Hostile Territory is a strange film, combining the type of saccharine sensibility often seen in faith-based films with violence expected from the western genre. If the filmmaking weren’t so clumsy, it may have worked. Instead, this is a film of good intentions and awful execution.
Set just after the end of the Civil War, prisoner of war Jack Calgrove (Brian Presley) is released and discovers his family is in peril. When false news of his death arrived home, Calgrove’s wife passed from grief, leaving the children thinking they have been orphaned. The younger children are sent by train to be with their eldest brother, Phil (Cooper North), though they unwisely head into hostile territory together. Calgrove races across the rough terrain to make it to his family in time to save them.
The premise of the film isn’t terrible, but the execution is lacking across the board. The story itself is designed to include a series of unbelievable coincidences, all so that the film has peak melodrama throughout. The contrivances of the plot are only heightened by the painfully bad dialogue stiffly delivered by actors better suited for student films. This may sound harsh, but Hostile Territory was painful to sit through. Part of the problem could be that this is clearly a vanity project for star Brian Presley, who is also the screenwriter, producer, and director.
The bonus features on the Blu-ray include a behind-the-scenes featurette and trailer. The high-definition presentation of the film only reveals the shortcomings in filmmaking.
Entertainment Value: 2/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 1.5/10
Historical Significance: 0/10
Special Features: 2/10