Director: Brendan Devane
Writer: Brendan Devane (Screenplay)
Starring: Stephanie Barkley, Marque Bobesich, Wayne Charles Baker, Sheldon D Brown, Larry Yazzie, Ari Anderson, dennis Connors, Lauren Capkanis, Jesse Buck-Brennan
Plot: After 5 people win a rafting trip down the Colorado in Utah, their adventure takes a deadly turn when they camp off the river for the night, and find out they aren’t the only ones out in the remote rugged canyon lands.
Tagline – Blood is thicker than water
Runtime: 1 Hour 38 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: The Canyonlands starts when Lauren (Barkley) an experience guide reluctantly agrees to take five young people, Dave (Brown), Jennifer (Anderson) Kyle (Connors), Sarah (Capkanis) and Ryan (Buck-Brennan) of an overnight rafting trip, despite her own suffering of nightmares of a previous trip along the river.
As the night comes, the six find themselves being stalked by a mysterious native that hides in the shadows looking to pick off the victims.
Thoughts on The Canyonlands
Characters & Performances – Lauren is the tortured soul that is suffering from the nightmares of her life, she guides people up and down the Colorado River, knowing the area better than anyone else. She is leading the people with the best of her ability, not letting them deal with any of the nonsense they want to play up on her. She must do what she can to protect her guests when she comes face to face with a spirit of the past. Stephanie Barkley does handle the darker tormented side of her character, as well as the leader she needs to be on the trip. When it comes to the five guests, we do fall into the horror levels of stereotypes, we have the nerdy figure in Kyle who always looks nervous. Dave the stoner who is just looking for a good time. Sarah the social influencer that is shallow wanting to take photos all the time. Ryan is the jock figure, wanting to be an MMA fighter and Jennifer is the one that has been on many of these trips before. The actors all play into the roles well through the film. We get a mysterious killer looking to pick off the characters in the canyon as well, with a bloodlust and mining axe to hunt his victims.
Story – The story here follows a group of rafters on an overnight trip that find their trip interrupted by a miner that is looking to kill anyone that gets in his way. This does start as a slasher type story that you would expect to see unfold in the way it does, it has the generic characters doing the basics, making for an entertaining story. It is when we get into the back story where things can elevate again, bring us an idea that plays into a bigger picture that we could see more of in the future. This is everything you would expect and will enjoy in a slasher film for a story side of things.
Themes – The Canyonlands is a horror that brings the slasher world to the Colorado River with a new killer idea that is a native American miner figure, using his mining axe as the weapon of choice. The location does work to bring us a fresh approach to the genre, with the dark canyons adding tension of the unknown for the victims.