Producers: Sandy Lo and Sasha Anne Director: Dale Fabrigar Screenplay: Sandy Lo and Tricia Aurand Cast: Sasha Anne, Julia Kelly, Evan Adams, Anthony Jensen, Madison Ekstrand, Joseph Almani, Catherine Healy, Lanett Tachel, Clint Carmichael, Giovanni Espiritu, Christopher Dukes, Matthew Payne and Joe Estevez Distributor: Uncork’d Entertainment
A throwback to the terrible teens-in-peril monster movies of the fifties and sixties, “Reed’s Point,” which on the print streamed for review bears the subtitle “Bad Blood Never Dies,” might have some nostalgia value for those who remember them affectionately. But even they will have to endure a script that repeats stock shocks so often that they become risible, performances that descend to sub-amateur levels, and a production so scruffy that the images are sometimes barely discernible. By the end you’re likely to sigh in relief that it’s only seventy-five minutes long—if you get that far.
Three college chums—Sarah (Sasha Anne), her cousin Kelsey (Madison Ekstrand) and the latter’s boyfriend Alex (Evan Adams)—are involved in a crash while travelling through New Jersey’s Pine Barrens in an RV with Sarah’s father (Clint Carmichael). Sarah and Alex survive (and so apparently does her father, though he’s not heard of again), but Kelsey is presumed dead, her body never found.
Doing research on the crash area, Sasha becomes convinced that Kelsey is still alive, carried off by the legendary Jersey Devil, and convinces Maxine (Julia Kelly), the editor of the campus paper, that it should be investigated. So she and Alex drive off to Reed’s Point to search for clues. Though warned of danger by a drunken old bum (veteran Joe Estevez, whose ten-second cameo is explicable only as a favor to somebody), they hire local guide Hank (Anthony Jensen) to take them into the woods.
A bad idea. Alex is frightened by something in the forest, runs off, falls down a hill and gets impaled on a tree limb. While Hank trudges back to his truck for a saw to cut him loose, Sarah wanders off and finds an isolated house where handsome, helpful Eric (Joseph Almani) invites her in and calls the police for her. He turns out to be a self-styled Jersey Devil investigator. Meanwhile Hank frees Alex and takes him back to town.
At this point the plot sickens, with the screenwriters, unable to decide whether the picture should be an old-fashioned monster movie or a tale involving some sort of land dispute, opt to make it both. The locals are not what they seem, and both Sarah and Alex repeatedly find themselves in dire danger (poor Adams, who seems an amiable enough fellow, gets the worst of it, being clobbered, drugged, tied up and shot as well as impaled on that tree, all in the space of barely an hour). The fate of Kelsey is revealed, but not to anyone’s satisfaction. A closing “gotcha” moment is scribbed from innumerable other pictures.
The Jersey Devil has been grist for plenty of video games, movies and TV shows (including an episode of “The X-Files”), and most have been bad; this is easily among the worst. That the production is threadbare is to be expected (the RV crash is a mess, sloppily shot by John Lazear and clumsily edited by Jeremy Inman and director Dale Fabrigar), but overall John Gaitan’s production design is of bargain-basement quality, and there’s no rhythm to either the direction or the editing: the film just shifts haphazardly back and forth between one plot thread and another. (At one point, Michelle decides to follow Sarah and Alex, only to wind up blundering about the woods. Anybody who’s seen “The Shining” can guess what happens next.) Mikel Shane Prather’s score offers no relief from the grainy images. The few effects, to use the term loosely, are awful.
Most of the acting can be charitably described as rudimentary, but special note must be made of the terrible turn by Anne as Sarah; she’s like a black hole in the middle of the screen, delivering her lines with dead intonation. She’s also listed as one of the producers; perhaps one of her choices should have been to remain behind the camera.
As to that forgotten subtitle: maybe bad blood never dies, but “Reed’s Point” also proves that bad movies will always be with us.