THE CANYONLANDS (2021) Reviews of river trip horror

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The Canyonlands is a 2020 American horror film about a river guide and her companions stalked by an evil entity on a canyon camping trip.

Written and directed by Brendan Devane – making his feature debut – the Sadieland Productions movie stars Stephanie Barkley (Blinders; Caesar and Otto’s Paranormal Halloween), Marqus Bobesich (Blade: The Iron Cross; Clown; The Crossbreed), Wayne Charles Baker (Indian Horse) and Sheldon D. Brown.

The guitar-based soundtrack score was composed by Brendan Bayliss and Jake Cinninger.

Plot:
Lauren (Stephanie Barkley), a river guide in southeastern Utah, has been experiencing disturbing visions lately. Reluctantly agreeing to take five contest winners on an overnight trip down the Colorado River, she soon finds herself struggling to keep it together with the visions. Camping for the night, the group becomes separated and lost in the labyrinth of canyons and discovers they aren’t alone in the remote terrain.

Stalked by an evil presence, Lauren and her guests are thrown into a 150-year-old feud, and Lauren must confront her visions to see the contest winners, and herself through until morning…

Our view:
Despite a mildly promising opening and some gorgeous location scenery, The Canyonlands doesn’t have enough plot to sustain its overlong running time and the campers are a dreary clichéd bunch whom we have no interest in. Hence, when they die it’s just a relief – a standard slasher trope perhaps but there isn’t even a decent twist here to offer anything more. And more than half of the movie is shot in semi-darkness gloom. Adrian J Smith, MOVIES and MANIA

MOVIES and MANIA rating:

Other reviews:
“The night shots are poorly lit. They look like day-for-night shots. Of all the lighting solutions the crew could’ve come up with, Devane picked the unethical one. He just tinted the whole thing blue. Compositing tests should’ve been made. A few contrasting filters would’ve made this thing easier to discern. It’s unwatchable.” Tales of Terror

” …the script takes the lazy way out and makes the unnamed tribe fairly generic Hollywood Indians. For a film with something to say about the treatment of minorities, The Canyonlands relies on tired clichés and stereotypes way too much […] The stalk and slash through the canyons has its moments, but a lot of it is ruined by scenes that were very obviously shot day for night.” Voices from the Balcony

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