Saturday, January 10, 2015

Review: The Den

About ten years ago, a talented friend of mine, together with a crew of local actors, friends and family, made a low-budget, dark comedy "creature feature" called The Den. Here we are, ten years later, and the creature has been revived in webisode form: the movie is now being released by Eclipse Media Productions in a six-part web series on YouTube. Episode 1 was released yesterday, and the following five episodes are to be released weekly.

Upon watching the trailer for The Den and seeing the word “horror” in brackets after the title, my shoulders tensed up and I thought, “Oh crap.” I don’t like dark and scary movies because I don’t like to be scared. It’s just not fun. Years back, I watched The Exorcist, and I remember that by the time the movie was over, I was sitting on my neck, and I was doing neither Yoga nor Pilates at the time. That’s what watching scary movies does to me (although, I guess at least I was just sitting on my neck, not spinning my head around in circles).

 Anyway, thankfully, the other adjective used to describe The Den is “comedy,” so I figured that even as a dark comedy, as long as there’s some lightness within the darkness, I should be able to handle it. I’m an adult!

Episode 1 was a perfect helping of gritty, dark suspense with a nice side of comedic antics, and at just over seven minutes long, it was plenty long enough to draw me in and leave me with that “aaaahh!!!” (tense-up-your-arms-and-make-half-hearted-jazz-hands) combination feeling of anticipation and frustration that you get when you’re in the middle of watching something, just getting to a good part, and then it stops and you have to wait until next week for the next episode. I generally have so many questions about so many things on a daily basis, and now these seven minutes of viewing time have effectively sprinkled even more questions on top of my ever-present Question Heap: questions about clan dissension, the characters, the mysterious battery waste, the backwoods setting and of course the creature...and I’m happy to report that I sat on my couch as a normal person would (so far).

One more notable item in this first episode is the guitar shredding in the background soundtrack at one point, playing up the backwoods characters’ edge and lending some intimidation to their grammar-slaughtered speech. This cover of “Stairway to Heaven” is courtesy of Cole Rolland, a talented guitarist who is definitely worth checking out on YouTube.

I really like the way that this movie is being released, in episode form. During these next weeks, anticipating the next section of the story will be fun. I subscribed to the channel, and I am really excited to keep watching because doggonit, I wanna see how this here story’s gwine t’ end!

To find out more information about the original release and making of The Den (an interesting read), follow this link to Eclipse Media Production’s blog.