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Talon Falls is a gruesome horror movie that knows what it wants and asks for no apologies. Equal parts inspired by Hostel, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and The Houses October Built, writer/director Josh Shreve’s gory thriller delivers for horror junkies. It’s about a brutally terrifying haunted house attraction that may or may not use real torture victims when all is said and done.

Coming from the indie realm, Talon Falls’s unknown cast are fine in their mostly limited roles. The gore is doing the heavy lifting in this short feature at 74 minutes, asking little of its actors. Filled with suspense and real terror, what it lacks in budget is made up for with grit and spirit.

A group of four ordinary college kids take a road trip through Kentucky they will direly regret. Stumbling upon a popular haunted house attraction deep in the heart of rural America, the kind that frequently pop up around the country near Halloween, Lance (Brad Bell) talks his girlfriend and buddy into visiting it for laughs. The two young couples aren’t particularly memorable lead characters, but they certainly fit their destined roles nicely as hapless victims. The lead actresses, Morgan Wiggins and Jordyn Rudolph, are credible and authentically convincing as scream queens fighting to stay alive.

Mysteriously offered to skip ahead in line, the couples soon freak out over the seemingly real gore and torture inside the attraction. Bloody victims are trapped behind glass, graphically getting tortured by menacing employees wearing masks. The group notice everything is recorded by cameras, which seems strange. Soon the true nature of Talon Falls and its employees will become crystal clear to these unwitting participants in a sick and deadly game.

This is the real deal if you fiend to watch incredibly realistic and gory special effects

Hostel has nothing on Talon Falls in terms of sheer graphic torture. This is the real deal if you fiend to watch incredibly realistic and gory special effects. Victims lose their ears, get their feet ripped off, and have even more unspeakable acts performed on them as visitors watch. It’s effectively creepy due to the grim setting and enigmatic masked employees found working at the haunted house attraction.

Talon Falls is well constructed as a horror thriller. The taut plot doesn’t mess around trying to develop the characters beyond the bare minimum necessary. That may sound like a bad thing if this were a Hollywood drama, but works far better for the indie horror film with an inexperienced cast. Director Josh Shreve definitely understands what horror fans want in their films. There are enough twists and turns to keep the interest alive through the fairly predictable climax. This is fresh and lively storytelling that doesn’t entirely rely on the gruesome torture sequences as the movie’s only reason for existence.

Talon Falls doesn’t try reinventing the wheel, focusing on its gory strengths. Sticking to the raw, visceral threat posed by the haunted house attraction, it keeps the audience alert and looking for more. There is a real edge to its explicit torture scenes and its pig-faced villain is a potential horror star in the making. Nothing here is especially unique or inventive for horror fans, which is okay. The slick direction and convincing atmosphere make Talon Falls a very capable and even compelling horror film.

MVDvisual distributes Talon Falls on DVD and digital video. It is presented on DVD at 2.35:1 with a 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack and optional English subtitles. A behind-the-scenes featurette and trailer are included as bonus features.

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Talon Falls

An effective, creepy backwoods terrorfest that combines Hostel and The Houses October Built.

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