Wednesday, May 1, 2013

GUT: A MIXED-BAG INTROSPECTIVE ON SNUFF FILMS

I particularly enjoy bad films that allot for scathing reviews almost as much as I enjoy great films I can gush about.  However, there is nothing more frustrating than watching a film that falls somewhere in the middle.  For all intents and purposes, I should have loved Gut.  Unfortunately, I didn't.  I didn't hate it, but I surely didn't love it.  Yet, as much as I found the film to be problematic and rather dull, I'd still encourage many of my readers to watch the film.  Despite its flaws, Gut is still rather unique.  Written and directed by a man known only as Elias, Gut is the story of Tom (Jason Vail) and his longtime pal, Dan.  The two seem to live relatively normal, menial lives when they come across a mysterious DVD left in Dan's PO box that appears to show a recording of a man killing a woman; a real life snuff film.  Of course, Dan uses this opportunity to try and re-connect with his ol' pal, Tom.  As disgusted as these two men are with this film, they can't get enough of it and begin looking for more snuff films.  They manage to find some more flicks, but the mystery remains, who is killing all of these people and filming it?  The film is not without its flaws, but it's interesting look at the way we respond to revolting material is quite eye opening.  Gut isn't bringing anything new to the table, but it successfully pulled a few visceral reactions out of me. 

Elias first needs to be credited with making a very well-executed piece of film.  Elias has a very strong grasp on his camera work and manages to give the impression that the camera is observing the world of the film, rather than presenting it to the audience.  Considering the premise of the damn movie is on the way we observe a particular type of film, his technique was incredibly smart.  Unfortunately, his directing style felt a bit constrictive and the pacing needs some serious work.  I'm a big fan of slow-burn style horror films (call me, Ti West!), but there's a huge difference between slow paced and downright dull.  Gut leans a little too far into the latter for my liking.

The film has an incredibly small cast, and the actors are all over the map.  With a film relying on very little dialogue, I was expecting a very solid set of actors.  I suppose I set my expectations a bit too high.  Don't get me wrong, these actors are at least a half step above some college film project, but I wouldn't praise any of the actors in the film for their work. I've seen better, but I've seen much worse.


The snuff films themselves deliver a genuine amount of gross-out moments, which is a decent pay-off for the snail pace of the film.  I'd like to have seen a little more of the gore, if only to invoke a stronger reaction out of me.  Ultimately, if the characters had been more developed and I actually gave a shit about them, I would have been far more invested into this film.  Unfortunately, where the plot and atmosphere soar, the character development and dialogue greatly suffer.  In a world where we're obsessed with things like 2 Girls 1 Cup, Goatse, and The Pain Olympics, a film like Gut clearly has a place in our world.  If you're looking for a change of pace from the jump-scared loaded horror films of Hollywood (and don't mind slow pacing), Gut is worth a one time watch.

2 comment(s):

Maynard Morrissey said...

Great review for a surprisingly good movie. Got to see it last year and aprat from having no expectations at all, it almost blew me away.

Pro Carpet Cleaning said...

A difficult review. By labeling the film as neither good nor bad, I'm left with a 'shall I watch it or shall I not' dilemma!

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