When the press release for ‘Talon Falls’ dropped into my inbox I couldn’t help but settle down and watch immediately; a torture flick set in an actual theme park, just in time for Halloween
If that don’t have you reaching for the popcorn nothing will!
Filmed on location at the infamous Talon Falls Scream Park in Kentucky, USA the films plot takes a relatively simple premise – what if the victims in the horror walkthroughs attractions were not actors, and the torture scenes were real? – and turns it in to an 80-minute slasher turn torture flick thematically reminiscent of classics such as ‘Funhouse’ and the more recent ‘Funhouse Massacre’.
The film kicks off in familiar slasher fashion as we join the main cast of young twenty somethings on their road trip. After stopping for gas, and being involved in a minor altercation with the gas attendant they are directed towards Talon Falls, a popular Halloween attraction. Unbeknownst to them, they have just been targeted for a ‘behind the scenes’ look at some of the exhibits in the popular horror maze. Once the carnage starts we see our group diminish in size at the hands of some funhouse torture employees who take the realism of their exhibits very seriously indeed.
Once trapped, our group must fight to escape, or die, as the public look on believing the macabre funhouse is just cheap thrills. Who will survive and what will be left…. Hell, you know how it goes right?
Whilst the plot is by the numbers there are a number of elements which elevate ‘Talon Falls’ above some more recent peers. Needless to say, the films location is possibly its biggest strength. Being filmed at a genuine scream park gives the film the authenticity it needs to avoid coming across as ‘low budget’, this, and the outstanding camera work and sound design help to complement the shocker’s impressive production value. I’ve no idea how much the film actually cost to make, but I can assure you, its presentation could stand up strong against any studio release.
The acting is on point, and although the characters are all standard slasher personas they work out well enough to ensure you want at least a few of them to make it.
The violence, which let’s be honest, it’s what you are here for, is up there in terms of frequency and gratuitous-ness for a slasher movie, but don’t expect any excessive scenes of bloodletting typical of the more popular ‘torture-porn’ movies. Much of the violence is restricted to bone breaking and quick stabbings and beatings but still, it’s all in there, and convincing to. There is one extended torture sequence which stands out, and here the prosthetic effects pack a punch, expect to see fingernails removed, bones crunched, and someone mauled to death by one of Lassies more disgruntled distant relatives. Lovely stuff.
In addition to the visual carnage there is something lingering about the dark tone of the film of ‘Talon Falls’. The fact that the victims are killed in front of the unwitting public, and that there is no singular mask clad larger-than-life killer, means that the group of opportunist psychopaths (who seem to have an unnervingly conceivable operation working for them) seem frighteningly ‘normal’.
Overall, I was most definitely in the mood for some slasher carnage and boy oh boy did this film deliver. Perhaps not quite up there with the most violent in the genre but ‘Talon Falls’ delivers a fun and fast paced plot, some great effects and some amazing ‘on location’ set pieces which enhance the could happen impact to the films context. If you get a chance to check it out, do so.