American Independent Gothic - the final installment

'The final stop on the American Independent Gothic tour is Ozarks, Missouri. You must be back on the bus in two hours. The driver will not come to find you. I repeat…the driver will not come to find you.

The Ozarks Mountains is a vast highland region of the central United States that not only covers the Southern half of Missouri, but also extends into north-central Arkansas, north-eastern Oklahoma and south-eastern Kansas. Most available guides to the region make note of the fact that Ozarks is actually a plateau rather than a mountain range, but it has become known as Ozarks Mountains due to the deep dissections that run through the area, giving it a mountainous appearance. The local tourist board is obviously keen to promote the outdoors activities associated with the region (hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking) in addition to its natural attractions (caves, lakes, rivers), so it would be understandable if they decided against arranging any screenings of Debra Granik’s unsettling thriller Winter’s Bone for first-time visitors to the area. In this superb slice of Southern Gothic – concisely adapted from Daniel Woodrell’s 2006 novel – local hospitality is replaced by local hostility, and even those who have lived in the region since birth can be treated as outcasts if they fall out of step with the unwritten rules of a closed society.'

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