Monday, February 11, 2008

Kill Them and Eat Them

God help me, I think I’m actually starting to become a fan of this set. I just started the third disc (of twelve) and the first movie here is better than any on the first two discs, continuing the process of each disc being better than the last. Indeed, had this one not dragged on a bit too much at the end, I was prepared to fill it a full blown three stars, I was digging it so much. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The film is the standard no-budget “shot-on-handheld-digital” that just about all the other movies in the set are. Curiously enough, the only one so far that actually seemed to have a production budget was the horror porn Demon Sex, which ranks just below Begotten so far as movies people have found this site from Google searches for. Unlike the other films, though, this one actually managed to work its lack of a budget into the film itself, with a pair of mad scientists stuck doing their genetic experiments in hiding, and bemoaning the fact that their work budget is so scant that they had to cobble together all their equipment from junkyards and set up shop in a basement. This being a monster movie, their genetic experiments involve kidnapping people and de-evolving them into hideous monsters, which due to the film’s budgetary concerns basically means they now look like people wearing masks and gloves they got from the local Halloween shop. I won’t lie, I was pretty amused by how writer/director Conall Pendergast couldn’t even bother with making the monsters look similar, but instead had them all wearing different masks.

I’m not sure if the monsters were actually supposed to be scary or not, at least within the contexts of the film’s reality. They’re certainly capable of doing a great deal of damage when they can grab someone, but it doesn’t bode well that the very first time we see one, the person it’s chasing picks up a rock and throws it at the monster, and the rock takes its damn hand right off. Really now, if their bodies are held so thinly together that a thrown rock can make them crumble, then perhaps they shouldn’t be so eager to throw down with everyone they see.

So it’s not going to be winning any awards on scariness. Lucky for it, then, that it’s actually pretty funny. Both the mad scientists (the elderly Dr. Gore and the youthful Dr. Tobias) and the men from the Company that’s hot on the trail of the mutants are very amusing. In particular, the idealistic Company man has some great lines, with his great love for his employers providing such nice moments as when he’s alone in a room and takes the opportunity to hug a Company poster on the wall and start stroking it affectionately with his fingers. Dr. Tobias gets in some nice character moments too, as in a brief montage of him complaining to his mutants about how hard he has it and how Dr. Gore just doesn’t understand him. Of course, the humor doesn’t always work; the bit about how the Company’s guns look like Buck Rogers weapons just kind of lies there sadly, for instance. In general, though, it does succeed much more frequently than it falters.

Were it not for the occasional comedic fumbles, the far too lengthy ending sequence, and the kidnapped girl whose acting ability seems to consist of staring at the other actors while they speak and waiting for her cue, then reciting all her lines as mechanically as possible (fortunately, she’s not in most of the film), I would give this an unqualified positive review. As it stands, I’m actually a little curious to see the rest of Pendergast’s films. He has quite a bit of potential to him.

Rating: ** ½

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