31 DAYS OF HORROR REVIEW: TOTEM

CAST

Jason Faunt (Power Rangers Time Force)
Marissa Tait (The Bold and The Beautiful)
Sacha Spencer (Task Force 2001)
Tyler Anderson (Micro Mini Kids)
Alicia Lagano (ParaNorman)

6jzYIn the middle of the woods out in the middle of nowhere, an old, but well preserved cabin rests. Out of the blue, a young woman, who is later revealed to be Alma Groves (Marissa Tait) bolts through the woods and into the cabin – where she is greeted by five other teens.  Once Alma comes to, Paul (Jason Faunt), a mechanic, introduces the others; Len (Eric W. Edwards) – a jockish guy who was having sex with an unknown coed; Tina (Alicia Lagano) – a high school student who left right in the middle of class; Roz (Sacha Spencer) – an art student who was at a museum; and Robert (Tyler Anderson) – a young Native American man who just sits quietly in the corner of the room. All six of these young adults were carrying on with their daily lives, when they suddenly saw the image of the cabin in their heads. Without realizing what was happening, they all took off in the fastest direction to the cabin. But none of them knew where this cabin is located, none of them told anyone else about it, and all of them knew that there would be a total of six people.

All of them have tried to escape – but found that they couldn’t. They can only get about 100 feet from the cabin before crossing over some sort of invisible barrier that slows down their movements and sends them running back. Alma decides to try, despite the others warning her that nothing will happen. However, they find that there is a small path that the barrier does not surround, and the others follow her.
6jzYAfter walking down the path, they find themselves in an old graveyard. In the center of the graveyard is an old, mysterious stone structure which they take for a totem pole. The pole has three slots on one side, each slot housing an old, metal statue resembling some sort of demon. Len decides to smash it with a sledgehammer, but finds that the pole is surrounded by a barrier, much like the cabin. On the way back to the cabin, Alma and Robert theorize that the barrier doesn’t actually surround the cabin, but the graveyard instead.

With no immediate way to leave, the teens settle in the cabin for the night. While Tina goes outside to use the outhouse, Roz calls the others into the other room, where they find a mummified human hand (with the hatchet still attached) atop an old cutting block. At the other end of the room is an old bookcase, which contains a very old leather bound Bible. In the bible is a photograph of the family who built the cabin, dated March 11, 1899. Strangely, there are six members of the family, much like there are six of them. That, along with the fact that the graveyard looks older than one century, makes them suspicious. When Tina doesn’t return, Paul arms himself with the hatchet and goes out find her. Paul finds her in the graveyard, where they find gravestones of themselves and their companions – all stating that very night as the date of their deaths. Back in the cabin, Roz begins to speculate that the forces that compelled them to the cabin, may have caused the rest of them to stay inside while Paul went to find Tina. Suddenly, Paul bursts through the door, covered in blood, and carrying Tina’s corpse. He tells the others that he doesn’t remember much of what happened, only that he believe the top statue of the Totem pole was moving.610cf47d696a9d750b35417ec87cfed2Suddenly, Tina becomes reanimated, only to speak. She speaks in a language that only Robert is able to translate. The voices speaking through Tina claim that a ritual will take place. The ritual requires three people to be killed, and three people to kill them. With each death, one of the statues from the Totem pole – the masters of death – come to life. At the end of the ritual, the age of fire and blood shall begin.
After Robert checks the Totem pole and finds the statue is in fact missing, the kids discuss their situation. They speculate that the family who built the cabin had become part of the same ritual a century earlier. However, since the age of fire and blood had not occurred then, the family must have found a way to stop the ritual. Suddenly, the statue bursts through the window. All of them but Paul are unable to move. The statue goes to the table to try to get Tina. But Paul forces it to leave. Afterwards, Robert theorizes that Paul was immune to the powers because he killed Tina – possibly without even knowing it. Even so, the marks on Tina’s chest are blade marks, not claws. Paul refuses to believe any of it and steps out the door – only to be dragged off by the statue. As the night drags on, Alma, Robert, Len and Roz try to stop the ritual – including Robert unsuccessfully trying to kill himself. Roz even kills Len, thinking he was trying to kill her. Roz – now one of the killers – devises a plan to kill another victim, which will (presumably) stop the ritual (a killer is only supposed to kill once). She attempts to strangle Alma to death, until the second statue jumps through the window and drags her away.6jzYThis movie is undoubtedly a product of Full Moon in its style, acting, and plot. The special effects are hysterical. One of the monsters who can supposedly fly sports a pair of wires that are all too visible. Also towards the end, when dead people are rising the make-up warrants an oscar award for a job well done. The corps wear rubber masks that yield no facial expressions whatsoever and when they grab for the people you can notice that nothing has been done to their arms so there is a complete contrast between the decayed face and the skin on the hands and arms. Also of note its nice to see Jason Faunt from Power Rangers Time Force in the film.

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