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Criticized (2006)

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Genres:
Black Comedy, Horror, Psychological Thriller, Sadistic Horror
Director:
Richard Gale Richard Gale
Starring:
John Lynd John Lynd
Brian Rohan Brian Rohan

7.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: September 15, 2008
There's an old saying that goes a little something along the lines of "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all", but I never paid much attention to that. You see, ever since I started this little site that you're currently tuned in to, I've made a point of reviewing each and every last film that I watch. Indie movies, Hollywood movies, big-budget, no-budget, classics, pieces of shit - it doesn't matter. If someone hasn't beat me to it, I will review it.

With that said, I do have to admit that I sometimes feel bad about handing out negative reviews; I mean, somebody spent months or even years working on that film, actors put forth the effort to tell the story, the effects guys did the best they could with what they had, and after just ninety minutes in front of the tube, I sit down at my computer and tell the world what a piece of shit it was. That has got to hurt any budding young filmmaker who finds him or herself on the receiving end of such a scathing review, and such is the premise for Criticized, a short film that demands - and deserves - a solid review.

We kick things off by seeing a film critic named Darian (John Lynd) heading home for the evening when a stranger pops up out of nowhere and uses a stun gun to subdue him. When he awakens, he finds himself strapped to a board inside a stranger's bathtub with both of his hands shackled to the tub. As if that wasn't bad enough, he soon discovers exactly what is going on: Arthur Lements (Brian Rohan), the producer / writer / director of a film entitled "The Ultimate Terror", is upset that Darian wrote an extremely negative review of his film after seeing it at a festival, and he's downright pissed that he has lost all hope of ever receiving a distribution deal after everyone read about how bad his movie was. Now, our psychotic filmmaker plans to open Darian's eyes to the trials and tribulations of making a film, and the results won't be pretty.

Mixing together dark humor with some surprisingly chilling scenes of horror, Criticized is an odd little film that worked out much better than it should have. Let's be real here: the storyline begins as an almost scene-by-scene "homage" to Saw, and after we learn that all of this is a result of a bad review, well... does this sound like a horror classic to anyone else? However, thanks to some clever writing, this script feels not only plausible, but you actually start to find yourself wondering why someone hasn't went off the deep end like this already.

Regardless of how well-written the film is, subpar acting could have easily killed this one and netted me an unpleasant visit from writer / director Richard Gale. Thankfully, both men are fine in their roles with Lynd playing the victim as well as one could ask for and Rohan bringing a truly inspiring performance as the psycho who just wants a little respect. The perfect villain is one that the audience can almost take pity on while at the same time being repulsed by his or her actions, and in that regard, Lynd delivers and then some.

Criticized is currently available as a bonus feature on the Seed DVD, but don't think for a moment that that is a testament to the lack of its entertainment value. In the eyes of the distributors, this film may only be a space-filler or a mere bonus feature, but in the eyes of those of us who enjoy horror mixed together with black comedy, Criticized is a keeper. 8/10.
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Ginose #1: Ginose - added 09/26/2008, 06:27 PM
"It's just a little paper clip..."
Fucking great... for a short film to have such a hillariously heated tone came a mighty shock to me. I thought the ending was predictable, but still funny enough to work.
8.6/10
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