15 October 2015

DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS

DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS

USA, 2015
Director: Austin Bosley

3,5/10











I'm a fan of the Slasher Studios. I love and own their short films ("Teddy", "Popularity Killer" & "Blood Brothers") on DVD. I love and own their debut feature "Don't Go To The Reunion" on DVD. I supported many of their crowdfunding campaigns. And, of course, I was totally looking forward to their second feature "Dismembering Christmas", an 80s-like Xmas slasher, taking place in a winter lake house where a couple of high school seniors are attacked
by a masked killer.


When I first heard that the Slasher Studios' regular director Steve Goltz wouldn't direct the movie, I was a bit shocked. When I read that the movie was supposed to be some kinda "Friday the 13th" meets "Black Christmas", I was rather underwhelmed because I'm not a big fan of both movies. And now that I've finally seen it, I have to say that my worst fears came true because "Dismembering Christmas" isn't good.

Director Austin Bosley has a great eye for striking visuals, gorgeous lighting and brilliant cinematography, resulting into many absolutely fantastic tracking shots and wonderfully composed images. Unfortunately, he is really bad when it comes to create tension or suspense, and he's even worse when it comes to direct actors. Goltz has a knack for getting the absolute best out of youngster actors - Bosley not. Throughout the entire movie, I had the feeling that he was more interested in the movie's visual aspects, and didn't care enough for the actors' performances, most recognisable in the horrible dialogue scene with him and Shannon McInnis in the car (was that a 'first take'?), the overall performances by McInnis (very stilted, very unnatural) and Marla van Lanen (what the fuck? did she even try? did Bosley even direct her?), as well as the scene where Jennifer Lenius and Johnathon Krautkramer kinda fall in love (cringeworthy scene, annoying to the max). I was constantly thinking
"Where the fuck is Goltz is when we need him?"...


... at least as a director, because unfortunately, the writing (done by Slasher Studios masterminds Goltz and Kevin Sommerfield) is a huge letdown too! I had the feeling they spent so much time getting as many nods to their favorite slashers into it - especially to "Curtains" for whatever reason - that they eventually completely forgot to care about any kind of 'story flow', about memorable/interesting/sympathetic/non-clichéd characters and about an original storyline. If you're looking for an original twist ending, look elsewhere. The semi-twist ending / killer reveal is so unbelievably foreseeable (you will find it out within the first 10-15 minutes), it's just frustrating. Plus: I might be wrong, but nearly every character and every line of dialogue feels as if "Dismembering Christmas" was actually intended to be about a couple of twens... until someone had the glorious idea to cast a bunch of teenagers instead *grrr*

Aside from the above-mentioned actors, most of the other actors deliver solid performances, especially Leah Wiseman and Nina Kova.
The killer's mask is ugly and looks like a botched papier-mâché version of the "Curtains"-killer's mask and "Leatherface". The kills are neat, but they're pretty much all ripped off of slasher classics like (again) "Curtains" (the nightly double murder, at least in terms of style and execution) or "Silent Night, Deadly Night" (sledding decapitation), and they're all surprisingly un-gory. The few ones that are original are either absurdly dumb (snowman kill) or... well, if there would be an award for the "Worst Decapitation of 2015", the scene with the christmas wreath would so earn it.


The music is weird. At times it's atmospheric and quite effective, at times it's so awkward and non-fitting, that it took me out of the movie. I mean, there are scenes that are lively and rousing, scenes that totally needed some uplifting music - but instead, we get super-strange and way-too-calm jingle-jangle. Same for other scenes where the music is way too kitschy, although it should have been moody and atmospheric instead.

One more thing regarding Marla van Lanen: when I first saw her, I thought she's a man badly dressed as a woman. I actually didn't wanted to mention this in the review, but then I saw another reviewer on Imdb (Bloodmarsh Krackoon) who though exactly the same: "I must apologize here, because when 'Joan' first made her appearance, I thought the character was actually played by a male dressed in drag. It wasn't until I loaded up IMDb, that I found out the part is actually played by Marla Van Lanen, whom I assume is actually a female." My goodness, this was so weird. Another thing that took me out the movie. I had to pause the movie to look her up on Imdb.


Although I won't stop supporting Mr. Goltz and Mr. Sommerfield in the future, "Dismembering Christmas" definitely dismembered my love for the Slasher Studios quite a bit. With a more elaborated cast, more entertaining characters (just like in "Don't Go To The Reunion"), less nods to "Curtains", more originality, better writing and Mr. Goltz on the director's chair, this could have been a movie to remember... but it sadly turned out to be a movie to dismember.

5 comments:

  1. The film cover/poster (without the wording) would make an awesome Maynardesque Christmas card. :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha, yeah indeed :) Actually, the poster is the best thing about it ;)

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