DEAD BEAT (2015 Short Film)

Luke Ramer and his team at West 2nd Productions have been busy as hell this year.  They have cranked out two feature films, one anthology segment and one high concept short.  This review is for the latter and (in my humble opinion) is his most accomplished to date.  It is very apparent that these films are made on shoestring budgets, but still manages to convey a very cinematic feel.  There are only a few instances where the budget shows is only really shows when it comes to the sound in a few scenes.  These few aurel shortcomings are easily dismissed, especially when you factor in the camerawork and acting on display.  The effects are brief, but in its painful climax I guarantee you will feel every bit of pain displayed on screen.

The story is very simple, but never feels cliche.  A guitar toting scumbag meets a young lady, sleeps with her and gets her pregnant.  From this point, we find out that already has a child that he rarely sees and quickly gets treated to a dose of his own medicine.

As I said before, nothing feels cheap in this film and I am happy to be able to watch a filmmaker grow and improve.  The story is quick and never lets itself get bogged down by boring, pointless chit-chat.  The director understands that movies are a visual medium and uses what he has to its maximum effect.  What we get is a brisk, squirm inducing ride of come-uppance that any decent person can root for.  Keep an eye out for this up and coming filmmaker and check out some of his earlier work if you like what you see.  Dead Beat is currently available for free on YOUTUBE.  Please click the link below to watch it in its entirety.

4.5/5 STARS

THE INTERIOR (2015 BURIED ALIVE FILM FEST)

There is a moment at film festivals that really differ from any other movie watching experience.  This moment is directly after the credits, your short time to stretch your legs, go to the bathroom and check your phone messages.  What happens during this time is the best, you talk with other festival goers and see what the “other guy” thought.  The festival that I saw The Interior was a horror festival and found that I may have been one of the only viewers who really loved this flick.

Most people said that it was too slow or that was not enough true “horror” in this film.  My unpopular opinion was hard to defend.  Yes, it was slow.  Yes, it wasn’t a conventional horror story…but dammit!  It was beautiful, introspective and created a meandering experience that hit that sweet spot between the experimental docudrama of Herzog and the eeriness of a tent horror film like The Blair Witch Project.  I tell this long story to prepare you, THIS IS NOT YOUR TYPICAL HORROR FLICK.  This is something contemplative and experimental.  It sticks with you for days and takes time to simmer and really be appreciated.

 

The story is about James who is an office worker in his mid-twenties.  He lives a meandering and miserable life, without any real passion or direction.  He eventually goes to a doctor about some minor symptoms and gets some troubling news (which the details are never explained).  From there he eventually cuts all ties and moves to the woods because he “wants the opposite of this”.  He then wanders the woods and starts to experience terrifying nightmares and run-ins with strangers, deep within the dense woods of Canada.

 

There is very little when it comes to plot or story and instead focuses on the existential horror of being a young man who may not live long enough to figure out what he wants in life.  That is much scarier to me than monsters or masked killers and there is no place better to experience this than deep inside of nature.  The sound design heightens both the serenity and tension, using either natural soundscapes or intense classical pieces.  I could go on and on about how much I love this movie, but don’t want to venture into spoiler territory.  What I can say is that this is a movie worth your time and attention, especially if you are sick of half-assed paranormal flicks.  This is a beautiful film that will eventually find its audience and I will not be surprised to find it on a lot of top ten lists for 2015.  The Interior is currently on its festival rounds and I will update when release  dates are available.

4/5 STARS