To be completely honest, what first enlightened me to reach out to the folks associated with Berkshire County was the poster; it’s absolutely brilliant in my eyes. The color contrast was dark and dreary, the font was absolutely perfect, and the masked Pig-Man (because that is the first name that popped into my head) illuminated by a single lamp post was terrifying. What was he doing? Why is his head tilted? Why do I get the feeling that because of this one piece of imagery do I imagine that nothing is what it seems? Is it even a him?
The questions that immediately started popping up in my head had to be gratified.
I guess I picked a winner because at the time the Shriekfest Horror Festival was going on and Berkshire County bought the bacon home for Best Horror Feature. That’s a pretty amazing feat, and after speaking with writer Chris Gamble, I got a better concept about what the movie was about and the underlying elements that are constructed throughout the film.
Kylie Winters (Alysa King) is a bullied teenager who doesn’t think of much of herself. On Halloween night she agrees to babysit two children in a mansion in Berkshire County. While driving to the home, she notices what looks like a pig truck that is used to carry meat carcasses on the side of the road, complete with a man in a pig mask. When a small child appears at her doorstep, also in a pig mask, she thinks nothing of it…until Kylie’s world is flipped upside down as she races to save the children and herself.
The film predominantly takes place in a large mansion that is isolated from the other homes. What I found interesting was that the parents of the two children quite possibly didn’t even take their children out trick r’ treating in the dark of the night at all, but rather chose to call a babysitter at the last minute. This was the first thing I thought of was the parents, and why they suddenly chose to go out on Halloween night. Perhaps there was something sinister lurking in the dark with the parents?
The movie in it’s entirety is about a young girl trying to escape not only the demons that she was dealing with in her personal life, but also real life killers that intentionally meant physical harm. Those are two elements that can be unbearable to contain. Not to mention why she was being targeted in the first place.
I always enjoy these types of thrillers because I have always said that the living scare me more than the dead. I would rather stay in a haunted house than babysit two little children, in an isolated countryside, with no other humans in sight to call when I needed help. This is the main element that made this movie terrifying in its own right. Not knowing what is going outside and the sheer terror of not being able to find out is a horror element that will never get old.
For writer Chris Gamble, the movie is loosely based on a personal experience, one in which he was babysitting at a young age and became the target of a harmless prank. Yet the feeling of sheer terror when you don’t know what you are dealing with is one that sticks to your ribs and this is what inspired him to write Berkshire County. In an interview with Chris, he mentioned that he wanted a strong protagonist that not only had to fight the demons outside, but also had to face the issues that were facing her internally. As she is being hunted, she needs to figure out how she can come out of this battle alive but at the same time uphold an integrity to use this strength to build herself. I asked Chris why he thought that Berkshire County stood out from other movies that were being viewed at Shriekfest; he stated that perhaps the audience had a strong reaction to the protagonist and her issues of being bullied and victimized. This is the type of mentality that is horrifying because when it is a collective group of individuals that are arranging the attack, it is more likely that the victim will never recover. Chris also spoke on Audrey Cummings, who served as the post-production Supervisor on the film, and worked extremely hard to perfect every element, from music to sound to color correction. She had an extremely strong vision for the film, one which Alysa, the actress who played Kylie, shared as well.
What I would have liked to see more is possibly some sort of inkling as to why three masked pigs are targeting a young teenager and two small children, or perhaps more of a background on the nature of the pigs. But taking a page from The Strangers, sometimes you have to leave the audience guessing and leave it to our imagination. Also, some of the acting didn’t seem to bring a strong element of bullying; I would have liked to see Alyssa really crack…and then maybe turn all bad ass Angeline Jolie-like.
Or we could be looking at a sequel.
All in all, if you are looking for a nice little Halloween fright with the shades drawn and the doors locked tight, check out Berkshire County.
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