The Curse Of Wolf Mountain
May 25, 2023
Based on the title and poster for The Curse Of Wolf Mountain (aka just Wolf Mountain), one would be forgiven for thinking it’s a werewolf creature feature. But no, the film, written by Keli Price and directed by David Lipper, is a slasher. It’s been a while since there’s been a camping-centric hack ‘n slash that offers where it counts — the pile of dead bodies left in the killer’s wake. So, does this film deliver on that front?
AJ (Keli Price) is haunted by memories of his parents’ death on Wolf Mountain. His caring therapist, Dr. Avery (Tobin Bell), believes that going there and confronting his past will help AJ move on. AJ’s supportive wife, Samantha (Karissa Lee Staples), wishes to join him, as they are in this together. Also coming along to help are AJ’s brother Max (David Lipper), his significant other Lexi (Fernanda Romero), Lexi’s sister Emma (Malu Trevejo), and her “idiot boyfriend” James (Matt Rife).
Once at the mountain’s base, the park rangers are eager to help, despite being very silly. It isn’t long before AJ, and his friends get to their campsite and discover the truth behind the old urban legend of a killer on Wolf Mountain. Soon, everyone is in danger, but who is the killer, and why is he targeting AJ, Sam, Max, Lexi, Emma, and James?
“…discover the truth behind the old urban legend of a killer on Wolf Mountain.”
Of note, The Curse Of Wolf Mountain sports a subplot involving two thugs played by Danny Trejo and Kenny Yates. They are on Wolf Mountain with an intended victim of theirs. While it is always fun to see Trejo in anything, his part here is largely pointless. Whether Yates and his characters, Eddie and Joe, are meant to be red herrings or help up the body count, they don’t do much. Their arc seems to build towards something but never does.
Horror hounds are a forgiving lot, allowing for simple characterizations or plot holes so long as the blood flows and bodies drop. In that sense, Lipper and company deliver a solid genre offering. Several of the deaths are either well-staged or inventive and fun. Beyond that, though, what truly makes this a good slasher is that there’s a true sense that every character is in danger. The rangers drop like flies, and not even one in the core group makes it to the end. This gives the story a sense of menace that other horror flicks of this kind don’t always achieve.
The Curse Of Wolf Mountain is also bolstered by its cast. As the writer, it is clear that Price understands the material and delivers a sympathetic and sweet performance. Lipper is terrific as Max, maintaining a sense of bravado and slight menace (is he the killer?). Staples shares good chemistry with Price, so audiences instantly buy their relationship. Rife is hilarious throughout, as are the actors playing the park rangers. Eddie McClintock is fun in a b-story that excitingly culminates with the main action as things draw to a close. Finally, there’s Bell, who is only in two or three scenes. But the man brings gravitas and empathy to the role.
The Curse Of Wolf Mountain is a decent slasher that horror hounds will eat right up. It features a strong cast and truly wonderful kills, which are the hallmark of the genre. Unfortunately, the subplot involving Trejo and Yates slows down the momentum and takes the focus away from AJ and his rather gripping predicament. Still, if one is in need of a slasher fix, there are much worse ways to kill 90 or so minutes.
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