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November 2009 SITE MAP   SEARCH

Staunton Hill
cast: Kiko Ellsworth, Cooper Huckabee, Kathy Lamkin, David Rountree, and Christine Carlo

director: Cameron Romero

86 minutes (18) 2009
widescreen ratio 1.85:1
Anchor Bay UK DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 4/10
reviewed by James A. Stewart
Following in the greatness of a parent can be one of most intimidating things a child can have to do. Actors/ actresses such as Jamie Lee Curtis, Charlie Sheen, Ewan McGregor, etc, have all come from families with some quite significant success in the film industry. So, the movie world has watched with interest as the great George A. Romero's son Cameron comes in to the film business with the horror movie Staunton Hill. It is not a blinding contribution.

Cameron's biggest problem seems to be that he struggles to distance himself from his dad's canon. The film is set in America, 1969. There seems to be no real reason for 1969 being chosen. A group of really seeking kids are hitchhiking to the event when a 'good Samaritan' offers them a lift. But things are not as they seem and before we know it they are locked up in a remote farmhouse after the truck breaks down and are subject to the whims of some god fearing hillbillies who want to do anything but help them.

As a film it is shot exceptionally well. The framing and scene-setting is slick and the location is eerily effective. It is the script and story that fails Staunton Hill and, as such, leaves Romero junior looking a bit naive. The lack of suspense and surprise is disappointing and belittles a decent cast and their attempts to bring the movie to life.

Staunton Hill

It is hard to decide who holds the greater proportion of responsibility for this, be it Romero junior, or writer David Rountree, there is a serious lack of consistency in the quite laconic plot. It starts slowly and then trudges to a standstill. There are a series of loopholes in the film that seem quite obvious and it is difficult to believe that Cameron gave dad a look at it before publishing. If he did, you have to hope George mentioned the parallels between his son's movie and offerings such as The Hills Have Eyes. Staunton Hill is an avoidable and scare-free zone, and is wholeheartedly uninspiring. It's all style and no substance. Perhaps Cameron Romero has a talent for direction but there is a need for a much better script to work with than this.
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