This review is NOT about pure hate, overall fanboying, or biased views but A PERSONAL and HONEST perception of the fan film Never Hike Alone! The rating system based on this review is based on a scale of 5 stars each point will be given an official rating, and to remind this is my opinion! I AM NOT NO ROTTEN TOMATOES CRITIC I AM A FAN OF THE SERIES!
The premise of this film is that an experienced hiker Kyle McLeod, who is on a solo backpacking trip, discovers the long-lost remains of the infamous and now completely abandoned remains of Camp Crystal Lake. However, as he explores further and deeper around the camp area, then soon realizes he's not alone, and that the most legendary figure around these parts is stalking and hunting him down!
My Official Rating:
I gave this story premise 5/5 stars, it's original, and truly separates itself from the other films/fan films when it comes to story-driven aspects which is fine! We haven't seen these types of fan films (or the official films) take a different route of following a single character and live so long to tell the tale of surviving camp crystal lake like our friend kyle has.
It was by definition....new, unique, and very promising, the concept of Jason getting a hard time with a single victim is something new, we haven't seen a sole survivor who lives like that for an entire film and its honestly something most fans wanna see now!
Actors Thom Mathews, Vincente DiSanti, Drew Leighty (Aka Andrew Leighty), Katie Schwartz, and Robert DuBois all gave this film an amazing atmosphere, just from looking you can see and tell these actors had great chemistry with one another and felt comfortable with their roles, there was no cheesy, cringy, or underperformance by any of them.
There was one main name that help give the film its edge against others and thats Thom Mathews himself, yes Tommy Jarvis, the main who killed and indirectly resurrected Jason, has a short BUT very memorable moment near the end of the film which sets it all up, and it proves his acting skills haven't aged! makes it feel like the Part 6 Tommy in a modern timeframe still with his grudge against his nemesis.
My Official Rating:
The above gave the best explanation for why they earned 5/5 stars from me and to bring minor and known actors with great acting performances is no easy task in the acting/filming industry.
Just having indie actors or a celebrity actor isn't bad for such a community but it helps set it all up for their careers that they played a role that help channel their experience.
The blood and gore effect of this fan film was top-notch, for such a small budget of what is estimated to being $18,000k, there was no CGI editing that I could see, no cheap applied make-up or prosthetics, the grabbing of Kyle's head and the head crushed looked authentic, the dirty make-up appearance (if applied) was so realistic, the ax to the shoulder from Kyle to Jason was perfectly given, not too much blood, but enough blood to make it look good.
My Official Rating:
As many know the director/writer of this film, Vincente DiSanti was playing his vision of Jason, the overall design was very basic but was overall new and different, this version of Jason was NOT based on any of the previous canon or non-canon appearances of Jason seen throughout the Friday the 13th franchise, it was a nice take something basic could always work out (Look at Part 2/3/4 Jason's!)
The underhood looked so beyond what we would have speculated and man! there was no disappointment with it! the face didn't look to be based on any version of Jason like the clothing, it has no previous known damages like the ax or machete wound, which is again unique to his version of Jason!
The mask was also a basic design but from what I can see is a different mask shape with no red chevrons giving it a unique look on itself which isn't by any definition "bad" it's new and unique like his role.
Before anyone who knows me personally when it comes to Jason and fan-films they know I love the usage of Canon for Jason, but this isn't those fan-films that try to make a "Sequel" to the OG films this is a completely new look which is something I also like seeing in such fan given films, Vincente DiSanti didn't have to take from the previous and that's alright with me! plus the nickname for NHA Jason is dubbed/nicknamed/called Ghost Jason which doesn't seem so fitting but it works!
My Official Rating:
It's a perfect 3x 5/5 Stars for the appearance section! it was an entirely original Jason that isn't based on the previous Jason's now most fan-films don't "REALLY" do this because of budgets and what not but this Jason has garnished my attention! the damages from the previous clothes isn't there but can be explained, but the underhook is truly different and we hope to see an explanation of how/why his face looks the way it does.
Now the music....
this is 5/5 stars for anyone who is either annoyed with the generic F13 theme but for me, it's not as iconic now is that bad?? no! it's not but it's still something to keep you within the series without being so "Why this theme?" for a fan film, its not no harry behind the scenes for this film (yet??) but it's amazing he has gotten the best for his film.
Pros & Cons
- Movie easter eggs.
- Unique designed Jason.
- Iconic F13 Alumi actor such as Thom Mathews
- Heavily inspired and original idea for a Friday the 13th film.
- Dedicated filmmakers and actors who love the franchise.
- Great environment and setting for a fan-film.
- Iconic references of events from the previous films.
- More and I mean MORE sequels in the works!
- Great camera and screenwriting which made the film look more professional than most fan-films have done.
- Legit stalking with Jason watching and hunting his prey (reminding me of Part 6/7 Jason traits)
- No Hoodie for Jason!!!!
- Not enough of the body count. (Not really a bad thing!)
- Not enough action. (AGAIN not really a bad thing!)
- Seperate own universe that doesn't follow the previous films. (Again not a bad thing!)
The overall rating for the film is a......Solid 5 out 5 stars!
Now I know a lot of people will disagree...but note this is MY OPINION, there are things people like and don't like which is fine but with Never Hike Alone (NHA) it's not a fan film that is overall obsessed with "Killings" which is fine, its story-driven, something some of us fans of the franchise would love to see, not just titties, drinking, and generic movie tropes.
The overall feel of the character kyle and his struggle against Jason is something most of us wants we want to see what makes Jason unpredictable and more Supernatural and Vincente helped with that, he did amazing as his Jason and should be proud, most of those who give credit where credit is due is that because of NHA it helps establish a new wave of fan films during/after 2017 and no he might not be the first to do a fan-film or even the first to start the trend, but he help set that bar for the fanon industry for these films and he helps prove that it's not all about just a budget but a love for a community.
I won't mind seeing his future approaches for his own universe! just hoping for a little more action and a body count to see just how effective his Jason truly is.
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