Review by Alex Jowski
Family man Tom has seen something he can't forget, a mysterious video with an ugly secret that soon spreads into his daily life and threatens to dismantle everything around him.
Recently I had the opportunity to watch this great new horror film, Gut, which is one of the most original things I've ever seen. Too many horror films day days use gore or jump scares as a crutch to drag their story along. Gut has none of that and relies on it's characters to successfully tell what is a fantastic story. It is refreshing every now and again to see a nice independent film made not by someone who had a whim to make a "fun" horror film but instead by someone who clearly has a passion to tell a story.
The film presents two characters with whom I can absolutely relate to, Tom (Jason Vail) and Dan (Nicholas Wilder). Both are white-collar workers in their 30s who've been best friends for years. While married and with a daughter, Tom feels something missing in his life, his marriage has no spark and nothing around him really seems to interest him anymore. Dan longs for the past when the two of them would watch horror movies all night long and even try to make their own. As Tom points out, however, "We're not 15 anymore." Dan invites his friend Tom over to watch Return of the Living Dead 3 but Tom mentions he has to watch the latest Pixar movie with the family - a movie he would have had nothing to do with at 15 but now, as an adult, finds that it's "not bad." That concept of moving beyond the nostalgia of high school days and trying to cope with adulthood is always one that fascinates me. We all long for those carefree and fun times we all had at 15 but we simply cannot do that anymore - the adult world, parenthood, employment all seem to crush the simple love of Return of the Living Dead 3 out of anybody. Reality makes cynics out of all of us.Dan finally does find something to pique Tom's interest, a film unlike any he's seen before, something that has to be seen to be believed. The brief film simply shows a nude girl strapped to a table and then she's cut open. The disturbing imagery really gets to Tom and Dan as they wonder if what they saw was real or not. Neither can get any sleep as whenever they close their eyes all they see is a shot from that movie. Tom can't even spend quality time with his family without imagining them being gutted like the girl in that movie.
Gut really harkens to the same theme present in films like Videodrome in illustrating the power that images have over our lives and creating the horror of "what if that stuff is real and could happen to you." Other films have ventured into this theme, for instance 1981's Looker and 1998's 8MM. Gut explores this topic with such perfection, however. Dan, for instance, hates what he sees, but because of the nature of voyeurism (and what is watching any kind of film, after all, besides just a form of voyeurism), he can't stop looking at it. Those images begin to strain the friendship Dan and Tom share and begin to take its toll on their daily lives. It's a slow-moving but fascinating and ultimately rewarding character study.
The music, done by Chavd SB (Chad Bernhard) is a perfect fit for the movie. Most of the time the music is just one note repeated over and over but growing in intensity as the scene grows and often times seems to mimic the rapid heartbeat you know the characters are experiencing. It's one thing to show characters doing something - a very different thing entirely to actually feel the same way as them. Director Elias does a great job with pulling the audience into the story, to not only understand the characters but to completely sympathize with them and feel the same emotions they do. Elias impresses me as a very talented storyteller and I really to look forward to future works from him. The cast all do a tremendous job as their roles require a helluva lot more than just saying dialogue with the correct inflection. There is a lot of body language and specific facial expressions that carry plenty of subtext and make the characters that much more believable.
There is one last thing I wanted to bring up about this movie, a minor thing really, and that's cheeseburgers. Dan and Tom spend a LOT of time at a nearby diner that kind of has a Denny's feel to it. They keep ordering these AWESOME looking cheeseburgers - not the kind of cheeseburgers you would get at McDonald's but real beef cooked to order (medium rare) and served with those tasty steak fries. They never actually eat these tasty looking burgers though. They order them, have their dialogue and then the waitress takes away their full plates. Made me a bit angry because those cheeseburgers looked so damn delicious - why weren't they eating them. I should probably have mentioned that I was also really hungry when I was watching this movie.
That food - so delicious looking.
I would definitely recommend checking this movie out. While it had a theatrical release in October, the film is now available for On Demand viewing throung any of the following sources.
Availability right now is as follows: in the US on Amazon Instant, Xbox, Playstation, Vudu, CinemaNow, YouTube and Google Play. In Canada on Xbox, Playstation and I believe CinemaNow, YouTube & Google Play as well. The film will also be available on iTunes in both the US and Canada soon as well.
Original link: http://www.geekjuicemedia.com/24/post/2012/12/gut-2012.html
About Jason Vail.
I LIKE TO WEAR A LOT OF HATS IN THIS BIZ. ACTOR, CASTING DIRECTOR, PRODUCER, WRITER, ACTING COACH, EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING FILM MAKES ME HAPPY.
Also check out Jason's headshot photography:
Valley of the Sasquatch
ABe Vs ZOmbies
Whom God Helps
Best Ribs In Town
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
The Last Policeman