Carver (2008)

Carver (2008)

Life imitating art…Art imitating death

Five teenagers on a camping trip at a remote campground agree to help the local tavern owner in exchange for free drinks. They find themselves in a secluded shack in the woods where they come across a chest of old 8mm slasher films and proceed to watch a few. Unknown to them, they are actually watching snuff movies and soon they all find themselves starring in the next film of a deranged maniac.


Carver is yet another low budget ‘fat, retarded hick killer stalks twenty-somethings on a trip’ horror film which clearly just wants to be The Texas Chainsaw Massacre meeting up with Hostel. From the killer’s grungy Leatherface-esque overalls to a couple of moments lifted right out of Tobe Hooper’s classic (this killer loves swinging his hammer like Leatherface did in the first shocking attack), director Franklin Guerrero Jr. clearly wants the audience to remember it amidst a very overcrowded genre. Sometimes films that fall into this ‘eager to impress’ category end up failing miserably because they try too hard to stand out. Carver tries to impress but it’s just deep-rooted in its own genre trappings to ever become anything more than ‘just another backwoods slasher.’

Carver runs like your usual slasher/torture flick where the group of victims set off on their trip, arrive in somewhere remote and meet up with some strange and weird locals. Nothing surprises you in this regard because they do exactly what they should do. The film itself looks grainy and very dark most of the time as if you are actually watching a legit snuff movie (I’ll have to keep my eye out to see if anyone in the cast actually makes anything else or whether they just ‘disappeared’ after this). The problem with shooting on video like this is that most of the nasty stuff takes place in the dimly lit shack so you don’t really know what is happening at times. It does help the atmosphere and mood of the film because it looks sleazy and gritty – there’s no polishing up scenes here with extra lighting, gore or space. The film just ploughs ahead with its nasty business with little regard for cinematography as it does most of it’s talking with the violence. Events are shown as they happen and there is little in the way of quick editing and snappy cuts which seem to plague a lot of big budget horrors.

A lot of modern horrors are now claiming to be the nastiest or most brutal horror film ever made and we know that it’s just a ploy to sell tickets. Saw and Hostel, two of the prominent films which kicked off the escalating increase in gore and blood, are like Bambi compared to this. The blood flows freely. Saws to the head. Nails in the legs. And in the most disturbing scene I think I’ve ever seen, an unlucky guy gets his testicles lopped off with a pair of wire cutters whilst handcuffed to a toilet. The popping and splurge that they make are a sight and sound that brought tears to my eyes and made me cross my legs. It’s one of the most graphic things I’ve ever seen and I thought the penis-chomping from Teeth was bad enough for guys to sit through – wait until you see this!

Perhaps the notoriety of this scene will give the film more exposure than it actually deserves but it should be required viewing for any guy wanting to appreciate what they have in their pants! This isn’t meant to sound bad but after years of chick’s getting various womanly parts sliced and diced, it’s about time that guys suffered the same sexually violent fates in film.

It’s not all good though. Carver is undoubtedly slow-going and pretty hard to watch. Despite the average running time, the film drags like hell until the blood starts to flow. Dumb rednecks and annoying teenager characters aren’t really enough to keep it going and you will fidget around waiting for stuff to happen. The main antagonist looks pretty silly with his goggles on and he just shuffles around very slowly so it’s a wonder he ever manages to catch anyone to kill. They must have just sent out a casting call for ‘fat, dim, inbred-looking guys’ and he showed up. Talk about living up to the stereotypes. And I say this in pretty much every slasher film review but – it’s exactly the same film as you’ve seen time and time and time and time again. There’s nothing remotely original about it and the only reason to watch it is to see how the characters get killed off.


Carver isn’t a great slasher but it does have its merits and is clearly going to ride on the coattails of that one shocking scene. Whether you should watch it depends on how perverse and anxious to see something pop that should never be popped you really are!





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