The Devil’s Ground (2008)


Reviewed by Melissa Garza

“Better keep quiet or the hog man will get you.” – Tammy (Maria Gruending)

The film opens with Carrie (Daryl Hannah) on her way to Bangor when she nearly runs her car into Amy (Leah Gibson) who is standing in the middle of the street covered in blood and obviously disoriented. After slight hesitation, Carrie takes Amy with her and decides to stop at the next town to report whatever horrible trauma was endured.

As they are driving, Carrie convinces Amy to tell her what happened. Two days prior, Amy and four of her college friends decide to take a trip to preserve a park from mining and secure an A in their environmental science class.

All is going according to plan, until they stop by a gas station. The attendant, Billy (Daniel Probert) is ridiculed by the others, but Amy shows him kindness. As they leave, he warns Amy that the park they are going to what is known as “The Devil’s Playground.” This unsettles her, and when she conveys his message to the rest they pay no mind.

They all relax for the night in their camper, but soon the entire vehicle is shaken. At first, they believe it is an earthquake or a tremor, but as the shaking continues they figure out that that someone is behind their disruption. When it finally stops, Amy asks to leave in fear that locals may be after them. She reminds the others of Billy’s words but they dismiss them. Begrudgingly, she remains.

The next day, they hit gold when they find the remains of humans that are nearly 200 years old. They begin to celebrate knowing that they will surely get an A and preserve the land. The celebration stops when one of the skulls found has modern day dental work done. They dig further and find a watch dated only a few years prior. It is then that they realize they have uncovered a burial ground for a murderer.

Soon they are stalked by a masked madman who kills her friends one-by-one. Amy escapes and runs back to Billy who tells her that she should have heeded his warning. She soon comes face-to-face with the masked man again and is forced to fight for her survival as she is informed of the horrifying background of both the killer and the surrounding area.

Overall, this was an above average straight-to-DVD horror film. It had moments of ridiculousness and a few plot holes that are hard to overlook, but the acting is great and the characters are interesting.

Leah Gibson does wonderful in the lead and invokes sympathy while explaining her tale. It would be a pleasure to see her in big screen productions. As always Daryl Hannah does amazing and captivates throughout.

This isn’t going to go down in the history books as a classic, but it’s definitely worth a watch and is an interesting movie despite its lack of originality. There are multiple twists at the end, and though most of them lack in shock value, the first one is a surprise.

Scared Stiff Rating: 6.5/10

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