Thursday, October 15, 2009

Splatter Movie (2008)

Many people don’t know all the hard work it goes into making an independent film. Tight schedules, limited resources, limited time and, worst of all, low budgets. There is a lot of love and passion that must go into making an independent horror movie, because even after facing all those challenges, you don’t know if there will even be an audience that wants to see it! So, when I popped in Splatter Movie: The Director’s Cut, an independent movie within a movie within a movie and so on, I was intrigued to see how much it showed of the filmmaking process…and the story itself is pretty ingenious.

In Splatter Movie, director Amy Lee Parker (played by real-life director Amy Lynn Best) is setting up to shoot her latest indie horror film at Hundred Acres Manor, a vast Halloween haunt that boasts dozens of different creepy walk-throughs. A documentary crew is following her around to capture all the behind-the-scenes mayhem so they can put it on the DVD’s special features. As for the film she’s shooting, it’s about a group of filmmakers and actors going into a supposedly haunted attraction to shoot a movie…only a killer is picking them off one by one. In a case of life imitating art imitating life that is exactly what happens to Parker and her crew. Someone wearing the killer’s costume is going around actually butchering people!

Splatter Movie: The Director’s Cut is an inventive piece of indie cinema and for the most part it was a very enjoyable ride! Writer Mike Watt and director Amy Lynn Best have been writing and directing independent films with their Happy Cloud Pictures imprint for a long time now, and Splatter Movie just shows they are still on the top of their game! My main praise for the film stems from its inventive “movie within a movie within a movie, etc.” structure. It seemed that everything in the film echoed reality, from the actors names that were either the same or very close to their real names to scenes that mirrored scenes they were shooting for their film. It really makes my head spin to think about it! Kudos to Watt for such a clever premise!

I also loved how the documentary-style look of the film made you feel like you were right there with the cast and crew, going through all the trials and tribulations of making a low-budget movie. The behind-the-scenes stuff, from the makeup/special FX applications to following the bitchy assistant director around to watching a scene being filmed, was way fun and really gives you a better understanding of the challenges of making a low budget film.

There were also some amazing cameos from some familiar faces within the indie horror community. Besides Amy Lynn Best, whom many people are familiar with, we get Tom Sullivan, playing himself, who worked on The Evil Dead trilogy, scream queens Debbie Rochon and Elske McCain and many other recognizable faces. Everyone is basically playing themselves, so it’s hard to credit anyone with giving a fantastic performance, but I really loved watching Debbie Rochon every time she came on screen! And her big rape scene within the movie within the movie was absolutely hilarious (I know that sounds callous, but if you watch the movie you’ll totally understand…they totally flip your expectations upside down).

Yet, despite all the positives there were still a few drawbacks to the film, namely, the length of it. The behind-the-scenes chatter went on a bit too long and I would have liked to see more of the actual killer sooner. Though the kills were nice, with the appropriate amount of blood and gore, I felt they were too short. I found myself fast-forwarding through the more boring scenes within the film (like the copious lesbian scenes…one would have sufficed if it was needed at all) to get to the REAL action. The film definitely started dragging after about 45 minutes and the ending took way too long to wrap up (though I did appreciate the surprise reveal of the killer!). A little bit more cutting and editing and Splatter Movie would have been much more enjoyable to sit through.

The positives of the film outweigh the negatives, though, and overall I really found myself enjoying Splatter Movie. If you are an indie horror fan I think you will too!

Order it on Amazon!

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