White Raven (2015)
Directed by: Andrew Moxham.
Written by: Andrew Moxham.
Starring: Steve Bradley, Aaron Brooks, Andrew Dunbar and Shane Twerdun.
For release information check http://www.whitebuffalofilms.com/
“Four men head into the remote woods on an annual camping trip. As one of them gradually loses his mind, the weekend of fun takes a turn for the worse and the other three must fight for their lives.”
Given a choice, there are lots of things I would do rather than go camping. I’ve never seen the appeal of holidaying somewhere cold, unhygienic and lacking the most of basic of facilities. I’ve never found myself thinking, “This seems like an appropriate spot in the wilderness where I could spend my vulnerable sleeping hours, protected from cruel nature and the harsh elements by only a flimsy sheet of polyurethane canvas with a 75 denier.”
Of course, this reluctance to be exposed to the great outdoors means that I’d never receive an invite to join the four camping buddies at the centre of White Raven: but I don’t see that as a bad thing.
Each of the four characters at the heart of White Raven has a grim and bleak existence. Jake (Aaron Brooks: Bad City, Alien Trespass, Naked) is an alcoholic with a nagging wife and the results of a failed drugs test stamped across his (now revoked) pilot’s licence. Dan (Shane Twerdun: She Who Must Burn, Black Mountain Side, Two Married People) has just been told that the young waitress he’s banging has missed her period. Kev (Andrew Dunbar: When Calls the Heart, Leprechaun Origins, Christmas Icetastrophe) has a wife, coming home in the early hours and lying about where she’s been. And, when we first meet Pete (Steve Bradley: She Who Must Burn, Black Mountain Side, Hastings Street), he’s sucking on the barrel of his own handgun and trying to pluck up the courage to squeeze the trigger.
Each of them is living the sort of grim and bleak existence that makes a camping weekend with drunken losers seem like the epitome of fun. Not that I’m saying these party animals don’t have some fun. They wrestle one another with ‘five second fights’. They toast ‘chicks’ they have known. And they competitively shotgun beers. In amongst all the macho showboating, Jake confidently dismisses Dan’s worries about his current relationship by explaining, “There’s no such thing as too young.”
And, when the serious conversation threatens to become too much for the more light-hearted members of the group, Kev tactfully explains that he doesn’t want arguments and serious conversation and says, “I came here to drink beer and jerk off in tents.” I don’t know about anyone else but I’m thinking of using that as the signature for every one of my future Trip Advisor reviews.
The film takes its title from a native American legend about a white raven stealing light and giving it to the world. Pete explains, “When you see a white raven, you’re in a part of the world where the light doesn’t reach.” And, it seems fair to say that this camping weekend is taking place in a pretty dark place. The acting, writing and direction in this one were strong, although I think the film did suffer a couple of devastating flaws. It didn’t help that Jake, Dan and Pete all have a similar build, similar colouring and, in the early stages of the film, are difficult to differentiate. The opening of the film was fairly slow as we were introduced to the backstory on each of these not-so-happy campers and the bleak lives they currently suffer. However, once it did get going, White Raven proved to be a darkly fun excursion into the wilderness.
If nothing else, White Raven is a good reminder why, if anyone invites you on a camping holiday, you should always say, “NO.”