Never Hike in the Snow
never hike in the snow | never hike alone | sequel | fan film | friday the 13th | jason voorhees | prequel | vincente disanti | thom mathews | vincent gustaferro | bryan forrest | slasher | winter | adventure | united states | courtlan gordon | anna campbell
Film: Never Hike in the Snow
Director: Vincente DiSanti
Writer: Vincente DiSanti
Starring: Thom Mathews, Vincent Guastaferro and Bryan Forrest
This was a movie that I remember hearing about not too long after the original, Never Hike Alone, was released. It had a lot of success and many Friday the 13th fans, including myself, really wanted to see a movie taking Jason Voorhees and putting him in a snowy environment. When this film was finally released, I had it as one that I needed to check out and finally got around to it now that it is cold at the time of writing this. The synopsis here is 3 months prior to the events of Never Hike Alone that follows the strange disappearance of Mark Hill (Courtlan Gordon), a Crystal Lake resident who went for a hike in the dead of winter and never came home.
We start this seeing the mountains and snowy terrain of what we'll learn to be Camp Crystal Lake. Mark is wearing a bright jacket and he's running from something. Whatever it is, it is terrifying him. We then see that it is Jason Voorhees (Vincente DiSanti). He fires an arrow, which knocks down Mark before ending it with an ax.
He was able to set off his car alarm before dying, but Jason takes care of that. This crime does draw the attention of Sheriff Rick Cologne (Vincent Guastaferro) along with Deputy Alan Mabry (Bryan Forrest). They find blood in the snow and the vehicle, but no body. Sheriff Rick decides that he'll tell Mark's mother he is missing, she is Diana (Anna Campbell), while Deputy Mabry continues to clean up the crime scene. They're not the only ones that are alerted to this. Tommy Jarvis (Thom Mathews) watches from afar and it appears he has a reputation. He is the only one that knows Jason is out there and how dangerous he is.
Now this movie I was originally intending to do a Featured Review for on Journey with a Cinephile: A Horror Movie Podcast. I decided against it though as this movie isn't technically a feature, but is a short. I still wanted to give this a viewing in support of independent cinema and since I did enjoy the original I figured this one would be more in the same vein.
So with that said, I do feel that writer/director/actor DiSanti really has his fingers on the pulse of what fans of Friday the 13th want. We're getting the Jason Voorhees we want and getting the slasher in the snow here as well. There's a great opening kill here and then a bit of story to help drive the movie from there.
If I do have an issue here though, I didn't realize that this was a prequel. With what happened at the end of that one, I should have known. This isn't really that big of a deal toward the story. Another issue would be that I feel this movie could have been longer. I'm not sure if it was budgetary or they just didn't have story there, but I would have wanted a bit more. After that opening kill, we really get some stuff that is fine like learning more about Mark, Diana and even more about Jason, but if you're going to do a slasher with him, I just would like to see more deaths. It is really front and back loaded with this.
Where I should go would be the effects next. The practical ones that we do get were good for me. I like what they did with Mark and how he meets his demise. There is something that is pulled from Friday the 13th Part 2 here which is also good. They did go with CGI with a shotgun and something with an ax that didn't look as good. It was probably easier to do there and again, could be budget. It doesn't look horrible, I could just tell.
The last thing that I want to delve into would be the acting. It is great to see Mathews back as Tommy. He is just an actor I have a soft spot for and he does really good at just fitting into this role. Guastaferro works as the sheriff. I like that he seems to know about Jason, but doesn't necessarily believe. Forrest is fine as his deputy and it appears he is also playing Jason for some scenes as well. Gordon, Campbell and the rest also work for what was needed. Shout out to DiSanti who has great imposing size to portray Jason as well.
So now with that said this is a solid follow up to the original and another good fan film for the Friday the 13th series. I like the atmosphere that they're going for with setting it in the winter. I like bringing back Tommy and there is a solid enough story. The practical effects are good. While I don't love the CGI, I've seen worse. The acting is solid and the soundtrack fit for what was needed from what I remember. If I have any issues, I just wish there was more here in total and more kills would really have just made this stand more with Never Hike Alone personally. Being that this is a short though, it does leave me wanting more for sure. I would have to rate this as above average overall and definitely worth a viewing for the fans of the first or Friday the 13th in general.
My Rating: 7 out of 10