Fresh on Blu-ray: ‘DESOLATION’ a familiar horror story with meaty characters


Preston Barta // Features Editor


Not rated, 76 minutes.
Director: Sam Patton
Starring: Toby NicholsJaimi PaigeAlyshia Ochse and Claude Duhamel
Available today on Blu-ray and DVD through

DESOLATION is a pared-down, surprisingly character-driven horror movie about a Rob Zombie-looking stalker (Claude Duhamel) who follows a grieving mother, accompanied by her teenage son (Toby Nichols) and her best friend (Alyshia Ochse), who journeys into the woods to scatter the ashes of her late husband. All seems well for the first half-hour, but then the mysterious man appears.

I know it seems like you’ve seen this movie a hundred times before, but DESOLATION does something that we rarely see in movies of this kind anymore. We get actual character development before the blood hits the floor. While the killer himself is never fully developed (he doesn’t talk, but he has some cool shades), the rewarding aspect to his character, and the film, is what his presence can represent. You can almost project any internal struggles on screen. For me, I read it as someone trying to overcome grief before it kills them. But try it on for size, and see what you make of it.

Grade: B

About author

Preston Barta

Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.