THE DIVIDING HOUR is one of those rarities--a really low budget flick with amateur roots that manages to deliver the goods. Yes it was shot on video, yes the sound could be better (its especially bad near the end), but all this can be forgiven because it has the single most important ingredient, one which is lacking in many of the big budget, special effects extravaganzas we've been subjected to lately-- originality. And enthusiasm. And a neat idea doesn't hurt either. Okay, so that's more than one, but since when has having more than one virtue a bad thing?
Anyhow, when we meet out 4 young protagonists they're fresh from a bank robbery and looking to shake the cops who are undoubtedly on their tail. They decide to get off the main roads (always a bad decision in horror flix) and find a place to hide out, but their plans are literally thrown for a loop when their car inexplicably swerves off the road and flips into a pond. One of the men is injured, so they think it's their lucky day when a guy in a pick-up truck asks them if they need a ride. They gladly accept (which is also never a good decision in a horror movie) but once they arrive at the isolated farmhouse where they had hoped to find help, everything starts falling apart for them. Now I know what you're thinking, but you're wrong. And that's the beauty of this little gem, it doesn't immediately fall into all the tried and true genre cliches. It keeps you guessing. Plus it uses some stop-motion animation, and any film that does that wins major points from me.
I confess to being a bit undecided on this one. On one hand there are some brilliant flashes of originality and on the other it never quite realizes its potential. Technically it's a bit of a mess, but I always appreciate the effort and just plain sweat that people put into films such as this. This 1998 release boasted a $7,000 budget, so you have to hand it to Director (and star) Prossner for managing to pull off a film as successfully as he has here. Oh, if we could only give half stars it would be so much easier to deal with situations such as this. This is a 3 and 1/2 star film for me and it's the stop motion and the last 15 minutes or so that really pushed me into giving it that extra 1/2 star so I'm going to round up for making do with that minuscule budget!
I'd recommend THE DIVIDING HOUR only to those who truly appreciate low budget horror that contains surprisingly little violence and virtually no gore.