Kyle McLeod is a popular YouTube personality who makes videos of his extreme hiking adventures. While filming his trip through the Wessex County National Forrest, an attempted shortcut visible via map leads him through the unmarked remains of the infamous Camp Crystal Lake. Kyle seizes the opportunity to document the area, drawing the ire of the camp’s lone inhabitant.
DISCLAIMER: I am a personal fan and supporter of this work with ties to the filmmakers. I’ve made an attempt to be impartial in presenting my critique and have received no compensation for it.
Never Hike Alone is a fan film, but extraordinarily high production values make this seem like an actual studio production. It serves as a sequel to the 6th film in the Friday the 13th franchise, agnostic to later events in the series. The film starts off as a blend of traditional cinema and found footage feature, but bleeds the found footage element off as the narrative moves into the action. If you’re a fan of the found footage genre, this won’t quite scratch that itch.
The movie’s pace is a crescendo. It starts off slow as we follow Kyle through mundane aspects of camping and hiking. As we get closer to the camp, things pick up and the presence of villain mainstay Jason Voorhees can be felt and possibly seen. When we arrive at the camp, the pace quickens even more as Kyle defends himself from Jason’s attempts on his life. The final act treats us with dream-within-a-dream reality bending, calling back to elements of delusion/psychosis found more prominent in the 5th film of the official series.
If you’re a fan of the Friday the 13th franchise, you’ll definitely want to see this. The guest star alone will make you eager to see more than its 54 minute runtime.