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February 11, 2013

Movie Review: Gut (2012)

Movie Review: Gut (2012)
Directed by Elias
Starring Jason Vail, Nicholas Wilder and Sarah Schoofs
Run Time: 90 minutes

Two life-long friends, Tom and Dan are both stuck in the same dead-end monotonous desk job. Tom is married to a beautiful wife and has a young daughter who loves him, but he seems to be missing something in his life. Except for his one friend, Dan is a loner. A guy creeping close to middle age who has no life other then watching horror films and eating lunches with his buddy every afternoon at the local diner.

Life is just plodding along for these two until the day when Dan invites Tom over to watch a mysterious DVD that he supposedly bought online. As they sit down to watch it over beers, Tom is horrified to see that what they are watching appears to be a snuff film showing a woman being gutted with a blade by an unknown assailant. Dan seems to be enthralled by what he’s watching while Tom storms out in disgust.

As time goes by, Tom finds himself thinking more and more about the disturbing images he’s seen and a morbid fascination eventually becomes an obsession which is quickly taking over every waking moment of his life as he even fantasizes about killing his own family members.

Meanwhile soon after, Dan has an affair with a waitress from the diner, she comes up missing and new DVDs appear which lead both friends to believe that one of them has gone over the edge and decided to live out the deadly acts which appear on the snuff film discs. Gut had a couple of great thing going for it. First, a great story-line with characters that a lot of us can relate to. Guys in dead-end jobs who love their horror movies and are always looking for something a little bit gorier then what everyone else is watching. Secondly, it was fairly well paced. Tom’s decent into near madness was for the most part entertaining, in spite of the sometimes sketchy acting chops of Jason Vail.

I will admit that I spent nearly all of the movie in rapt anticipation of something really horrible happening, which is a credit to the director. The bad part about that though was the fact that it just never delivered quite what I was hoping for. In hindsight I now realize that this never really was a horror film technically, but more of a psychological thriller that is always on the verge of breaking into a horror movie but never really does. The horror fan in me was pretty disappointed in the lack of a really gory and crazy payoff at the end. But the film fan in me was actually quite impressed with what was created here, on what had to have been the smallest of budgets. Gut is a film that does a pretty decent job of holding your attention and holding its own despite its many shortcomings. The acting overall wasn't much to write home about but was still no better or worse then what you’d get in any other low-budget indie, and the story for the most part was able to rise above this. The only thing I really didn't care for was the score, which at times was so bad I nearly wanted to hit the fast-forward button.
In spite of its leading title, this is not a snuff film,a torture-porn flick, or even a gore-fest, and in spite of the fact that this movie wasn't really what I expected it to be, it was still a pretty decent watch, I thought. My movie watching partner Miss. Erica thought it was horrible though, which underscores the fact that indie movies like this aren't going to be to everyone’s taste (I’m pretty sure she wanted more blood and guts). I’m also sure that plenty of hard-core indie fans will be able to look past the rough edges and see the good in this film.

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