Fort Doom (2004)

DVD Cover (Silver Nitrate Films)
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Overall Rating 46%
Overall Rating
Ranked #12,477
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A new start in the post Civil War era old west bring a young budding photographer and four women together as they try to establish a new life in Fort Doom. They soon find out that the natives are the least of their worries. --IMDb
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Review by Chad
Added: November 30, 2006
When I saw this one listed on the new release list last month, I had high hopes - after all, it stars both Debbie Rochon and Billy Drago, and it's a horror western. Up until this point, I have yet to see a bad horror set in the western universe; of course, there isn't a whole lot of them out there, but the ones I had seen were great. That all changed after a trip to Fort Doom, however.

The story centers around a group of prostitutes, led by Lacy Everett (Debbie Rochon) and her sister Kate (Jennifer Lauren Grant), who set out for what the locals call Fort Doom to set up a new brothel. Along the way, they meet photographer Jason Devries (Joshua Park), a man who takes a liking to Kate much to the chagrin of Lacy, and since nobody wants to travel out to Fort Doom for reasons which are unknown at this point, the group decides to stick together during the fifteen-mile hike.

When the group arrives, they find that there is a fairly active little community here, consisting of Sheriff Wilcox (director J. Christian Ingvordsen), local undertaker Mr. Fallow (Billy Drago), town doctor Reed James (Rick Washburn), and plenty of young men to get the brothel business off the ground. There's also been a string of murders around here lately, and it doesn't take long before the newcomers get a taste of it. Melissa Paladino and Mya Sagara also show up in fairly minor roles to round out the gang of prostitutes.

Now, I mentioned at the beginning of this review that I was looking forward to this one, but I can't deny that I had some preconceived ideas about how it would turn out: I sort of expected a slasher movie with plenty of softcore sex scenes, but I was hoping that it would go beyond that and deliver a good horror nonetheless. Still, the premise intrigued me, and after seeing a couple of impressive names amongst the cast, I decided to give it a chance. I certainly didn't get a good horror out of this: the storyline had all the originality of a Garfield cartoon, the kills were weak, and save for good ol' Debbie flashing the goods for a split second, there wasn't even any boobies to be found. I don't watch horror films for buckets of bloods and copious nudity, but you really have to have something going on if the storyline is as boring as it was here.

The movie tries to pull a few surprises out of the audience, and in a sense, it succeeds. This is because the movie is packed full of what seems to be red herrings: you know, the creepy guy who just reeks of guilt, but turns out to be completely innocent in the end. There's always one or two of these to be found in any given slasher flick, but here, they actually turn out to be the guilty party. It was a surprise since I didn't expect them to actually go that route, I'll give them that much, but we then get to watch as the cast acts completely shocked that this was the person responsible for the duration of a couple of scenes. There's a few other twists thrown in that try to take this out of the generic slasher genre, but none of these work and a couple are downright stupid.

Then we have the cast. Billy Drago is great, as always, and he managed to save a couple of scenes even though he doesn't have a starring role (it's more like a beefed-up cameo appearance). Then, we have everybody else. Debbie Rochon was the shocker here: I've seen her in numerous films, and she always brings something to the table in terms of her acting ability, but here, she's just sort of - well, there. Save for a few choice scenes, her dialogue comes across as bored and uninspired, and it honestly seems like she was just trying to get through the shoot and get the hell out of there. The rest of the cast is no better, and I can't help but wonder if this is how the director wanted it to be since I know Debbie can turn in a killer performance when needed.

There are plenty of good horror westerns out there (with Dead Birds being one of the best) and there's plenty of room for more good entries, but this is not one of them. Avoid. 3/10.
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