Madison County

May 30, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

The rural locale of Madison County was home to a rash of brutal murders, a horrific spree of violence in which the murderer was never captured. The legend claims the killer was Damien Ewell, a maniac who wore a pig’s head over his own as he slaughtered his victims. But now years later, the locals insist that Ewell is a product of fiction and no such person ever existed. The shocking story was revealed by a true crime author, but again the locals claim the writer fabricated most of the details of the case. The mysterious situation gets the attention of a group of college students, who trek to Madison County with plans to meet the author. Once they arrive however, they’re unable to track down the writer and the locals provide no assistance. When the students do their own investigation, they discover that not only was Ewell real and a sadistic killer, but he is still alive. Ewell begins to hunt the students in order both satiate his blood lust and ensure the truth remains hidden. As this madman stalks the college students, will anyone survive to let the world know the truth about Madison County?

Who doesn’t love a redneck serial killer who wears a pig’s head? Madison County promises to be a slasher movie with an old school texture, but does it deliver? In truth, this is not a bullet train of violence, gore, and terror. The focus is squarely on the plot for the first half of the film, with exposition packed in every scene. This would be good if the story was a great one, but this is just a cookie cutter “rural locals versus urban college kids” type tale. So while the story is at home in a slasher movie, the focus should have been on the horror elements, not exposition. Once the pace picks up, Madison County switches focus from plot to atmosphere. Again, I love atmospheric horror, but it seems overdone here. The film has been marketed as an old school horror tribute of sorts, which is simply not the case. Madison County isn’t a bad movie at all, but it fails to deliver enough horror to entertain genre fans, and I doubt the story would entrance mainstream viewers. But you still have a redneck wearing the head of a pig and by that merit alone, a rental wouldn’t be a terrible idea.

Video: How does it look?

Madison County is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a solid transfer, with good detail and a clean image overall. The film’s low budget roots are evident, but the movie’s visuals are still well represented. I found detail to be strong, though not remarkable, while the image is clean and clear throughout. The colors come off as natural and suffer no ill effects, while contrast is stark and consistent. I’m not sure why a Blu-ray release wasn’t offered up, but as far as low rent horror DVD transfers go, this one looks quite good.

Audio: How does it sound?

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is solid, but not that memorable. As I said above, the film emphasis atmosphere, but not much is done to reinforce that with the sound design. Some tweaks to put more presence in the surrounds could have gone far to add to the eerie tension, at least in my opinion. The music sounds good though, while dialogue is clear and clean. Not a bad track per se, but I feel it could have been better

Supplements: What are the extras?

The extras include an audio commentary track, as well as Q&A session featurette.

Disc Scores