Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Smash Cut (2009)

Fear 0/5
Gore 4/5
Entertainment 2/5
Creepiness 2/5

I'm a huge fan of the progenitor of the gore picture, Mr. Herschell Gordon Lewis. Some may say he's a one trick pony and its a hard point to refute. But his simplistic approach to making a goofy, no holds barred shock-o-rama gorefest is definitely something that has to be admired. Not to mention his obvious influence on many a young gross-out director alive today (Eli Roth I'm looking at you in particular). Take one part goofy sleaze, one part terribly awesome dialogue, with a whole mess o' gore and you've got yourself a nice elixir of awesome. So when I first heard about this film, read its premise and found out that HG himself was going to be a given a bit part, I got that funny feeling. You know, when you used to climb the rope in gym class. So how was the movie you dopey dingus? Well read on, kind people!

Meet Able Whitman. He makes horror movies. When he screens one of his films to less than stellar audience reaction and draws the ire of film critics due to his cheap and obviously fake props, he goes on a bit of a soul searching effort. Back in his heyday, those type of cheap effects worked wonders but not on today's jaded audiences, oh no.

One day, he finds his inspiration in the unlikeliest of places: the strip club. Lamenting his lot and telling about his fall from grace as a movie maker, he tells his story to anyone that will listen; even to a stripper who's grinding on his man parts. He receives a renewed sense of confidence as, you know, ALL strippers can make a man feel like Superman (well at least for as long as a 2min. song will allow). Able offers the stripper a ride home that night as a way of saying thanks -- and probably with the hopes of getting a ride of his own.

On the way to her house, they get into an accident and his car is totaled, his stripper muse taking a dashboard shot to the mouth. In a brilliant scene, she's show mid-bubblegum blow and the blood from her mouth fills the formed and still intact bubble.

In his frantic state, Able actually has an epiphany when he tries to remove the body from the badly banged up car. What he's sorely lacking by way of props is using real body parts. But of course! It's the only way.

So by this time its obvious to most anyone who is a fan of HG Lewis or is at least familiar with his work, that the film recalls both Color Me Blood Red and The Gore Gore Girls. The former even more so with the reliance on human flesh to make 'art' more real and compelling.

The movie continues on with another set of individuals ripped straight from the HG Lewis handbook of characterizations: the two people investigating the case. One, the sister of the stripper and the other an overly eccentric private investigator. Hot on the trail, they begin to suspect that Able is up to no good. As the body count rises due to his insistance on getting more body parts to make the film that much more realistic, it becomes harder and harder for him to keep his secret hidden. And by this time, it became harder and harder for me to keep my eyes open.

Overall, I enjoy films that wear their influences loud and proud and pay homage. The filmmakers attempted to inject some originality with commentary on today's hardworking filmmaker and the jaded movie goer. But the effort made fell completely flat. Worse yet, the film was boring and moved at a snail's pace. How can gore, sleaze and cheese NOT be good? This movie proves that it's not always a winning trio. If you want an HG styled flick, just go to the source material itself and avoid this altogether.

Cortez the Killer

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Atroxion said...

Is... that... Sasha Grey?

This movie looks ridiculously cheap... gonna take your advice and avoid it. Plus I can watch Sasha Grey in other films (if you know what I mean).

Planet of Terror said...

Atroxion, why yes, yes it is. And you would get more out of 'watching' one of her other films rather than this one. If you know what I mean.

Aaron said...

I agree, Cortez. I didn't like this one at all. I couldn't even finish it actually. I watched it with no expectations and was pretty optimistic going into it, but I just wasn't feelin' it. I dug the HG Lewis appearance and thought both Hess and Sasha Grey were fine, but the movie's style was a bit annoying. The score showed promise but even that got to be annoying after a while because the music played CONSTANTLY in the background, and it basically sounded like a complete rip-off of Mike Patton's score from CRANK 2. I also wasn't a fan of the jabs that the movie took at the film industry... I mean, it's fine and all, but it's not something I can relate too. It seems like it was almost TOO personal to be enjoyable by anyone who doesn't "get it". And finally, the detective character just ruined it for me. One of the most obnoxious characters I've seen in a movie in a long time. Great review, though, dude!

Planet of Terror said...

Aaron, the style and story aped HG's a little too much for my liking, almost to the point of complete ripoff. I'm surprised HG didn't ask for royalties from the director. And what seemed like true originality in commentary turned sour when the jabs became too many. I agree, if its understood by some and not all, then why bother carrying on with it?

Carl (ILHM) said...

I was checked out after Aaron's review, but did you hear that Lewis is working on a sweet fucking new gore flick based on fairy tales?

Planet of Terror said...

Now THAT sounds awesome and original. Can't wait to check it out.

J. Astro said...

I actually came away from this one with a more positive outlook - it was played waaaaay broadly and seemed a little TOO goofy, but I found it worth watching for curiosity's sake, if nothing else. I mean, homage or not, it's not as if Herschell Gordon Lewis' movies are any good, either.

Planet of Terror said...

I hear ya J. HG's movies are far from being considered 'good' but they are fun and completely mindless. My point of contention is if you are going to pay homage, why do, pretty much, a shot for shot 'remake' of an HG film? Stealing the same premise, same plot contsructs and same characterizations. And even then, they couldn't do that right. This film was just a mess that could have been a whole lot better.