Horror in the High Desert is a pseudo-documentary horror film that revolves around the disappearance of outdoor and survival enthusiast Gary Hinge. It is set in Nevada and eagerly employs the state’s ominous reputation for conspiracies. The tense verisimilitude of the mockumentary format and the shaky camera work add to the sense of unease. However, the final reveal is a bit too tidy.
How Did He Get Lost?
The movie opens with a police “missing person” report regarding outdoor enthusiast and survivalist Gary Hinge. He disappeared during a hike in the Nevada desert. His housemate Simon Rodgers called the police, but more than a week had passed since Gary last spoke to anyone. Gal Roberts, a reporter for local news station, feared that the case would be dropped. She campaigned to have the case covered frequently. She hires private investigator William ’Bill’ Salerno to keep the case active. Gary’s disappearance was a shock to his family and friends. He had an extensive social media presence with over 50,000 followers who loved his vlogs and videos. His disappearance sparked conspiracy theories that he was murdered by aliens, witches, or monsters in the wilderness.
Despite the rumors, Gary’s family remained hopeful that he would return. His sister Beverly hired a private investigator to find him, and the film follows their efforts. The story is told through a blend of fictional talking head interviews and found footage. This style is popularized by movies like The Blair Witch Project and works well in this context to create a sense of dread and unease. The first video clips recorded by Gary are a bit confusing, but they seem to indicate that he was able to make it back to the mysterious cabin. He was obviously scared and fumbling over his words, but he noted that he was close to the cabin and could smell smoke, just like the previous time. The next recordings are a series of infrared video fragments that begin with a terrified Gary commenting that he is so close to the cabin, but he can’t see anything. He also hears chanting that sounds distorted.
When the last surviving video of Gary is viewed, it becomes clear that he was attacked by a deformed monstrous stranger. The film ends with the deformed man severing Gary’s arm, but we don’t get to see it in full. He then makes a final video in which he claims that he will never reveal the location of the cabin, for fear of encouraging others to visit it.
What Happened To Him?
Horror in the High Desert is an indie film that tells the story of a missing hiker and survivalist named Gary Hinge. The movie combines real-life footage with a pseudo-documentary style to create an unnerving thriller. The movie also features a twist ending that is sure to shock viewers. The plot of the film revolves around a mysterious cabin located in the Nevada desert. Gary Hinge was an outdoor enthusiast who often posted vlogs of his hiking adventures on YouTube. He was an experienced hiker who enjoyed exploring remote locations. His vlogs usually included details about the scenery and interesting things that he discovered on his hikes. He also frequently referred to Native American artifacts and abandoned mines.
In one of his videos, Gary described an enigmatic cabin that he had found on a previous trip. He said that the cave had a sinister feeling and that it was filled with a strange, ominous odor. He also said that he could feel the walls vibrating against his skin. In a later video, Gary discussed how he felt that he was being watched or followed while he was near the cave. Soon after, Gary disappeared without a trace. The police searched the area but were unable to find any evidence of his presence. Several clues pointed to foul play, including a trail of barefoot footprints that did not match Gary’s. Moreover, his truck was found with numerous fingerprints that did not match any database. The discovery of his cleanly severed hand by campers also led to suspicions of murder.
Although writer-director Dutch Marich does not explicitly allude to the true events that led to the disappearance of Kenny Veach (also known as snakebitmgee), the parallels are undeniable. Veach was another YouTube hiker who was pressured by his followers to return to a mysterious finding and prove that it was haunted. The truth turned out to be more sinister than he or his followers had expected. Like Gary Hinge, Veach went missing after he claimed to have discovered a cave that was shaped like an M and smelled like burning. He was also accompanied by two friends but, unlike Gary, they never returned. Nevertheless, his disappearance was still a big deal on the internet. People speculated about everything from Area 51 and atomic testing to local Indigenous rites and satanic gangs.
Was He Murdered?
During one of his regular hikes in the desert, outdoorsy survival enthusiast Gary Hinge encounters a strange cabin. He is immediately disturbed and quickly flees the area because of a feeling of impending doom. Later, he posts about his experience on his online blog for his large audience of followers. But the comments are mostly hostile, with many discrediting his claims or demanding further proof. This prompts Gary to return to the desert in search of the cabin, this time with the intention of recording it on camera. Director Dutch Marich’s film is set in 2021, just a year after the Covid-19 pandemic forced people to stay home and quarantine themselves. It uses a pseudo-documentary style, featuring fictional talking head interviews and beautiful landscape footage, to portray Gary’s story. However, the viewer is never able to see two characters at the same time, reflecting the feelings of isolation and loneliness that were common during the pandemic.
Gary’s reclusive lifestyle is an attempt to hide his homosexuality and alienation from the unsupportive townsfolk in which he lives. His hobbies and interests also serve as a form of escape from the rejection and loneliness he feels in his everyday life. But his activities only exacerbate his feelings of otherness and isolation, which have only been intensified by his Covid-19 experience. His relationship with his roommate and sister is also strained because of this. When Gary goes missing after not returning from his hiking trip in the Nevada High Desert, his sister hires detective Bill Salerno (David Morales) to investigate his disappearance. It soon becomes clear that Gary’s disappearance was not an accident, as his backpack is found at a campground with his severed hand still clutching his video camera. The movie also explores the possibility that either Gary’s roommate Simon or the man who killed him was responsible for his death. But ultimately, the truth remains elusive.
Is There A Sequel?
Director Dutch Marich made a name for himself with the slow-burning mockumentary Infernum and his pandemic project, Horror in the High Desert, which tells the story of YouTuber Gary Hinge (Eric Mencis) who vanished in Nevada’s Great Basin Desert. Featuring black-and-white drone footage and grainy imagery, the film has a documentary feel to it but doesn’t shy away from using fiction and found footage to create uneasy tension. While the movie did a good job of creating dread and suspicion, some viewers were left wanting more. The conclusion that Gary was killed by a hermit vlogger wasn’t satisfying for some. This explanation seems to dismiss the zombie-like appearance of the person who attacked him, the stench of smoke, the dizzying music, and the sense that his solitary location was protected by something supernatural. Plus, it doesn’t explain the reference to Native American artifacts and abandoned mine tunnels from earlier in the film.
One of the key factors that kept Horror in the High Desert afloat was its commitment to the pseudo-documentary format, which makes the viewer question whether what they are seeing is real or not. The filmmakers also did a great job of using landscape shots and the found footage narrative technique that was popularized by The Blair Witch Project to evoke the fear of not knowing what’s lurking in the dark.
Despite the fact that there’s no official word on what happened to Gary Hinge, there have been rumors that the film was based on a true story. Hiker Kenny Veach, who disappeared in 2014 after claiming to discover a cave in the Nevada desert, is similar to the character of Gary Hinge. Veach, who was also an outdoor enthusiast and YouTube vlogger, had his own dedicated following that pressured him to return to the puzzling discovery to prove it wasn’t a hoax. Unlike many of these kinds of films, Horror in the High Desert leaves enough questions unanswered to allow for a sequel. Director Dutch Marich is working on it and has hinted that the next film will explore social media’s role in people disappearing.