‘Savageland’ Disturbs Doubly With Social Commentary
By Pat Torfe | Apr 10, 2017 8:50 am
While the found footage subgenre has been done to death and then some, its close cousin in the mockumentary hasn’t had the same amount of overexposure. It’s kind of surprising, given the latter genre has been around much longer than found footage. Then again, found footage films also tend to be easier to come up with for budding horror directors. Savageland, written and directed by newcomers Phil Guidry, Simon Herbert and David Whelan, does take the mockumentary route, but also injects a bit of social commentary into it that seems more relevant now than when the film was screened at festivals back in 2015.
Francisco Salazar (Noe Montes) is an illegal immigrant laborer and amateur photographer. He’s also the lone survivor and accused in a mass murder spree in 2011 in Sangre de Cristo (derisively nicknamed “Savageland”), a small town near the Arizona-Mexico border. In spite of the lack of evidence pointing to his guilt, anti-immigrant prejudice and the desire to find a scapegoat win out. On Salazar’s appeal with a set of photos taken that night, however, the truth involving unspeakable horror comes to light.