Splatter Movie: The Director's Cut (2008)

DVD Cover (Sub Rosa Studios)
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Overall Rating 56%
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Ranked #5,894
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Director Amy Lee Parker and her crew arrive at the Hundred Acres Manor to shoot the movie "Tesseract" while a documentary crew follows their progress. Behind-the-scenes, a maniac is stalking and murdering the crew members. As filming progresses and the body count rises, the line between what's real and what's staged begins to blur - before vanishing entirely! --IMDb
Amy Lynn Best
Amy Lynn Best
Tom Sullivan
Tom Sullivan
Nikki McCrea
Nikki McCrea
Debbie Rochon
Debbie Rochon
Elske McCain
Elske McCain
Review by Chad
Added: August 31, 2008
It's been a while, but finally, Splatter Movie: The Director's Cut has went on sale... well, the "work in progress" version, anyway. This is a movie that I've been looking forward to for quite some time now, as thanks to Mike Watt's blog, I've been following this film literally since before a cast was assembled or a single scene was shot. Independent filmmakers should take note of that, and I'm not talking about merely keeping a blog that is a daily advertisement for whatever it is that you're selling at the moment. Anywho, getting back to the subject at hand here, this was indeed a rough cut of the film (even though it looked polished enough to me). Keeping that in mind, I'm sure that there will be some tweaks and some edits made before it winds up on store shelves, but even at this early stage, I have to say that it was well worth the wait.

The storyline for this one is sort of hard to adequately describe due to the multiple layers involved, but since I doubt a simple "it's a slasher flick" would do a whole lot to pique your interest, I'm going to take a stab at it. We begin with an introduction to Amy Lee Parker (Amy Lynn Best), a young lady who has assembled a cast and crew and who has set out to film a simple slasher flick known as Tesseract at the popular Hundred Acres Manor in Pennsylvania. This film will be the very definition of slasher sleaze: a man in a mask with no apparent motive goes around slicing up innocent victims, and padding the film out will be the obligatory shower scenes, lesbian sex scenes, and yes, even a rape scene. Horror veterans Tom Sullivan and Debbie Rochon have both agreed to appear in the film, the Manor is the wet dream of any horror filmmaker, and really, things are looking up for this little indie flick; hell, they're even shooting interviews during the production for the eventual DVD release.

Then, a real madman shows up, kills off the guy who was playing the serial killer, and proceeds to don the mask and take method acting to a whole new level. Thus, we have a legit serial killer dressed up as the serial killer from the movie who goes around killing the cast and crew of the movie as though he were in the movie. With me so far? Throw in the aforementioned interviews and the oblivious surviving cast members continuing to shoot the film, and you wind up with a release that certainly lives up to its promise of "blurring the line between film and reality" in more ways than one.

When I first read about this movie, I looked at it in the same way that I look at remakes: it's an interesting idea, it has potential, and it could be something great... but in the back of my mind, I was thinking that it would turn out to be laughably bad. This has nothing to do with the filmmakers or the cast as we've got Happy Cloud Pictures putting this thing together (and they've yet to let me down), but this idea just didn't sound like it would work. How do you blend the "reality" of the film's world with the "fake" aspects of the movie within the movie and have it come out in a remotely believable fashion? Still, much like those cursed remakes, I gave it a shot just to see if it'd surprise me, and I'll be damned if it didn't.

You see, the film actually lives up to its promise of blending together reality and film until you really can't tell which is which. Sure, you can point to this scene and say that it's "film" and that other one is "reality" from time to time, but there are others that make it just a little more challenging for the viewer. There's also a fun little twist thrown in that will change how you look at the film as a whole, and while I'm certainly not going to spoil it here, I have to say that I loved the direction that the film went after this piece of the puzzle was revealed.

The acting may have felt a little sketchy in any other film, but here, it works wonderfully. You see, most of the movie features the actors simply being themselves; we watch as the director tells the cast members what to do, the interview questions seem to have been genuinely answered with legit answers, and the whole thing just feels natural. There are far too many movies that attempt to portray this realism sort of thing, yet something as simple as an actress tripping over her words will feel rehearsed. That is not the case here, and while it's difficult to say that the acting was perfect in general, I will say that it worked perfectly in this particular film. On a personal note, it's always great to see Sofiya Smirnova in action - filmmakers, please, give this lady more work.

Complaints? I really only have one, and that comes courtesy of the audio. There are times when it's difficult to hear what the cast members are saying, so naturally, you turn the volume up. Then, the next scene will feature a woman screaming, and you wind up waking the neighbors since the audio in this scene is considerably louder than it was in the previous. If you want to nitpick, you could say that this adds to the realism (each of the cast members were given cameras in the storyline and told to document everything, and naturally, you'd get varied results with that approach), but still, I'd love to see that fixed. Again, I'd like to point out that this is the rough cut of the film, so I'm hoping that this is fixed down the road.

Overall, even with the minor audio issues, I can't recommend the film enough. It features everything that a slasher should (T&A and inventive kills - watch for the excellent "fishhook" scene), it mixes reality with film in a way that few films manage to do, and best of all, it's original while being successful with said originality. Too many filmmakers come up with unique gimmicks just for the sake of having a unique gimmick, but they fail to realize that the reason nobody has tried these ideas is because everybody else realized how awful they were. That's not what happened here, and if this were a Hollywood film, there would already be a sequel, a remake, and a dozen imitators in the works. 10/10.
Dan Keener #1: Dan Keener - added 05/18/2009, 05:53 PM
I really enjoyed seeing the former Tromette Babe Elske McCain in this movie.
Crispy #2: Crispy - added 04/12/2012, 08:08 PM
Edits between your rough cut and the final release include universally atrocious acting, a tepid pace, and a depressing lack of a destination by film's end. The only enjoyment I got out of this was the occasional chuckle from watching the guy playing the movie killer goofing off between takes. I'd say your score needs to be subtracted by one: the one in front. Avoid/10
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