Terror Hook – Chvad SB “GUT” (2012)

Something is missing in Tom’s life. Every day he goes through the motions, becoming increasingly detached from those around him. His best friend Dan thinks he has the answer, a mysterious video he’s got to see to believe. What Dan shows him leaves Tom unsettled, flooding his mind with disturbing images and desires, and binding the two friends together with its ugly secret. As he tries desperately to forget what he saw, Tom’s mounting feelings of guilt and disillusionment quickly give way to paranoia and fear. One video soon follows another and another, blurring the line between reality and voyeuristic fascination, and threatening to dismantle everything around them.

In GUT, on the surface, Tom is a happy family man, who happily works an office job in order to support his family. But lately, something has just been off about him. It seems as though he has begun to distance himself from everyone around him including his wife and daughter, and his lifelong pal, Dan. Dan, a guy who has known Tom for years, and shares a mutual love of Horror with him, senses this, and desperately tries to get his attention. Eventually, in hopes of getting his friend to snap out of it, Dan plans a night of Horror movies for the two, just like old times. That night, Dan introduces tom to s supposed “underground” Horror DVD, which he ordered from the internet. The mysterious DVD features a scene depicting an unseen killer, expertly cutting open the abdomen of their victim – the detail so real, that Tom and Dan both agree that it is in no way, staged. The video subsequently chills Tom, to the point that he demands that Dan get rid of the DVD, and never speak of it again. For weeks, the imagery from the mysterious video haunts Tom, who begins to undergo ghastly fantasies which see him slicing and dicing away at his own family. These feelings for Tom get more intense by the day seemingly, but nonetheless Tom does his best to keep his obsession with the initial video, as well as addition videos, which Dan purchases, under wraps. He keeps it from his wife, and with Dan, he pretends to remain adamantly against the videos. However, little does Tom know, that Dan also has grown obsessed with the video footage as well, and is slowly losing his mind – but at a much faster pace. It all comes to a head when Dan’s waitress girlfriend, Sarah vanishes without a trace(seemingly with Dan at fault). The disappearance threatens to uncover Tom and Dan’s secret obsession, putting a strain on their friendship, and in the end, things come together with a deadly outcome.

How much influence can the things which we view in our everyday lives actually have on us? That is the very question that GUT, a new film by Director, Elias asks. At the center of the film, we see Tom, a man we seems to already have some kind of internal troubles, have his would turned upside down, when he is subjected to a round of underground snuff footage. Initially, we the viewer sense that Tom is essentially on the proverbial edge, so to speak, so much so that it would only take a little pushing to send him overboard. In the film, the vile footage is indeed that push(but little did we know at first, that the video would have an affect on not only Tom, bout also Dan. albeit with different results. Or are they so different after all?).

GUT is a film that tells the familiar tale of a man’s descent into madness, except in a very different way. It does so without exactly letting on to where it’s actually going with itself. With other films of the type. The fact that the character is insane, is usually out on the table, and we merely just watch as it all unfold. With GUT however, it takes awhile for us to actually grasp what is occurring to the character(s) – and even when we’ve figured it out, the film’s last act is there to let us know that we haven’t fully cracked the code. The film is scripted with care, so that dialogue only reveals just enough for us to understand what’s going on, without making the outcome of the film obvious overall. Granted that GUT is a slow burning process, but I must admit that I never once became bored of it, on account of the level of mystery that the film is able to maintain through out. And with that, GUT is a true case in which our patience does pay off in the end. We are award withed a nice turn of events in the end for our patience, the climax is intense, and the fact that the conclusion was rather ambiguous was all the better to me. When it’s all over, and the credits roll, a few things are left open/unanswered, which may disappoint some viewers. However, I very much prefer it this way, as I feel. had all the loose ends been tied for us, the film would’ve ended up being a “Point A to Point B” type of thing – too simple and spoon fed. With things left like they are, it just keeps the mystery intact, and validates the artistic approach of the film.

Speaking of the film’s approach, the film was obviously shot on a small budget. This is evident in the film’s limited locations(Tom and Dan’s office at work appears to be simply a room with 2 desks, 2 computers, and little else, and could very well be just a part of the house which was re-used – however, i’m unsure on this. We see the characters in no more than 4 places throughout the film. We have the guys’ 2 houses, their work, and then their favorite diner. However, with this budget, Elias and crew have crafted a nice film for themselves, bot to mention one that, and times has a very nice artistic flare. Through out the film, Tom’s psychological torment is represented by a series of quickly seen, quickly cut scenes of bloody dissection, as seen in Dan’s underground DVDs. These scenes were both nicely placed and executed in my opinion, they are what essentially tell us, that something is indeed going wrong with Tom. And the great thing is, is that initially, we have no clue as to what they’re all about, they give the film a sort of cool, cryptic vibe. It is just one of the things that keeps a viewer interested. The nice execution, along with the realistic portrayals of the characters, make GUT a well rounded effort. The actors in the film all do well, as they simplify their characters and make them seem real., much to say that what happens in the film can happen to anyone. And indeed this type od thing does happen. As we know, the easily influenced have often taken things they have seen to heart, unfortunately, some with fatal results – as seen here in GUT.

In the end, I received GUT knowing nothing about the film, however, I am glad to have been given the chance to see, and give my opinion on it. Although a small film, it kept my attention all the way to the end. The way that the story progresses, as well as its characters keep things interesting, and it’s twists along the way keep things relatively unpredictable.

3/10 Various scenes of bloody dissection, etc.

5.5/10 GUT features a great score featuring a variety of distorted suspense tones. It’s simple, yet the distortion fits the film’s overall feel quite nicely.

GUT overall is a very nice surprise. It’s simple in procedure, yet complex in its idea. As I said, the idea behind it is a familiar one, but here, it is laid out with a specific version. It keeps you guessing until the end, and even then challenges you when it is over. I mentioned how I enjoyed its ambiguity in the end, but it is that same ambiguity that keeps GUT from ranking any higher with me(weird I know!). Although it ends mysteriously in a good way, At the same time, it makes other things in the film make less sense. And of course, since I am trying my best not to spoil a thing(I owe it to this solid film), I probably shouldn’t elaborate on what i’m referring to. But with all of that said, GUT is definitely a film that is worth checking out. Those expecting a gore fest will be disappointed. However, those who enjoy a well made, psycho-sexual, psychological Horror, shout find GUT to be an unexpected little treat!

Gut : Release Year – 2012
Overall Rating : 7/10
Directed By : Elias

Jason Vail
Nicholas Wilder
Sarah Schoofs
Kirstianna Mueller

Supplied By : Gut Productions
Film Reviewed By : Rick L. Blalock
Date Reviewed : October. 23, 2012

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