Story Details

Cinematic Releases: The Stairs (2021) - Reviewed

Posted By themoviesleuth 1001 days ago on Entertainment - Courtesy of Wandering Dragon Productions You probably haven’t heard the name of first-time writer-director Peter ‘Drago’ Tiemann or his production company Wandering Dragon Productions.  With a limited one-night-only Fathom Event screening as the only viewing option amid the ever-unfolding COVID-19 pandemic your chances of seeing his first movie, the supernatural woodsy low-budget practical effects driven creature-feature The Stairs, are next to nil for the moment.  That’s a shame because as it turns out, Mr. Drago is a twenty-year plus industry veteran working on-set as a stunt-coordinator and second-unit director before mounting his first picture which echoes the drive-in homegrown old-school horror qualities of the recently released Pierce Brothers monster movie The Wretched. Courtesy of Wandering Dragon Productions Opening in 1997, a young boy goes deer hunting with his grandfather (John Schneider) when they happen upon an otherworldly staircase posited inexplicably in the middle of the woods.  They are never seen or heard from again.  Twenty years later, a group of twenty-something hikers played by Adam Korson, Brent Bailey, Tyra Colar, Stacy Oristano and Josh Crotty unknowingly set off on a trail into the same set of woods and despite the stunning beauty of the mountainous countryside are met with a series of sinister and increasingly terrifying horrors of a supernatural nature.  Attempting to escape being slain by a strange creature lurking in the woods they are led to the same set of stairs which holds the key to unlocking the film’s real nightmare. Co-starring the legendary Kathleen Quinlan in a glorified cameo appearance (also introduces the film I should add), The Stairs follows in the grand tradition of low-budget camping horror movies including but not limited to Friday the 13th, The Prey, Don’t Go in the Woods and Sleepaway Camp.  A pure chase horror in the woods monster movie from top to bottom, the film makes splendid use of the horror tropes, the Seattle and Georgetown, Washington locations and the film’s youthful cast.  There’s also a certain scene involving a baby that’s the most overt callback to David Cronenberg’s The Fly I’ve seen in recent horror.  Mostly the film delivers on the gore effects, the monster effects and a unique kind of Twilight Zone premise touching on notions of the interdimensional.Courtesy of Wandering Dragon Productions Yes the film features many scenes that are clearly a guy running around in a latex rubber costume and there are a lot of loose ends left untied in the plot but for a no-budget horror flick it was a solid little thriller mixing old school horror with mind boggling science fiction ideas.  Moreover as companies like Vinegar Syndrome, Arrow Video and Severin Films continue to unearth forgotten relics of 1980s camping horror, The Stairs is a welcome tribute to those films as a welcome throwback to a subgenre of drive-in horror whose impact on a whole subculture of horror movie buffs is only getting its long overdue recognition now.  All in all, hard to not have admiration for the sheer fun this longstanding industry veteran turned first-time filmmaker conjures up with this one!--Andrew Kotwicki (function() { var zergnet = document.createElement('script'); zergnet.type = 'text/javascript'; zergnet.async = true; zergnet.src = (document.location.protocol == "https:" ? "https:" : "http:") + '//'; var znscr = document.getElementsByTagName('script')[0]; znscr.parentNode.insertBefore(zergnet, znscr); })();

Submit a Comment

Log in to comment or register here