DVD Review: The Pit (2013)

The Pit DVD CoverDistributor: 101 Films

BBFC Classification: 15

Director: Chad Crawford Kinkle

Starring: Sean Bridgers, Lauren Ashley Carter, Kaitlin Cullum, Larry Fessenden, Sean Young

Set deep within the backwoods of America, The Pit (a.k.a. Jug Face) tells the story of Ada (Lauren Ashley Carter – The Woman), a teenager born and raised in a religious community who worship a muddy pit in the woods. The pit has the power to heal and keep the community safe but demands a sacrifice every so often, a sacrifice it chooses by putting the local potter into a trance and making him create a clay ‘jug face’ of the intended victim. Ada – who has a few secrets of her own – discovers who the all-knowing pit has chosen and intervenes with the pit’s plans, therefore invoking an evil force to run amok amongst the fanatical community as it tries to claim it’s rightful sacrifice.

With a plot that, on paper, looks totally silly and ridiculous, The Pit is actually quite an effective little horror movie. Director Chad Crawford Kinkle uses the low-budget and claustrophobic setting to his advantage, the film being a slow-burner that immediately engages you and keeps you interested with some solid performances from everybody involved which, despite the odd premise of the film, could have gone the other way and slipped into dark comedy territory. As it is, everybody plays it totally straight and for the running time of the film – a trim 77 minutes – Kinkle makes you believe what you are seeing on the screen without question.

The special effects, done by Robert Kurtzman of KNB fame, are very good and as bloody as you would expect but Kinkle’s camera never lingers on anything for very long, making the death scenes short and choppy but also so you know what is happening. Fortunately though, there aren’t that many of them because this isn’t a film designed to gross you out, it’s designed to creep you out. And it does, because The Pit is a film that shows the darker side of human nature and keeps it human rather than going overboard with CGI monsters, managing to tap into the same terror at the heart of folk horror films like The Wicker Man and The Blood on Satan’s Claw. That may sound like big praise and, in the big scheme of things, The Pit isn’t quite up there with the big boys in terms of scale or having a story that feels fully fleshed out but it is likely to become something of a cult classic amongst those looking for a more cerebral kind of horror due to the fact that it is very well put together and actually rather good.

The Pit

Special Features: None

UK Release Date: 9th June 2014

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