The Traveler (2006)
Article 5488 by Dave Sindelar
Directed by Jonathan R. Skocik
Featuring Shawn Burke, Jonathan R. Skocik, Melanie D’Alessandro
What it is: Nasty low-budget independent horror
A young couple get trapped in an isolated shack known as “The Death House” with several hikers, and encounter an evil demon who plays a game of torture and murder with them.
Well, it didn’t take me long to contradict myself; I said I probably wasn’t going to cover any of the other entries in the “Tomb of Torture” collection unless I found something striking, and whatever its merits or flaws, this one is. The acting, direction and editing in this one are all competent enough that it didn’t consistently take me out of the action, like many of the other movies on the set. It also helps that there are some interesting ideas in the script. However, this review is primarily a warning; to my mind, this is one of the sickest and most mean-spirited movies I’ve ever seen. The first twenty minutes isn’t too bad; the scenes where the couple get lost driving in the woods is rather entertaining, and the early scenes in the house help build a bit of suspense. However, once the title character shows up and begins torturing the people in the house (both physically and psychologically), the movie becomes a repulsive and sadistic exercise in unpleasantness. It’s a definite example of torture porn, and I certainly can’t recommend it. The movie is also too long, and there are some moments that fall flat, such as when a character figures out the identity of the traveler by using anagrams and the “What Would You Do?” ending. Quite frankly, I felt I needed a shower after this one, though I decided I’m glad I went ahead and reviewed it; by getting it out of the way now, it spares me from having an excuse to watch it again, which I don’t care to do.