David Long (played by actor David Long) is an aspiring film-maker who wants to shoot beautiful and inspiring things. Sounds pretty inspirational, until you realize his idea of beautiful and inspirational are essentially snuff films. Meanwhile, Charlotte (Kristi Ray) is an aspiring actress who is sheltering her alcoholic mother while they both bounce from job to job. The three lives find themselves on a collision course as David is shooting footage outside the strip club where Charlotte works as a waitress. David’s activity doesn’t go over too well with a bouncer who beats the crap out of David and Charlotte saves him and helps piece David back together.
A relationship between the two ensues that we know is only a ticking time-bomb waiting to go off and the rest of the film is spent watching how things spiral out of control.
This is 2014’s “little film that could” that has garnered praise from across the board, so I have to be honest and say the praise dulled the film for me a bit. For the first twenty minutes or so I just wasn’t feeling this movie at all. But after the relationship between our two leads is established, we spend most of the film with David Long and it becomes massively enjoyable. David Long is a poor slob but is very charismatic and enjoyable to watch. It’s a performance that reminds me a lot of Micheal Rooker’s debut in Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer, where the lead does such a good and believable job that you are not sure if you’re watching a real crazy person or not. Everything he does is so twitchy and intense that it gives the performance a sense of realism. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention it is also a little bit like Joe Spinelli in Maniac as well. The entire purpose of this film is to be a throwback to that era of edgy films and for the most part is succeeds.
There is no year given in the film as to when it takes place, but the dated technology (everyone has a rotary dial phone) seems to indicate it takes place in the 80s or modern day Kentucky. A lot of care is taken by director Joe Stauffer to establish most every shot as though it were a painting. If you’ve ever read any review of this film before you’ve heard that most every shot is “beautiful”, and that helps show David’s world view. Yeah, the guy is completely off his rocker, but as the film goes on you start to understand him. He’s basically a hipster angry at the Hollywood system and wanting to make art. He truly sees the world as a wonderful place and wants to reinforce his view on the system he feels is holding him back.
Normally such pretentiousness would hamper sympathy for a character but it helps that (most of) the characters he kills are huge jerks, so the audience is like “hey David, go for it bro, make that art you crazy bastard”. You can tell the filmmakers are voicing a lot of frustration through the character, but it’s all done in good fun. One thing the reviews I’ve read haven’t touched upon is how funny the movie can be at times. Such things as the David Caruso expy on the TV show Crime Scene Examiners are hilarious; but there are some other things like how stupid Charlotte is that makes me think not all the humor is intentional. Remember Becky from Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer? She was a brain surgeon compared to this chick. But Charolotte is a sweet heart and has a nice rack so it makes her likable despite her short comings. David’s appearance should set off red flags enough on it’s own; much less filming outside a strip club. Her falling for him in such circumstances is a bit much, but such things do happen
The film also has a pretty cool soundtrack that consists of some soft-rock and blue grass sounding music. But during the end credits, we’re treated to a rap song about the main character, just like we were in horror movies in the late 80’s to mid 90’s.
This is one movie I’ll end up buying at some point on DVD. And of course, there will be a sequel. David Long is the perfect horror hero at this point and I can’t wait to see him in more misadventures.
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