Good Nerd, Bad Nerd

By Bryan Scheidler


In the Horror movie genre there are many different sub-genres to be explored. From Monsters and aliens to psycho’s and the deranged, there really is a category for everyone. One of the more interesting sub-genre’s is the “Making a film gets out of hand” category. This category includes such films as The Blair Witch Project, Truth or Dare, and Shadow of the Vampire. The film CUT!, by director David Roundtree, takes on this sub-genre in a what initially seems like a straight forward story, but it couldn’t be further from the truth.

The story for this film is your basic: two guys get together to make a low budget horror film and things get out of hand. Without spoiling anything, the story has an off putting feeling - like you are being led down a path that you know is a trap, but you just can’t figure out why.  As frustrating as that sounds, it is actually quite brilliant. From the very first scene, the audience can sense something is wrong and the more you watch the more that uneasy feeling persists. The unease helps deliver a story that is remarkable good. The clever story, along with the cinematography, sound design, technical aspects, and cast work together to deliver a complete movie-going experience.

From a technical stand point this movie is top notch.  The cinematography reflects the tension in the movie. When scenes are chaotic or stressful, the camera work gets choppy and erratic. On the flip side, the scenes in between the chaos are still and peaceful.  From a sound effects standpoint, CUT! nailed it. Sound effects can often be the undoing of many films, due to over use or poor quality of the sounds. CUT! doesn’t have that problem. The quality of the audio work and the decisions on when to use effects are outstanding.  The effects are used sparingly and only to add tension to the scene. CUT! did not fall into the trap of adding effects solely for a gross factor, like so many horror films are prone to do.

The entire cast does an excellent job in their parts, but the film would have failed if not for the great work of David Banks and Roundtree himself.  Banks and Roundtree play the down on their luck aspiring film makers Travis and Lane, and it is their relationship that makes this movie work. Lane, as played by Roundtree (yes he directed himself in this film), plays a young aspiring film maker who dreams of getting a chance to create something great. It’s his frustration at the mediocrity of the directors in the industry that pushes Lane down a dark road.. Travis, as played by Banks, is who really sells the film. Travis is that friend we all have from high school that got into to trouble, messed up their life, but for some reason we still hang out with them.  It is with Travis that the audience experiences the world of CUT!. David Banks does an amazing job, and it is safe to say the movie would be a failure without him.

While I enjoyed the film my one and only complaint is the last scene. It had the potential to be something exceptionally cool, but it needed one subtle moment setting it up earlier in the film. Without that set up, the scene comes across out of the blue. Of course, I don’t want to say too much that I might give away other aspects of this movie, but the best way for me to describe it would be that the motivation of one character gets unnecessarily murky. Regardless, the film is totally worth your time from a technical and acting stand point, and I recommend it. The movie is currently available on