Long-time friends Tom (Jason Vail) and Dan (Nicholas Wilder) find they are growing apart. When Dan finds a snuff film of a man cutting into the stomach of a woman, both find themselves fascinated with it. When they start to get more films from the same “director”, the films become personal when a waitress they both know is killed. Worried the killer might becoming for him and his family, Tom must find a way to sever his ties to Dan.
Directed by Elias, Gut is a horror-drama with an art house feel. The movie was released to many festivals and was met by mixed reviews.
The movie is ok, but not great and feels like a hodgepodge of other similar themed films. It goes for something like an Eyes Wide Shut feel (drama over horror/suspense), but also feels with the Mutt and Jeff characters of Tom and Dan like the film In the Company of Men. The movie comes off as one of those movies that you think is going to go in a much more interesting direction than it does.
The movie looks pretty good. I’m sure the filmmakers didn’t have a lot to work with (they had about four sets it appears…I’m sure the house “set” was probably just the home of someone they knew. Though the movie is smartly directed, I have to say the minimalist music is rather obnoxious. A lot of movies are going for this style music, but for it to work, it has to be done really well and well timed. Here, it just is an obnoxious pinking through a majority of the film…Something like The Master gets it right.
For both actors, the decision to emphasize the drama over the other genres was a bit of a mistake. Movies like Eyes Wide Shut, In the Company of Men, and other high end art-house style films are benefited by skilled actors. Jason Vail is alright in the movie (though a bit over the top in being dramatic), but Nicholas Wilder is over his head and comes off too goofy. His “humor” acting just doesn’t work and doesn’t seem natural because he’s not the best actor…in real life he could be the funniest guy but that doesn’t always translate to film.
Gut isn’t a bad film, but it isn’t a great film. With a nice look but obnoxious music and an art-house feel but lower end acting and script, much of the good is cancelled out by bad…leaving you with an average movie that had potential if it had some retooling and more money.
Review by JPRoscoe