Shocker: zombie-genre legend George A. Romero's son, Cameron, is a horror movie director. Surprise: Scary plus-size actor Kathy Lamkin plays a backwoods psycho-bumpkin in the film. Revelation: The hillbilly family kills cute little sinners in the name of God. Guess what: That sausage sizzling on the rusty old barbecue isn't pork. Yep. Staunton Hill is about as predictable as mullets at a NASCAR event and is as suspenseful as a game of horseshoes on the front lawn.
When the "twist" ending came, counting all the clues down in rapid-fire flashbacks, I laughed out loud. Never mind that I was all alone — it was just too funny. But I digress. Here's the setup: four 20-somethings are hitchhiking back in 1969 and they accept a ride from a normal-enough looking fellow named Quintin (Charlie Bodin).
As they bounce along in the back of his pickup truck, the riders talk about seeing Night of the Living Dead, use a movie camera for kicks, and deliver much the same lingo we do today (well, with the exception of "jive turkey" — I guess I'm the only one carrying that torch). These are clearly very progressive flower children, and they are having a great time. But things crumble quickly to bummersville when the truck breaks down and the five friends must seek shelter in the nearest stable. It's all very Bethlehem via Virginia. Insert subtext here, etc.
The next morning they meet their hosts, who live in a shack adjoining the barn — wheelchair-bound Geraldine (Sherry Weston), Bible-thumping Louise (Lamkin), and lumbering man-child / BBQ chef, Buddy (BJ Hendricks) — and decide to stay for a spell. The hapless hippies soon discover it's not so much an invitation as a kidnapping, but these city-folks' able bodies are no match for their slow wits. Weapons discharge, blood flows, and lives ebb away.
The acting is not bad, but the cast have their crosses to bear by way of a routine script, bland dialogue, little atmosphere and even less fright-factor. Furthermore, the cinematography is so pedestrian there might as well be a "walk/don't walk" sign in every frame, and the editing see-saws between frenetic and inert. Staunton Hill not only makes a molehill of molasses, it definitively proves one should never judge a DVD by the name on its cover.
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Reviewed by Staci Layne Wilson