The 2016 slasher Elder Island sees director Darrin James walk down the supermarket isles of horror cinema picking off all the clichés he can in order to create this limp horror of coma-inducing tension.
Based round the story of James Strang; a self proclaimed monarch on Beaver Island in Michigan in the 19th century who’s religious order is known today as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. A brutal ‘monarch’, Strang was assassinated in 1856 and is actually an intriguing historical figure for someone who was clearly a bit of a bastard. Elder Island tells its version of this story early on in the film, which rather than seeing Strang shot in the back and slowly die, has him die in a mediocre low budget Butch and Sundance shoot-out before damning the families of those who killed him, forever!!
Strang, or The Reverend (Michael Robert Brandon) as he becomes here, returns to enact his tediously predictable rage at a range of youngish actors with the acting range of a poppadom. There’s some mild nudity, some unthreatening jelly-like tension, and gore akin to a sixth form Shakespeare play as The Reverend hacks and slashes through unlikeable one-dimensional characters after another, in a film that tries to relive the feel of 1980s slashers but is marginally more fun than missing your last train home.
I do give credit for Elder Island not being a found footage film, but this is predictable, wooden, stilted stuff that makes you realise that, in fact, life is far too short to sit through films like this. Avoid this one unless you’re a serious, die-hard slasher fan with extremely low standards. It does nothing to rewrite the rules, nor does it adhere to the current ones already in place with any style or enjoyable conviction.