As a big fan of the WWE, I’ve been seeing a lot of previews for their movie, Barricade, which was released to DVD at the end of September. This is the first original production from WWE Studios that does not feature one of their superstars in either a leading or a supporting role. Starring Eric McCormack as Terrance Shade, the film follows him and his two children as they retreat to a cabin in the woods after the untimely death of his wife. He hopes to give his children a white Christmas, something his late wife wished for the family, and arranges with the local sheriff to have the fridge stocked and the cabin decorated. The children, reluctant at first, begin to warm up to the idea of the cabin after seeing the Christmas tree, gifts, and junk food in the freezer downstairs.
As they arrive at the cabin, we see the first hint of a supernatural presence as something translucent in the sky obscures and warps the image of the full moon. Soon after, strange things begin to happen around the cabin. Terrance sees a frightening girl outside of the window, but finds no one outside when he investigates and no evidence of her presence other than a hand print on the window pane. His daughter Cynthia, played by Conner Dwelly, hears something in the attic. His son Jake, played by Ryan Grantham, sees something lurking in the trees surrounding the cabin. We are offered brief glimpses, but what lies outside remains a mystery.
As the family deals with their fear, Terrance realizes that they have become sick and need to see a doctor in town. As he attempts to get the family help, a sudden blizzard hits and buries the car, trapping them at the cabin. Allowing the fear to take over, Terrance gathers tools from the shed and barricades the family inside the cabin. As he completes this task, Cynthia questions if they have locked the evil out or if they have unknowingly locked in inside with them.
After a few scary moments with his children, eventually seeming to find them lying lifeless in bed, Terrance begins to realize that the evil is in his own mind, something he created. The noise in the attic is the sheriff, who he tied up and imprisoned there after blaming him for getting the children sick. The dangers were simply hallucinations brought on by the fevers. As the local police enter the cabin to rescue the sheriff, Terrance sees everything clearly and is able to get his children and himself into the ambulance brought by the police to finally get some help. As they drive away, we again see the translucency in the sky, suggesting that perhaps it wasn’t all in his head as he thought. Something is out there.
As far as horror films go, this was all right. The wife, played by Jody Thompson, is in dire need of some acting lessons. Her performances in the beginning scene of the film and the flashbacks were mediocre and amateur. It was distracting to see her overacting and lack of skill. Her death, slipping on water and smashing the back of her skull on the kitchen counter, was a total letdown. We learn that the scar on Terrance’s hand was from a shard of the glass she broke and her death was just a silly accident. With the mystery that was built up about her death, I simply expected more. This death scene would have fit better in the beginning of the movie as opposed to a big reveal in the middle.
There was a lot of potential for some great scares that I don’t think this movie took advantage of. The image of the girl that appears briefly in the glass was pretty darn terrifying, however we are only given that small glimpse and we never see her horrific face again. Avoiding cheap scares can be an intelligent move for a horror flick that wants to be taken seriously, but it wouldn’t have hurt to give us more of this girl (or similar) to shock the audience a bit. A door moves by itself early on, but we needed more. Ghostly figures in the trees could have been scary if we saw more than a split second of movement. At no point during the film was I on edge and I need to be on edge to enjoy a good scary movie.
Overall, this movie wasn’t bad but it also wasn’t great. We rented it at Redbox and I feel like we got our money’s worth and that we didn’t waste our night watching it. I wouldn’t recommend buying it, but if you have a free night, I’d definitely say it’s worth a rent or a view on Netflix whenever it makes it out there. For WWE Studio’s first effort without one of their superstars, it was a good beginning. Here’s hoping they improve from here on out.