Hellbender (2021, dir. Toby Poser, Zelda Adams & John Adams [AKA The Adams Family])

An isolated rural home-schooled teen discovers she is from a line of witches. Smart, austere Catskills-set horror that looks good, is well-contained, and riffs engagingly on Carrie in doing so. An impressive, minimalist feature: recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Jug Face [AKA The Pit] (2013, dir. Chad Crawford Kinkle)

A young woman, finding herself both pregnant and earmarked for sacrifice, tries to escape her backwoods community. Strong and unusual horror movie, anchored by a decent cast, some vivid ideas, and a sense of inevitability. Recommended.

Here’s the trailer.

Preservation (2014, dir. Christopher Denham)

Three backpackers on a hunting weekend are themselves hunted. Generally straightforward backwoods horror/thriller with a few interesting ideas and images, though with annoyances about character, plot and geographic consistency.

Here’s the trailer.

Rust Creek (2018, dir. Jen McGowan)

A young woman takes a wrong turn and ends up on the run from a pair of backwoods Kentucky meth dealers. An interesting take on a well-worn premise, spending as much time on character and relationships as on in-peril thriller/horror melodramatics. Lots of promise here from all involved.

Here’s the trailer.

Army Of One (2020, dir. Stephen Dunham)

An ex-special forces soldier takes on the matriarchal backwoods criminal clan who killed her husband. Effective DTV vehicle that maximises limited resources, showcasing Ellen Hollman well. Plenty of unpretentious fisticuffs fun: sharper script and direction, and this would have been a minor classic.

Here’s the trailer.

Wrong Turn (2003, dir. Rob Schmidt)

Young travellers are set upon by inbred West Virginia backwoods cannibals. Straightforward Texas Chain Saw Massacre emulation that benefits from its linearity, a good-looking cast, and a couple of strong visual moments. No classic, but subgenre fans won’t be disappointed. Sequels followed.

Here’s the trailer.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation [AKA The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre] (1994, dir. Kim Henkel)

Four students leave their senior prom and get lost in the woods, happening across the Sawyer clan. Again, there’s interesting stuff among the scream and chase stuff, not least an odd wider story, and some smart production design. Patchy, though.