The October 20, 2020 DVD release of the Imagicomm Entertainment and Insp Films joint joint "Blue Ridge" (2020) is the beginning of what promises to be a beautiful friendship between that joint venture and this site. Posts of a not-so-ghostly trio of charming Christmas movies will follow in the next few weeks.
The opening scenes in this beautifully filmed-on-location movie nicely set the stage for the next roughly 90 minutes. Fairly new-hire sheriff Justin Wise (Jonathon Schaech) is riding in his pick-up with daughter Maddie, who provides much of the motive for this move from the big city. Ex-wife Elli (Sarah Lancaster), who has moved back to her hometown in response to being the wife of a cop, also is a factor as to the relocation.
The game soon is afoot when a routine expedition to a general store leads to a showdown with robbers. The manner in which this ties into the primary plot is one of the best moments in this never-a-dull moment film that provides the right percentages of heart, humor, and homicide.
On subsequently arriving at a festival, Justin and Maddie manage to placate a distressed Elli when a deputy interrupts to inform the boss of the discovery of the body of local land developer Vivian McGrath-Keagan. A plan to convert pristine land into a golf course is a common factor as to the most obvious motives of the usual suspects as to that killing. One aspect of this is that the development would prevent a herd of cows from accessing needed water.
Discovering that the death has resulted in spouse Lem and father Cliff (Graham Greene) becoming the new owners of the land is only the tip of the iceberg. The death of one heir in the ensuing 72 hours would make the survivor the sole beneficiary. On top of that, the recent developments (pun intended) heat up a long-standing feud between the McGraths and a neighboring clan. This aptly leads to a cliff-hanger that effectively involves a Mexican stand-off.
In true murder-mystery style, a seemingly minor clue turns out to provide the smoking gun that holds the key to solving the crime. The unexpected solution makes perfect sense.
In true western style, our hero effectively rides off into the sunset with his best girl at the end of the film.
The numerous compelling themes as to all this extend beyond a developer paying the ultimate price for trying to ruin natural beauty for some fun and enormous profit. We are reminded both that malicious intent is not limited to urban areas and that rural communities are much more prone than cities to stick to the old way.
The DVD extras include cast interviews and a "behind-the-scenes" feature.