Review: SAVE YOURSELF from seeing this movie

There’s a promotional quote in the trailer for Save Yourself attributed to Rue Morgue, a horror magazine that I admire and to which I was once a contributor a few years back. It comes at the 1:37 mark and reads “an eerie and elegiac ode to classic horror filmmaking.” Now, you can tell just by watching the previous 96 seconds that the quote is woefully inaccurate, and that perhaps the author doesn’t know what the word “elegiac” means. So I went back to the full review of the movie, which opens thusly: “Save Yourself is the perfect recreation of discovering an obscure movie at the video store on a lost and rainy night. It’s a quiet, thoughtful little nightmare, an eerie and elegiac ode to classic horror filmmaking that keeps the vibe retro while being thoroughly modern.”

Now, everybody’s entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts, and the fact is that Save Yourself is not a very good movie, even for a no- budget Canadian indie (it plays during next week’s Can-con genre fest Blood in the Snow). Sure, it’s like “an obscure movie at the video store,” which is of course, obscure for a reason. Save Yourself is actually more like the kind of dump bin DVD you’d find in the dollar store and feel is overpriced (no matter if it’s raining outside or not).

It has an oh-so-precious meta premise: a horror director and her producer, screenwriter and two scream queens (Tristan Risk, Jessica Cameron, Caleigh Le Grand, Lara Mrkoci and Tianna Nori) hit the road to Los Angeles only to cross paths with a deranged backwoods scientist hell-bent on turning them into lab rats for his sick experiments. Aside from the meta aspect, and the prospect of five potential “final girls,” Save Yourself is just a hillbilly slasher away from being yet another Wrong Turn sequel. It’s strictly by-the-book effort from writer-director Ryan M. Andrews, who doesn’t bring anything new or interesting to the story; there’s no suspense, never mind scares or even decent gore, the meta aspect is an annoying contrivance, and the performances are flat; even Ry Barrett (who was terrific in The Demolisher, which I reviewed back during Toronto After Dark) as the mad scientist doesn’t really have much to sink his teeth into.