Encapsulated Cinema One-Shot: Darren Lynn Bousman’s The Barrens

Allie MacDonald and Mia Kirshner in The Barrens (2012) Movie Image

I’ve been holding out hope that someone with a knack for horror would deliver a solid genre flick centered around the Jersey Devil. I’m beginning to think such a request simply too much to ask. Writer/director Darren Lynn Bousman’s 2012 misfire “The Barrens” takes the legend and tries to do something artsy with it. Does the creature actually exist, or is it all inside the mind of a father who is slowly losing his grip on reality? After an hour and 20 minutes of noodling around in the woods, Bousman goes for a shock ending that, honestly, most people will see coming a mile away. The pacing is slow, the atmosphere is dry, the story is weak — it’s everything a Jersey Devil movie shouldn’t be. Bousman recently said internet piracy was the reason his 2011 thriller “11-11-11″ tanked at the box office. After seeing “The Barrens,” I’m wondering if he only has himself to blame for his cinematic shortcomings. Point blank: It’s just not that good.

On a lighter note, I did think Darren Lynn Bousman’s “Mother’s Day” wasn’t too bad. Overlong, but altogether enjoyable. If you’re forced by unscrupulous individuals to choose between the two, take my advice and avoid the Jersey Devil flick.