Horror movies are pretty cool, right? I watch a lot of them without knowing what they’re about, but just watch it based on the name. A few years ago I had invited my friend Steve-o Beevo over to watch a movie. He likes horror movies, so I figured he’d be into whatever I put on! The first movie I have popped in was Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS. It’s basically just naked ladies being tortured by Nazis. WHOA FUN MOVIE! I think we only lasted for about 20 minutes because we both just felt really awkward when we thought we were going to have fun. Once I set that aside, I put in a movie that I knew was a little more well known in the horror community, which was Cannibal Holocaust. This movie was MUCH easier to handle…at first. Once the movie had gotten to footage of live animals being killed, for really reals, we both felt uncomfortable. We finished the movie, as we had gotten far enough into it to turn back, but I know that I look back on that night and kind of wished I had just had fun with my friends instead of watching movies that bummed me out. In Gut, both the ideas of friendship and pursuit of seeing something new, exciting, and possibly horrific are all put into question.
I start the morning the same exact way, except I usually look a lot more sad when staring at my crotch.
Bored with his job, his family, and almost everything in his life, Tom (Jason Vail) has come to terms with the fact that there’s no significant lifestyle improvement on the horizon. His childhood best friend Dan (Nicholas Wilder), who also happens to be his coworker, doesn’t have it much better, as he spends most of his nights drinking alone and watching horror movies. Dan is at least able to get Tom to come over to watch a new movie he got, and what the friends see in the movie leaves them confused and disturbed. Tom has a hard time looking at his wife and family the same way, but Dan feels somewhat charged by what was on the videotape, and even decides to ask out the waitress he’s been pining over for as long as he can remember. Tom encourages Dan to destroy the tape, but considering how the footage has affected his life, Dan actually ends up getting more videos like the one that he watched with Tom. With his curiosity getting the best of him, Tom watches the new video, only heightening the disturbed and confused emotions he was going through. Tom starts developing feelings of resentment towards Dan, but with the waitress disappearing, it’s hard to tell exactly where Dan’s feelings have gone. The rest of the film explores the concept of the effects that curiosity can have on different people and the lengths that some people are willing to go to experience anything new at a point in their lives when they think they can only feel boredom.
I think there needed to be more shots in this movie that were homages to Bruce Springsteen album covers.
Most people associate the word “pornography” with sex or naked ladies or videos of butt stuff, but pornography is defined as anything that can be considered obscene or explicit. Even though what these two friends see on the video isn’t footage of dongs flopping around, I’d definitely say that it can be considered obscene and explicit, and can absolutely be considered pornography. With that in mind, the thematic elements of Gut reminded me a lot of the thematic elements of A Serbian Film. By no stretch of the imagination is Gut anywhere NEAR as graphic as A Serbian Film, but both films involve characters who feel they’ve reached dead-ends in their life, are willing to accept opportunities into their lives for something new or different, but end up getting sucked much further down the rabbit hole than they wanted to. It’s a concept I find very interesting to be explored, so even if all the movie is doing is kind of putting the question out there about how far people are willing to go to experience new things and if the risks or damages are worth the reward. In addition to those concepts of escaping someone’s everyday life, themes of loyalty and friendship also come up. You get the sense that there are aspects of Tom’s life that Dan is jealous of, and aspects of Dan’s life that Tom is jealous of, so they both have this unspoken, unresolved tension between the two of them. Despite Tom blaming Dan for bringing this video into his life, Dan also has the freedom to watch more videos and doesn’t have to worry about a family that he would then have to act “normal” in front of. Although the themes of friendship didn’t resonate with me as strongly, it was still ambitious in the way those themes were worked in with subtlety.
So it IS normal for a girl to request a guy wear latex gloves before touching her?
Despite being quite ambitious contextually, it does still show signs of being a low budget, independent film, most notably with its cast. The two leads are fine in their roles, and considering most of the feelings expressed by the actors were those of exhaustion, boredom, and depression, they make it out okay. I think the low key approach works fine enough, but were the budget bigger, there could have been some more opportunities to showcase some more dramatic or confrontational scenes. One thing I noticed was how almost every shot was a static shot, or at least involved a camera being on a tripod, and there were hardly any shots involving a handheld camera. I think this worked in the film’s favor as the feeling of being locked into one position or the feeling of not much movement could have been an active decision to replicate the feeling of being stuck in one’s life. Even though the film does have a handful of graphic effects scenes, they are small scale enough to have been pulled off quite well, definitely taking the idiom of “quality over quantity” to heart, so it plays out as more of a thriller than a straight up horror film. It has some great concepts and was clearly aware of its own limitations, but it could have left far more of an impression had the audience been able to connect more with its lead characters. If nothing else, I recommend you check out the trailer, which is just as ambiguous as this review intentionally is by not telling you what you actually see in the video. Watch it! Seriously! It’s like, just an inch or two below what you’re reading right now! Are you really that lazy? WATCH THE GODDAMNED TRAILER.
Wolfman Moon Scale
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I didn’t like this movie, not as much a fault of the film, I think the subject itself holds an interesting discussion about what we allow ourselves to watch or obsess with, I mainly didn’t like it because it made me feel extremely uncomfortable and though that is not the film’s fault(and most likely it’s intention) I just am at a point in my life where I don’t want to watch stuff that makes me feel that way. Great review