After the disappearance of an outdoor enthusiast and survivalist named Gary Hinge, a news reporter (ENTRANCE’s Suziey Block), her roommate, and his sister (Tonya Williams Ogden) start hunting for clues. They quickly discover that his truck holds a trove of promising clues.
This pseudo-documentary blends fictional talking heads, gorgeous landscape shots, and the found footage narrative technique made famous by The Blair Witch Project to arouse uncontrollable anticipation and tap into instinctive anxiety.
What Happened to Gary Hinge?
Gary Hinge was a self-taught survivalist who often went out into the desert for days at a time on survival quests, documenting his exploits in video blogs. In July 2017, he set out on another expedition in the Great Basin Desert near New Ruth, Nevada. When he failed to return home after two days, his housemate Simon Rodgers alerted Gary’s sister Beverly and the police. Authorities begin a search, narrowing the area down by pinging his cell phone. They soon find his truck, which is covered in prints that do not match Gary’s.
As they continue to investigate the case, police uncover information regarding Gary’s online activity. He had been using the alias “Scorpion Sam” on his blog. He had thousands of followers, some of whom were even cyber-bullied for their admiration of him. After Gary disappeared, these individuals started speculating that aliens, witches, or ghosts had abducted him.
While Gary’s wife Beverly does not want to believe this, Gal Roberts, the reporter who worked with him on the news story, is convinced that something supernatural is involved. She campaigned for the case to be kept in the public eye, ensuring that the police would continue searching for him.
During a video recording session from his cabin, Gary begins to feel frightened and claims to have heard what sounds like a human voice chanting with distortion. He states that he is getting closer to the cabin and that he can already smell smoke. Suddenly, he hears a rustling sound and feels as though someone is watching him.
In a subsequent video clip, Gary describes feeling frightened and saying that it is getting dark. He also claims that he has noticed a trail of barefoot footprints and that he feels as though he is being followed.
At one point, Gary tries to leave the tent by going out into the desert, but he is soon attacked and severing of his hand. His severed arm is then shown in a graphic close-up as the credits roll. Horror in the High Desert is an effective pseudo-documentary that uses fictional talking head interviews and beautiful landscape footage to create a tense sense of anticipation.
Why Did Gary Hinge Disappear?
Gary Hinge is a YouTube vlogger with thousands of followers. He goes by the pseudonym snakebitmgee and often discusses his experiences outdoors. On one occasion he spoke about a remote cabin in a desert region, and later posted a video showing his hike to the area.
While on his way back to the cabin, he reported feeling watched and followed. He also discovered a trail of barefoot footprints. Despite being an experienced hiker, Gary described feeling scared and ran away. His body was never found, but a cleanly severed hand was found by campers near the location where he disappeared.
The police launched a massive months-long search for Gary, but he was never found. Eventually the case went cold, but reporter Gal Roberts (Suziey Block) started to follow up on it. She wanted to make sure the case wasn’t forgotten or that there was nothing more to learn from it, so she hired private investigator William ‘Bill’ Salerno to help.
They discover that Gary had made multiple videos on his trip, including a day and a half before he vanished. In one of those videos he mentions that he is getting close to the cabin, and he can already smell smoke. He notes that it feels like the same place he visited previously and that he felt a sense of impending doom.
After watching the video, Bill is convinced that something supernatural or even extraterrestrial is behind Gary’s disappearance. He and Gal start to investigate more closely, examining his different camera footage. They find that he had been filming in the same area where a number of other people have gone missing, all of them experienced hikers.
They also discover that Gary’s truck was moved from its original spot, and they think that it was done to prevent them from finding the actual trail he took. They are unable to determine what happened to the other hikers who have gone missing, but they do know that Gary is not among them.
What Was the Final Act of Horror in the High Desert?
As the film progresses, it becomes clear that Gary’s experience at the cabin is not as straightforward as he and the audience initially thought. When he shares his experience online, he receives a slew of angry comments that question the authenticity of his story and ask for further proof. In an attempt to legitimize his claim, Gary decides to go back into the desert and search out the cabin again.
The camera work in Horror in the High Desert is a real treat for horror fans. The use of shaky camera shots and burnt and blurred footage adds to the unsettling atmosphere of the film. In addition, the sound effects used to portray creepy background noises are particularly effective. All of these elements come together in the film’s climax, which is both shocking and terrifying.
Horror in the High Desert is a pseudo-documentary that follows the disappearance of survivalist and hiker Gary Hinge in the Nevada desert. The film uses a mix of drone footage, fictional found footage, and YouTube vlogs to tell the story of Gary Hinge. The film also uses the “found footage” narrative technique made famous by The Blair Witch Project to evoke feelings of uncontrollable anticipation and tap into the instinctive anxiety associated with not being able to see well in the dark.
While the plot of Horror in the High Desert is fictional, the film’s true-to-life setting and the fact that Hinge disappeared while on a hiking trip makes the movie especially chilling. Hinge’s disappearance and the subsequent discovery of his mutilated hand clutching a camera have led to conspiracy theories that suggest aliens, witches, or even the supernatural were to blame for his gruesome demise.
Although the film ends with no resolution to what happened to Gary Hinge, director Dutch Marich has promised a sequel. While the details of the sequel are unclear, it is likely that the film will explore the relationship between Gary and his roommate and sister. In addition, the filmmaker may also use the opportunity to expand the lore surrounding the mysterious desert cabin that first appeared in the original movie.
Was Gary Hinge Killed?
The film’s pseudo-documentary style, fictional talking head interviews and found footage narrative all contribute to a terrifyingly plausible tale of terror in the Nevada desert. The filmmakers also make sure to evoke unease by using the sounds of nature, including the dripping water and the rustle of grass, as well as the menacing darkness that is beyond a few feet of any hiker’s feet.
Throughout the movie, Gary Hinge’s sister and friends explain that he was an experienced outdoorsman who loved hiking and was very knowledgeable about his surroundings. He regularly shared his discoveries with his online followers in video blogs, and one day he walked into an area where he felt something was very wrong. He started recording to warn his viewers, and he stopped speaking when he was attacked by an unknown figure.
While Dutch Marich hasn’t explicitly cited any inspiration for his story, the plot of Horror in the High Desert is reminiscent of the real-life disappearance of another hiking vlogger named Kenny Veach. Veach was also an active member of outdoor content communities, and he disappeared after claiming to have found a cave that contained “dark secrets.” Similar to the scenario depicted in the film, Veach’s disappearance was mysterious, and many people have speculated that he was killed by the same disfigured creature seen in the movie.
After Gary’s disappearance, his sister and friends contacted the police to report him missing. Eventually, authorities tracked down his truck and discovered that his belongings were scattered in the desert, and his severed arm was still attached to his camera. Forensic analysis of the arm confirmed that it was definitely a murder, and it also showed that the person who killed him was a deformed monstrous stranger.
The ending of Horror in the High Desert reveals that social media users and hiking influencers had begun to seek out Hinge’s last known location, documenting their expeditions on social media and hoping to find the mysterious shack and the man who attacked the vlogger. While the film’s black title card doesn’t directly link these events to Hinge’s death, the similarities are uncanny and make it likely that these groups will connect the dots in 2022.