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December 22, 2011

Movie Review: South of Heaven (2011)

Oooh. I wish this had a bigger budget. This doesn’t mean that it was poorly done by any means… but the vibe of a depraved Tex Avery cartoon come to life would have been spectacular with 20 million to blow! South of Heaven, though, is a little slice of… I’m  not going to say it. What we have here is macabre slapstick like, like, crap, how do I put this? Oh, it’s like Quentin Tarantino knocked Sam Raimi up with a turkey baster. While impregnated, Sam took a swift kick in the gut from David Lynch and the screaming brat was mid-wifed by John Waters. Did I mention I liked it? I really, really liked it.

Buy South of Heaven on DVD

 Violence for the sake of violence aint’ my thing. Violence functioning as a social commentary that mimics the Saturday morning cartoons of my youth (complete with animated segments) is must-see viewing, though. Synapse has a sleeper little hit on their hands here that, for all intensive purposes, appears to have been a bit misunderstood by the majority of the reviewing audience. Screw those ass hats. I firmly believe this is what Raimi was shooting for in Darkman (look at the vibe of his Crimewave). A modern day superhero… wrong place, wrong time and horribly disfigured. In a nutshell, two brothers plan on writing the best-selling American novel. One brother owes money to unscrupulous people and they cut off eight fingers and burn to a crisp the wrong brother. He is a Navy vet and becomes ‘Nobody,’ the newest anti-hero from the Millennial Generation.

The performances, especially from Shea Whigham and John Gries, are all solid as is the camera work. This appears to be the feature film debut of writer/director of J.L. Vara who, quite obviously, has been extremely influenced by graphic novels, the work of Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez and the violent kind of Saturday morning cartoons. This is a recipe for something really unique in South of Heaven. Hampered a bit by its lack of budget, of course, the direction and vision (pay attention to the color metaphors) more than make up for it.

South of Heaven is available on DVD Synapse Films. If you want to check it out, use the handy dandy link to the left there and give a little something back to the Cheese.

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