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September 25, 2013

Movie Review: Cross Bearer (2012, DVD)

Review By: Rob Sibley

Cross Bearer is a dark, violent and sleazy film that's packed to the brim with plenty of in your face gore and nudity and you know what? I loved every single minute of it. What's refreshing about Cross Bearer is that it knows exactly what it is and what it's audience is looking for. It's also a step above most low budget slashers. So many slasher films these days use the tired old excuse of “throw back” to cover up shoddy acting and even worse camerawork. Cross Bearer on the other hand is filled to the brim with talent both behind and in front of the screen. Director/Writer/Producer Adam Ahlbrandt knows his way around a camera and is clearly a fan of the genre.

The cast is made up of a group of gorgeous tattooed women (Always a plus in my book) and what sweetens the deal is all of them can act. Especially the lead Natalie Jean who surely will become a major scream queen if she continues to pursue the horror genre. Which is likely since she also has the excellent The Cemetery under her belt along with Punk Rock Holocaust 3. She has the looks, naturalism, instant likability and sheer raw talent that is rare these days. 

The plot itself is simple and effective. Heather (Natalie Jean) is having a tough time in life, she's working a dead end job as a stripper at a sleazy club run by an even sleazier boss. Harry (J.D. Brown) besides running the strip club also does drug deals on the side. Heather lives with her girlfriend Victoria (Victoria DePaul). Victoria is a hot mess to say the least, she had a child but is a neglectful mother who rather bury her nose in the white powder rather then take care of her child. She's basically a walking episode of the show Intervention.

Heather sees a light at the end of the tunnel though... Harry gives her the responsibility of carrying off a drug deal for him. Heather decides along with her lover Bunny (Kacie Marie) that once the deal is done they'll take the money and flee the country. Sounds like a simple plan right? Well like all good simple plans the shit hits the fan.. the proverbial "shit" is a religious maniac who goes by the name The Cross Bearer. He's one nasty son of a bitch, face wrapped up in a sack and carrying around a hammer. He prefers to literately beat the sin out of your skull rather then read you a verse from the "good book". And boy o boy does he love using that hammer. So Heather and her "friends" are trapped in a warehouse and halfway through the picture it becomes a game of cat and mouse with a few lesbian sex scenes thrown in for good measure. 

One of the most interesting things about the film is not the gore or the gorgeous women. It's the solid character development of the character of Heather. It's so rare these days to see a fully fleshed out three dimensional woman in a slasher film. Usually "The final girl" is meek and doesn't gather up the strength till the final ten minutes. Heather is a survivor and a tough cookie from the start and it's easy to feel sympathy for her considering the spiraling shit storm of a life she lives. Jean carries the characters heavy emotional baggage very well, never coming off as forced. She breaths life into the character Heather, the character is so developed she almost seems out of place. That's a compliment, well developed characters usually are M.I.A. from 90% of slashers. 

Now let's move onto what most of you are curious about... the gore and the kills. They are gloriously gory and done in a very grand guignol fashion. I lost count of how many heads are bashed in throughout the brisk running time... but trust me it's a lot. You also get some solid gunshot/squib effects and a very nice baseball bat beating as well. The brain matter fly's around aplenty in this flick and I can happily say it's 100% practical effects. I didn't notice any CGI what-so-ever.

Another interesting aspect of the film is it's tone. I was going into the film expecting your typical campy slasher. The film is actually very light on the camp, for the most part it's a very bleak film. It's a fun film don't get me wrong but the characters live in a depressing world to say the least. The photography is gorgeous and my hometown (city) of Philly is captured in all it's baroque beauty, grit and all. Finally a slasher film that doesn't place take place in the woods. 

As you can tell I didn't like this film, I fucking loved it. In a day of age of watered down PG-13 slashers and poorly made direct to DVD horror films this is truly a breath of fresh air. The acting is superb, the gory is great and aplenty, the visual scheme is fantastic (Love all the yellow and ambers) and you also get an effectivly chilly score. 

Also be on the look out for a quick cameo from everybody's favorite alt porn star icon Joanna Angel! 

Currently Cross Bearer hasn't been released world wide on DVD/Blu-ray. But it is playing the festival circuit, so I'm sure it'll be getting a proper release soon. This film comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

You can find out more about the film via and find some pretty cool merch at

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