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

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction ( as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.