Anyone who is anyone in the horror community knows the name, Jason Voorhees. What some people may not realize about the unkillable hockey mask slasher is that he received his own fan film in 2017 titled simply, Never Hike Alone. The film covers a hiker’s experience being hunted by Jason in a thrilling experience full of tension and surprises that was well received by fans and newcomers alike. By the same production team comes the sequel, Never Hike in the Snow, showing Jason in the environment that everyone has wanted to see for years, an icy winter landscape.
As the winter season has crept into Crystal Lake, this would normally dissuade many hikers from braving the forest, but not Mark Hill. What was supposed to be a quiet day of snow cover photography has turned into a race for his life as he is chased by a maniac wearing a hockey mask. Within just feet of the safety of his car, Mark meets a grisly end at the edge of an ax. Finding the abandoned car and a pool of blood the sheriff heads to tell the boy’s mother her son is missing, all the while a hidden onlooker knows exactly who is to blame.
Where Never Hike Alone had the simple tone of a cat and mouse game that escalated to a fun and surprising conclusion, Never Hike in the Snow has a muddled and confusing tone. Through the short, there is a theme of parenthood and what the loss of a family figure can do to someone. When Diana Hill is informed of her son’s disappearance there is a flashback to a bonding moment combined with her tears of devastation when the sheriff leaves. This is juxtaposed by a rather powerful moment of Jason embracing his long-dead mother, they are both strong moments but they feel off in a movie where a few moments prior there was a boy with an ax down this throat. Combined with the film being twenty minutes shorter than the first one, there is not as much time to play with the characters before the film abruptly ends.
Critiques aside Never Hike Alone is a beautifully shot and thrilling film with more pros than cons by a mile and considering the Production team has planned on the Never Hike series to a total of six films, there is plenty of time to improve.
7 out of 10