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Weirdsville (2007)

DVD Cover (Magnolia Pictures)
Genres:
Comedy, Horror Comedy, Stoner Comedy
Director:
Allan Moyle Allan Moyle
Starring:
Scott Speedman Scott Speedman
Wes Bentley Wes Bentley
Taryn Manning Taryn Manning
Matt Frewer Matt Frewer
Greg Bryk Greg Bryk

6.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by bluemeanie
Added: October 04, 2007
The name Allan Moyle probably doesn't mean very much to you. If you're a regular movie goer, I would be shocked if you could name one other film the man has directed. If you're a cinephile, I would say you would have a better chance, but still might be unable to do so. The fact is that Allan Moyle is not a name people know, despite having directed two of the film popular cult films of the 1980's and 1990's. His first notorious project would be "Pump Up the Volume", the Christian Slater starrer about an outlaw D.J. who gives out pretty intense advice to his teenage listeners. His second cult picture was 1995's "Empire Records", a film that really succeeded, in large part, because of a fast selling soundtrack. He also directed the overlooked "The Gun In Betty Lou's Hang Bag", as well as recent films like "New Waterford Girl" and "Jailbait", both dealing with adolescent girls coming of age in sexual ways. Moyle is a diverse filmmaker and his work proves that. His most recent motion picture, "Weirdsville", was the closing night film at the 2007 Sidewalk Moving Picture Festival, and it takes the same low budget route as his more recent work.

In classic calypso filmmaking, this plot is complicated, somewhat. Scott Speedman and Wes Bentley star as Dexter and Royce, two pseudo-addicts who, along with their friend and prostitute Matilda (Taryn Manning), decide to rob the house of Mr. Taylor (Matt Frewer), who also happens to be the leader of a Satanist cult. The cult is led by Abel (Greg Bryk) and Treena (Maggie Castle), and through coincidence, Dexter and Royce find themselves on the run from the cult, as they want to use Matilda as a sacrifice to resurrect 'the Dark Lord'. There is also a side plot involving a very odd mobster named Omar (Raoul Bhaneja), who wants to break their thumbs because they owe him money and used all of his heroine. Joe Dinicol stars as Jeremy, the nephew of Mr. Taylor, who gets inadvertently knocked out quite a bit throughout the film. Basically, the film is about Dexter and Royce trying to find the money to pay back Omar, while trying to save Matilda from the cult. There is also a group of midgets introduced in the film who are also medieval re-enactors. There is so much going on with this plot, you really do need to take notes to keep everything together.

Let's talk about what works. The visual style here is very creative and very appropriate. Director Allan Moyle has created a world that seems just a little off from the real world. It almost had the feel of "The Ice Harvest", and I particularly enjoyed the scenes with Scott Speedman skating down the road in his bare feet. The film also possesses a naive kind of charm that follows throughout. Most of these characters are so over the top and so 'out there', yet they all seem grounded in some sort of sanity, as hard as it may be to find, at times. Scott Speedman and Wes Bentley are likable and somewhat charming as the two bumbling drug addicts, though I wish I had seen a little more depth in their performances, instead of just two likable caricatures. Greg Bryk gives an amusing performance as the leader of the cult and Taryn Manning is at her very best as Matilda, who spends a chunk of the film passed out cold. Joe Dinicol is very funny as Jeremy, especially when he's tied up in the bath tub, trying to reason with the two men who just broke into his house. And the always talented Matt Frewer pops up as a comatose Satanist with a knack for narcotics.

Now, on to what didn't work. This is nothing we haven't seen 100 times before. You take a little of "Pulp Fiction", "Boondock Saints", "Snatch", "The Rules of Attraction" and many other films in the same milieu - "Weirdsville" borrows from all of them. Another fundamental problem with the film is that the pay-off seems too stock, as do several of the others scenes. The film is totally predictable and we see everything coming before we're technically supposed to. And, as suspended as my disbelief was, I find it hard to believe that a midget can come back to life after we've just watched him drown, and I find it even harder to believe than any cell phone would immediately work after being submerged in water for a few minutes. I can believe in resurrection, but not reception. So, I guess my biggest complaint with the film is a lack of originality. Maybe I wanted to see the film get a little darker. I definitely wanted to see the characters find a little more depth and substance with themselves, especially the two drug addicts. "Weirdsville" paints addiction in a very moderate light - we never really see why it would be so horrible, necessarily. The film does not condone it, but it doesn't go out of its way to paint it in a negative light.

But, when all is said and done - "Weirdsville" is entertaining and fun and well directed and acted. It's another enjoyable film from Allan Moyle, though not destined to become a cult classic like some of his other films. What made "Pump Up the Volume" and "Empire Records" so memorable was how we got to know all of the characters so well, so intimately. "Weirdsville" doesn't seem to trust enough to let us in. This film is in limited release right now and will be seeking distribution rights in the near future. I don't expect a wide release for this film, nor do I expect it to expand much further than where it is now, so look for it on DVD some time soon. Or, if it's playing near you right now, check it out. It's not a bad film. It's just not a very lasting one.

7/10.
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