The Pit (2021) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

The Pit (2021) Review

Horrorific content by Jack Campion on November 16th, 2021 | Movie Review | Survival, Psychological, Wilderness, Cannibalism, Thriller, Confined

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It's about two old army buddies go on a camping trip in the woods of Florida, only to stumble into a pit which leads to a fraught fight for survival.

The Pit was directed by Stacy Brown Jr. and stars Les Stroud, Stacy Brown Jr. and Svetlana Dashevskaya (from Day Of Wrath).

The Pit (2021)

Where to start with The Pit? I really don’t want to be too harsh on Stacy Brown Jr., the writer, director and co-star of this backwoods horror escapade. I can see real passion behind his work, as well some real creative potential. I think with the right set-up he could be a really promising indie horror director.

Unfortunately, The Pit is a bit of a false start for his career. With cinematography that feels very amateurish and a complete lack of any atmosphere, the viewer only has character to latch on to. But much like the situation presented in the film, the viewer will find themselves falling into a pit of boredom since there’s nothing for them to hold on to.

The camera finds it very difficult to stay in focus, and nearly all shots are handheld. Characters are framed awkwardly, so the eye is drawn to vast empty spaces. One of the first shots of the film, the part that is supposed to get you hooked, depicts the protagonist Danny (Les Stroud) getting out of his car and walking up to Aaron’s (Stacey Brown Jr.) house. The lighting is over exposed with no account for white balance and the scene is flat. It is wholly unengaging. When I saw it, I gave it the benefit of the doubt. After all, this is a low-budget indie film so you do have to make certain allowances. But after a while it becomes nauseating, frustrating, and eventually intolerable.

Unfortunately the visuals are but a single bogey in this snotty tissue of a film. The writing is perhaps the worst sufferer. Having two best friends go camping when they haven’t spoken for twenty years just seems bizarre. As in, twenty years is a monumental amount of time to not see someone. Are you even the same person after twenty years? It makes scenes where they reminisce about old times comical, especially when you consider their “old times” are them going through horrible things in Afghanistan.

The film sells itself on the inevitability of their friendship falling apart but removes any tension that might have been built by virtue of them acting like they hate each other half the time before they fall down the pit. You need to parcel that kind of thing out over time, know where the breaking point is between friend and foe, so you can push the narrative towards it.

In the end, The Pit becomes a literal pit and swallows up any potential for enjoyment, and, hey, maybe that was the intention of an incredibly out there auteur that I am simply too philistine to notice. Bravo, Stacy Brown Jr., bravo.

Worth Watching?

What could have been quite an interesting little film turns into a bit of a dull mess. It should either cut out about thirty minutes of footage, or just be remade with a better writer at the helm. If I didn’t have to watch the whole thing for journalistic integrity, I would have shut it off after ten minutes.

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