Guest Review-Director Thomas Berdinski tackles Hayride



Hayride (2013)

Have you ever gone a hayride? Before I started making millions (okay, hundreds) of dollars from my cheesy horror mash-ups and moved to the “big city”, I used to hang out with a couple of farmer’s daughters and sometimes we would go on hayrides. A hayride was just a tractor pulling a wagon carpeted with hay into the woods with a half dozen courting passengers. These were really just cheap triple dates, sometimes involving sloe gin (yup, sloe gin…) and usually ending with some lush (not always me!) falling from the wagon while at its top speed on 2 miles per hour. Predictable laughs and headaches would ensue. Fortunately, the movie “Hayride” didn’t generate either.

What is “Hayride” the movie? Well, it’s the story of a cruel serial killer who is captured by police, escapes en route to the station, goes on a killing spree and – Hey, look over there! There’s a haunted hayride! Well, obviously, here are the killer’s next victims… Wait, whose victims are they? The story unfolds interestingly throughout the runtime, and there is a neat plot twist that I’m not going to spoil here. There’s also an extended backstory that’s almost ruined by a film effect added in the post, but stick with it. The backstory makes the ending more rewarding.

For me, “Hayride” was NOT an homage to the slashers of the 70s and 80s, but rather, a direct throwback to the genre. There were no painfully obvious nods to this movie or that movie; I didn’t get the sense that the filmmakers were winking at the audience. This was a serious movie made by serious filmmakers with a small budget. They avoided the contemporary ‘found footage’ clichés and made an updated slasher movie.

So, what’s good about it? The way the film unfolds; the story isn’t given away right off the bat and I liked that. It was serious throughout and buoyed by fine acting from the two leads, especially Kara Riann Brown who created a very likeable character named Beautiful (appropriately enough!) The gore was mild by my standards but done competently. The music was memorable. What’s not as good? Well, not all of the acting, some of the dialog is bad and the pacing was slow at times. It was marred by the unnecessary film effect mentioned above. Also, there are sound level and sync problems, but if you’re someone like me and watch a lot of low budget indies, this probably won’t be enough to bother you.

Overall, I applaud these filmmakers for making a serious, traditional slasher that is NOT an homage. Instead, it’s an entertaining throwback to the “hay”day of slasher movies –

A solid 7 out of 10.

Thomas Berdinski is a director, writer, producer, composer and allegedly a Sascratch. If you are on social media look him up and give him a like, and see about seeing his work. You will have a blast. Great guy with a ton of talent.