.

A slick indie horror pic belonging to the subgenre exploiting the haunted house attraction setting more often bad (6 Degrees of Hell, The Houses October Built) than good (Hell House LLC) Talon Falls utilizes the real-life attraction for what is essentially slickly-lensed but totally unoriginal horror film festival fodder. Photography and effects are well-executed and the lead performances are relatively engaging for shallowly-etched characters, but the only ambition of the filmmakers seems to have been in fully-exploiting the visual possibilities of the location rather than making more of the complicity of the viewers of the film and within the film in the acts of torture being inflicted. While it is just as well for those who think the "torture porn" subgenre should have rolled over and died years ago, the film falls short of making its reason for being as grueling as it needed; as such, one can only hope for those that come out of the film looking good that the end result can be used for demo reels and scrapbooks for better things, but that is about all that can be said positively in regards to Talon Falls the movie (although visitors to the attraction might get more of a kick out of it than others).
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Video

Digitally-lensed and subjected to the usual aggressive and "edgy" color correction, Talon Falls gets a respectable progressive, anamorphic mid-range bitrate encode even though the file size could have been larger even on this single-layer disc.
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Audio

Audio options include Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 stereo tracks, with the former utilizing the surrounds for music, atmospheric effects, and some rear channel jumps. It's still a rather basic mix with none of the finesse of bigger budget product but gets the job done. Optional English SDH subtitles sometimes lag behind the dialogue.
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Extras

Extras are restricted to a behind the scenes (10:09) featurette covering the night shoots, the effects, and the stuntwork (including a couple "humorous" mishaps), as well as the film's trailer (1:35).
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Overall

Visitors to the real Talon Falls attraction might get a kick out of the film, but horror fans may find it rather run-of-the-mill.

 


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