Horror in the High Desert 2: Minerva (2023) Movie Review - Found Footage Suggested by Reddit

Horror, Mystery, Found Footage, Mockumentary | 74 Min
Cover from found footage mockumentary Horror in the High Desert 2: Minerva (2023)
  • Director: Dutch Marich
  • Actors: Laurie Felix Bass, Suziey Block, Brooke Bradshaw, C.R. Brough, Solveig Helene, David Nichols Jr.
  • Writers: Dutch Marich
  • Producers: Dutch Marich
  • Country: United States
  • Language: English, Spanish
  • Parental: Peril, Language, Violence
  • Horror, Mystery, Found Footage, Mockumentary | 74 Min

In 2018 a string of tragedies unfolded in Northeastern Nevada. A woman was found dead and another would vanish along the same stretch of remote highway. Could these events be linked to the 2017 disappearance of outdoorsman Gary Hinge?

Welcome to Knockout Horror and to another entry into our series of Found Footage Horror Movies Suggested by Reddit. For those of you new to the site, we are covering found footage movies popular in Reddit’s found footage community. I have to be honest, these are a bunch of easily pleased individuals. Hell, just the other day they were praising the absolutely abysmal borefest The Sleepless Unrest.

Despite this, believe it or not, the good outweighs the bad, so far. The Lost Footage of Leah Sullivan, Invited and Be My Cat: A Film For Anne were all enjoyable. And the predecessor to the movie we are reviewing today, Horror in the High Desert, was completely watchable.

Unfortunately, we are going to have to put another tick in the “Bad Found Footage Suggestion” box today. Horror in the High Desert 2: Minerva just didn’t do anything for me. Not to mention you can’t find this one for free on YouTube, either. Bummer!

More of the Same

We reviewed Horror in the High Desert just yesterday. Reddit’s found footage community references these films frequently and the third entry in the series is just around the corner. With this in mind, we thought this was the perfect opportunity to catch up on what was going on. Hell, I am a huge mockumentary fan, as well, so what better way to fill a few hours?

We found the first movie to be a fairly watchable mockumentary that borrows heavily from Lake Mungo and the real life disappearance of YouTuber Kenny Veach. The movie does absolutely nothing new but is pretty interesting and quite creepy in places.

Screenshot from found footage mockumentary Horror in the High Desert 2: Minerva (2023)

A sequel updating us on the disappearance of the first movie’s main subject, Gary Hinge, was promised at the end. This movie, however, does not deliver on said promise. In fact, Horror in the High Desert 2: Minerva is far more of a sidestep than anything. Placing the focus on the similar disappearances of a mature student known as Minerva (Solveig Helene) and another woman, Ameliana (Brooke Bradshaw), who broke down alongside a highway close by.

Apparently these cases could be connected to the disappearance of Gary Hinge. But any promise of intrigue is lost as Horror in the High Desert 2: Minerva simply chooses to recycle the original movie’s format with two far less interesting stories. In this entry, writer, director has even managed to introduce a few new issues not present in the original.

But Somehow Less

Watching this movie straight after its predecessor really highlighted some major issues. Namely how much less interesting the two stories at the centre of Horror in the High Desert 2: Minerva are compared to that of Gary Hinge in the first movie. Gary’s story had far more build and we learned much more about the character in question.

Here, our time is split between two individual subjects. Meaning we learn less about each of them and never really manage to connect with either in any meaningful way. In fact, we spend only mere minutes learning about the second character before her story is done. It’s hard to shake the feeling that Marich was in a rush to get to the film’s closing stanza. An admitted highlight of the movie but still less effective than the actual night time found footage scenes in the original.

Screenshot from found footage mockumentary Horror in the High Desert 2: Minerva (2023)

I feel strongly that this movie should have been a side story rather than a sequel. Perhaps even a series of shorts. The stories in question here are just not that interesting. On top of that, the stories are told with an almost haphazard and chaotic presentation that just wasn’t present in the first movie. The first movie had structure and felt fairly well thought out. Minerva dashes around confusingly from one point to the next.

A Bevy of New Issues

I was constantly under the impression that I was watching a collection of “spooky” sequences poorly sewn together with underdeveloped stories. Minerva’s story serves, purely, as a way to get to some “creepy” analogue recordings of a supposed killer. Making the title character feel like little more than an after thought. This leaves the next character’s story to do a lot of heavy lifting but that story felt even less well developed. In fact, I would go as far as to say it felt like nothing more than filler designed to extend the movie’s run time.

Suziey Block returns as reporter Gal Roberts and, once again, feels like the only true actor in the entire production. It is her character that brings these stories together, highlighting the possible link between the disappearances. But the documentary style format here feels much weaker than the first movie. Characters are introduced right at the beginning that seem somewhat confused about their place in the story. Only for them to be reintroduced an hour later as a disconnected voice with no reminder of who the hell they are.

Screenshot from found footage mockumentary Horror in the High Desert 2: Minerva (2023)

As mentioned earlier, the story bounces around with no rhyme or reason making for some confusion in parts. The threads that tie the individual stories together are barely existent. Meaning sequence after sequence feels disconnected. Horror in the High Desert 2: Minerva also forgoes much of the documentary style interviews in favour of personal vlogs and dull found footage scenes. Something which adds to the generally unprofessional feel of the production, as a whole. This is a big step down from the original and I can’t help but feel it was little more than a rushed cash grab. The bevy of clearly fake reviews doing the rounds add credence to this, in my opinion.

Should You Watch Horror in the High Desert 2: Minerva?

Honestly, I really can’t recommend Horror in the High Desert 2: Minerva. It is a big step down from the original and feels massively rushed. Stories are dull, poorly connected and lacking in development. Scares are fairly tame. The interview segments less interesting than the original and the mockumentary style feels like it is poorly executed.

There are some decent shots here and there and fans of mockumentaries, or the first movie, may simply enjoy “more of the same”. But anyone else should just give this one a miss. The movie, once again, promises to follow up on Gary Hinge’s story in the next sequel with a Spanish speaking influencer claiming to have found the cabin. I am a huge fan of foreign horror but I don’t think I will make it through a subtitled Horror in the High Desert movie. That sounds like a huge chore.

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