By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
VOD & DVD Release Date:
November 5, 2019
Robert Conway’s skill in the horror genre is served well in Eminence Hill. This film title sounds like it should be a video game but instead, it’s a feature film that got limited theatrical screenings before coming out on VOD (Google Play and iTunes) and DVD tomorrow. Unlike Silent Hill, the horror elements are very light. It’s subdued enough to a degree where Rod Serling would approve–if made into a Twilight Zone episode. When considering a format, a lot would have to be cut to fit into the time slot and that would help with this film’s pacing.
When Royce’s (Clint James) gang finds themselves in a self-serving community trying to recapture Ruth (Anna Harr), a girl they kidnapped, life isn’t going to be easy for the outlaws in a tale set in the wild west. She finds herself at a hidden community, and these homesteaders seem innocent enough. Their ‘pious’ life hides something else.
Usually, films in this genre plods along predictably. The holy are not what they seem and this work becomes more of a folk horror piece than anything else. Although Royce suspects nothing right away, his compatriots–Gretchen (Dominique Swain), Samson (Cameron Kotecki) and Cyrus (Louie Laccarino)–do.
Hot on their trail is a small posse. Marshall Foster (Owen Conway) and Garrett (Charlie Motley) are after Royce, but to say if they ever catch up depends on what the pastor of this small villa wants. When you have horror, sci-fi and fantasy veterans making cameos, this film is essentially a weird west tale. It is terrific to see Lance Henriksen (Alien trilogy), Barry Corbin (Northern Exposure) and Brinke Stevens (The Naked Gun) make short cameos. As a fan of Henriksen’s To Hell You Ride, I hoped his appearance would mean this work has just as much of a supernatural element; Sadly it didn’t.
When considering this work was filmed on a modest budget and was an Indiegogo backed project, not everything can be done. Conway reported that his film is revisiting “Redemption: A Mile from Hell,” made when he was in film school, I was definitely curious. When I have a fondness for this subgenre when it gets Cowboys and Aliens, I know other variations can be done too. In this case, it’s on dealing with fellow man. In terms of how the real wild west was won, this film at least gets this look into the past right.
3½ Stars out of 5