French Toast Sunday Review

Cut! is a new independent horror/mystery film which recently made it’s way to Video On Demand after earning serious recognition at the 2014 Independent Film and Television festival. The film is a meta-movie. It’s a serial killer movie about a couple folks making a serial killer movie starring a serial killer. Based on some of the promotional materials, I went into this expecting a cliché gore-filled over the top horror flick but what I got instead was an altogether more engaging film.

As the plot unfolds there’s palpable emotion between the characters as they struggle to get a grip on what is happening to them and what they have done. The film goes beyond the horror genre and into mystery/thriller territory as the plot carries an air of uncertainty throughout. All in all, the story is well-written, and I especially enjoyed the third act.

The lead character is played by David Rountree who also wrote and directed this film. His character, Travis, is for me, the most compelling. The seemingly quiet by –the-book aspiring director, is a deep character that transforms before the viewer’s eyes into what he truly is. He’s backed up by David Banks playing an ex-con named Lane. The character of Lane is also complex, an ex-con who possesses no compassion or kindness towards any of those around him, except perhaps to Travis. As things become more serious in the film, you start to see a softening of this hardened “bad guy”. You begin to see remorse and in my opinion, that’s one of the hardest emotions to pull off. The acting is more than serviceable and I think I prefer it that way. Could the acting have been better with Hollywood A-listers? Probably. But the relative anonymity of much of the cast sort of lends to the realism the film is shooting for.

The film is well put together; it is able to be quite successful with a lot of different attributes. They did a lot with a presumably small budget, the mise-en-scene is effective, never seeming tacky or rushed or short-changed. The plot employs elements of suspense and surprise through a series of twists and turns that leave the audience on the edge of their seat. The action sequences aren’t overly drawn out, they are quick and powerful. One disappointment was the lack of gore I got out of this film. I suppose part of that owes to my initial expectations, but a good horror film should have no shortage of blood and guts, in my book at least. At the end of the day, this is quite a good film.

Screenshot 2015-02-26 12.49.14