Reviewed by

Christopher Armstead

It’s a Glorious Day here in SyFy Original movie land! On this day we have the first ever Sci-Fi Original Movie Double Feature Premiere, at least as far as I know, starting with this movie ‘Black Forest’ which is a wicked take on those fairy tales we used to listen to before our parents sent us on to bed to experience horrible nightmares, followed by Witchslayer: Gretl! Unfortunately the DVR forgot to grab Witchslayer Gretl so it doesn’t look like I’m going to be weighing in on that one anytime soon. However from what I’m told, that’s not a bad thing since this movie ‘Black Forest’ is the far superior film. If this is true… then maybe somebody should run out and burn Witchslayer: Gretl. Not that I’m saying that ‘Black Forest’ is a bad movie or anything. I’m just saying that… you know… Witchslayer Gretl must not be very good.

Say hello to The Weirdo (Ben Cross). I’m sure people in this movie have actual names, but they are better defined by their personality traits. Also, I don’t remember where we are supposed to be… I know where we actually are, that being Bulgaria because Bulgarian character actors Mike Straub and the legendary Velizar Binev are in this movie which is a

Bulgarian giveaway, but I don’t know what location Bulgaria is pretending to be. So The Weirdo has a little tourist thing going on where he carries a feather and cackles like a lunatic, while taking people to some mini-Stonehenge style rocks which allegedly has magic powers. Today on his tour bus The Weirdo has a quite an eclectic collection of folks. There’s Tragic Hero (Dhaffer L’Abadine) who misses his dead wife something awful and just wants to get away, and there’s Disposable Minority (Howard Charles) and his best friend Exposition Guy (Oliver James). Exposition Guy possesses all kinds of sage knowledge about stuff from a wide ranging list of topics including being an expert on fairytales to the gelatinous nature of alternate dimensions. He’s a smart dude. Then there’s Asshole (Andy Clemence), his wife Terrible Mother and their nanny The Tramp (Sapphire Elia).

So The Weirdo takes this crew up to the rocks, mind you Terrible Mother has brought her infant daughter along on the adventure, then The Weirdo does some incantation, a ghostly apparition appears, Terrible Mother walks towards this apparition as only a bad mother would do and wouldn’t you know… this thing steals her baby. In all honestly, we think the baby might be in a better place right now after spending time with Asshole and his wife Terrible Mother.

Unfortunately the missing baby is the good news. Since The Weirdo and his tour bus have disappeared, it looks like our crew isn’t even on the planet Earth anymore. Nope, they seem to be in weird fantasyland based on fairytales, illuminated to us by Exposition Guy. Eventually they’ll meet a young lady in Suspicious Chick (Tinsel Korey) who has been surviving in this fantasyland for a number of years and if they listen to her, she can help them survive. But there’s something about Suspicious Chick that doesn’t sit well with Tragic Hero.

It’s not long before the bad things start happening. Tragic Mother is stabbed by the Old Lady in the Shoe or somebody and then turned into sleeping beauty, The Tramp meets the Seven Dwarves, and that turns out real bad for her, Disposable Minority meets the Big Bad Wolf and that turns out even worse for him and the carnage continues for the surviving saps.

So what the heck is going on here? You’re asking the wrong guy.

To give credit where credit is due, director Patrick Dinhut’s ‘Black Forest’ is at least a different brand of Sci-Fi Original since we’re not dealing with rogue weather patterns, freed prehistoric monsters or genetically mutated crocodiles. Even though we kind of prefer rogue weather patterns, prehistoric monsters and mutated crocs to be honest with you. No ma’am, what we have here are fairly tales gone wild, a solid concept for a movie, or I don’t know, a TV series or two, and it’s a solid concept that would probably work like a charm in a movie… if it were just done a little better.

Without getting all metaphysically complex and stuff in discussing this movie, the main problems with it is that the narrative was borderline incomprehensible, most of the characters sucked and more importantly the Black Forest just isn’t black enough. Man, if you’re going to call the place the Black Forest, then this place better be like the East Side of Detroit at two o’clock in the morning after your Navigator has broken down. I want this place to be oppressive, scary, someplace I really don’t want to be. It’s okay… I’m from Detroit. West side though. Anyway, this place wasn’t oppressive at all. Yeah, people got eaten every once in a while and stuff, but this leads us to another issue… we didn’t care if they got eaten because none of these cats were all that much fun to be around with the possible exception of Exposition Guy. In fact the way the story was setup, when they did get eaten you didn’t know if they were really gone until like the movie was almost over and it dawned on us that we didn’t see them anymore. Oh, I guess that wolf really did eat Disposable Minority.

And even with the help of Exposition Guy, who did the best he could to guide us along with help from Suspicious Chick, the story still had a hard time making sense, especially as it neared its convoluted conclusion.

It wasn’t an epic fail though. The cannibalistic dwarves were pure genius, we always enjoy watching Ben Cross overact in whatever horrible movie he shows up in… we call that ‘professionalism’ where I come from… and Dhaffer L’Abadine was suitably heroic as the Tragic Hero. Might want to change that name though. I’m seeing Clint Brockington.

On our generous Sci-Fi Original Movie sliding curve we will give ‘Black Forest’, which was more of ‘Light Gray Forest’, a solid C-minus. I shudder at what Witchslayer Gretl might bring us.

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