Director – Trygve Allister Diesen, Lucky McKee
Cast – Brian Cox, Noel Fisher, Kyle Gallner, Shiloh Fernandez, Kim Dickens, Marcia Bennett, Richard Riehle, Tom Sizemore, Ashley Laurence, Robert Englund, Amanda Plummer
Release Year – 2008
Reviewed by John of the Dead
I debated for quite some time on whether or not to review this film, simply because it is not an outright horror film. Normally I do review pseudo-horror films, but the amount of drama in this film is relatively high, with the horror taking the backseat. Nonetheless, given this film was adapted from a novel by horror novelist Jack Ketchum, and consists of several actors familiar to the horror genre…I decided to do this for the fans. If you know me then you know I am a HUGE fan of vengeance films, and although this one did not give me the bloody gruesome vengeance I wanted to see, it was still a very nice watch.
“Red” stars the ever-awesome Brian Cox(the original Hannibal Lecter) as Avery Ludlow, a simple widowed man who’s only loved one in existence is his lovable dog, Red. One day while fishing a group of punk kids try robbing Avery. Unsatisfied with the amount of money he had on him, they shoot Red point blank with a shotgun. Avery’s agony is unimaginable, and his agony only worsens when he learns that legally the kids will not face justice thanks to the leader’s rich father, who has all of the town’s officials on his payroll. Avery must now take alternative measures to get vengeance for Red, the only love he had left in his life.
If you are a lover of dogs and vengeance as I am, you are going to enjoy this film. It’s obvious why this film did not get widespread recognition, its about vengeance…over a dog. You can’t expect the masses to care, but for those of us who do this film is a real treat. We never get films like this anymore, and I appreciate the filmmakers for their work with this one. The real horror in this film lies in the immense negligence displayed by the kids, and what battles Avery must go through to get just the slightest bit of attention paid towards this atrocity. Directors Trygve Allister Diesen and Lucky McKee(who was fired early into filming) did a fantastic job showing this horror and moving the audience(me) to feel the pain Avery was feeling. Very well written and even better directed.
Brian Cox’s performance as Avery was amazing, as is pretty much every role I have seen him portray. For a Scotsman to perfectly portray a Montana mountain man you must have extreme talent, and Brian Cox fits that requirement. We see real horror in his face, real grief, and a calm persona that should have won Avery the Nobel Peace Prize. Watching his character develop throughout the film from this cool persona to a man who cannot let the incident go, a man bent on revenge, was awesome. Each struggle he went through was all the more frustrating, for him and the viewer, and watching our current justice system fail sent a nice message as well. There is not a whole lot to this film, it is simple, just like Avery himself.
My only wish for this film would be a more vengeful ending. Ever the fan of vengeance, I was slightly disappointed that I did not see Avery get bloody gruesome vengeance on the antagonists, especially given how moved I was by the film’s content. The ending was adequate though, and simple(a common word in this film), so I was not necessarily let down, I just wanted more.
Overall, this is a great horror/drama that I recommend to fans of Brian Cox, dogs, Jack Ketchum, and how our justice system reeks of inadequacy and corruption. Give this one a watch.