The Hart family wants to help the hurting Crandall family, so they decide to take them to their favorite camping spot in the Appalachian mountains. However, the Crandall family, a father and his two sons, are not well suited to the outdoors at all. Thankfully, the Hart patriarch is an expert outdoorsman and is well-versed in his ability to impersonate an Animal Planet narrator when he instructs others in his art. But the most horrific thing happens when the Hart siblings and the Crandall brothers get lost on ‘the trail’ and take a wrong turn that sends them out into no man’s land. But never fear, because Mr. Hart is ready to save the day with his Discovery Channel knowledge as Mrs. Hart does her women’s duty by staying at the tent and praying. In the end, both families will learn heartwarming lessons of friendship, family, and faith.
Production Quality (.5 point)
Appalachian Trial is about what you can expect from a C-grade fundamentalist Christian production outfit. The only positives are the fairly consistent sound quality and the pretty good camera work. Otherwise, there’s nothing good to say here. The video quality is grainy and the sets and locations are severely limited. While the surroundings are basically realistic, no one really wants to watch a movie shot entirely inside of vehicles, at a fire pit, and in the flora and fauna of Appalachia. The musical score is just about as annoying as it gets, like it was recorded by Bob Jones’ star music students on a flute and an old piano. Finally, the editing is abhorrent. This ‘film’ plays out like a bunch of outdoor and camping tutorials spliced together. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone at Unusual Films saw the tutorials they play in class and decided to add some ‘drama’ to them, to splice them together in the reel to reel room, and to call that a movie. Like seriously.
Plot and Storyline Quality (0 points)
There is zero plot content in this eighty-minute camping docu-drama. The storylines are flat; no one wants to watch a grainy depiction of people driving, trudging through the forest, stacking wood, building fires, and making hot dogs. The characters are childish, with the exception of Mr. Hart, who is a walking encyclopedia of outdoor knowledge with a radio voice. Mrs. Hart fulfills all stereotypes of how fundamentalist Christians think motherhood should be. Mr. Crandall is obnoxious and petty. The kids remind us too much of kids from homeschool groups gone by. The dialogue throughout is absurd and wooden. If it’s any consolation, there is a pretty good gospel presentation, but it’s so deep into this mind numbing reject video that I seriously doubt anyone will ever find it. Simply put, there is no plot here and therefore no points are awarded.
Acting Quality (0 points)
This tiny cast was never suited to be in a movie. Not a single cast member needed to be cast. This is not a personal attach on the actors and actresses, but some people should never be forced into acting. I know I would never want to act and I would likely never allow myself to be cast. Bob Jones seems intent on constantly casting awkward white people in all of their ‘films’. Emotions are not conveyed well by the cast members and line delivery is terrible. I’m sorry, but this just wasn’t their calling.
Another Bob Jones creation, another disaster. But hey, at least it’s better than The Treasure Map! Of course, improving from -10 points is a feat that could have been accomplished by anyone. Unusual Films existed so early on in Christian entertainment history that they were likely the only ones making these sorts of films of their day, which should explain why entertainment is where it is today. All Bob Jones ever wanted to do with these ‘films’ was push their white patriarchal fundamentalist Christian propaganda. With no real ideas and terrible delivery, there was no reason to ever make ‘films’ like this.
Final Rating: .5 point out of 10 points