A typical family vacation to the woods is turned upside down when they rescue a stranger in the snow. Sporting a stacked cast of horror and indie horror royalty, Applecart looks to be a success when combining its Shining-esque and true-crime mechanic. Unlike its wonderfully picturesque snowscape setting, Applecart manages to transform its magnificent ingredients in an off-white mush that tastes not particularly bad, but rather, just tastes.
Standouts include a brief but wonderfully underused performance from Barbara Crampton, and seriously gnarly effects work near the tail end of the film. Outside of a few elements, the rest is just uninspired in regard to the pieces at play, which makes it all the more dissatisfying.
Outside of the usual trip gone awry structure that Applecart follows, its inclusion of a true crime TV special speculating the events of what happened is clever. The TV special while creative at first eventually becomes somewhat of a lame chorus that doesn’t really add anything nor make use of its camp potential. I think a bit of rearranging of where these scenes appear could have made more of an impact, taking the film in either a full-on camp direction or doubling down on the dark undertones of the true crime/witch spectacle.
No matter how much I postulate, the film in my mind is not the film on the screen. I’ve read a recent note that there will be another recut showing at upcoming festivals. Maybe it’s something the film’s creators can turn around, and that’d make for a wonderful story. Sticking to the evidence found though — stay away, move along, nothing to see here.