Directed by Elias
Today I talk about GUT, a movie I was requested to watch and review by Anna Ganster, who produced the movie. My thanks to Anna for providing the screener link. I had meant to review this a little earlier, but those real-world distractions had it in mind to delay me as much as possible. But I’m here now, and I’m going to review this movie before I get delayed again.
GUT revolves mainly around Dan and Tom, who have been friends for many years. As time went on, Tom grew up, got married and had a child, and got a job. Basically a normal, unexciting life. Dan on the other hand, while working for the same company as Tom, hasn’t quite made any advances in the way of maturity and ambition. He lives alone and prefers to hang out and watch horror movies. I can’t fault Dan for his taste in movies, at least.
Unfortunately, Tom’s life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and he’s been in a deep funk. This funk has also affected his and Dan’s friendship negatively, and Dan decides that something must be done. So he gets Tom over and they watch a movie Dan got in the mail. Which happens to be a snuff film. Yeah, great friendship rebuilding material right there.
Anyway, this film disturbs Tom to a great extent, giving him nightmares of his wife Lily dead in their bed and stressing him out in daily life even more than normal. Dan on the other hand seems very ok with it, even mustering up the courage to get involved with Sally, the waitress from the diner he and Tom frequent. But later another snuff film appears in Dan’s mailbox, with Sally as the star of the video. From here on in it becomes more of a “whodunit?” situation. Was it laid back Dan, whose only real stress in life was the possibility of losing his best friend? Was it Tom who, after seeing the snuff film, seemed on the verge of a breakdown at one point? Or was it someone completely different?
IMDB lists GUT as a horror/thriller, but in my opinion it’s really more of a thriller than horror. There is nothing scary or creepy going on (with the exception of two friends watching snuff), instead there’s a slow-burn style thriller, where you are made to wonder a number of things like whether or not the film is even real, and then later wondering who is doing the killing and the filming. I have no problem with this per se, it’s just me saying that horror should not be the genre identified with GUT.
The acting was well done. Jason Vail does a good job as Tom, showing his discontent with his mundane life and his later deteriorating mental state. Nicholas Wilder was a convincing best friend who has difficulty growing up, and even more difficulty losing his best friend. I knew a couple of people like that, so Nicholas definitely convinced me in that aspect. And Sarah Schoofs plays the likeable wife of tom, Lily. She is supportive of her husband and is clearly concerned for his well-being. She didn’t have a whole lot of screen time compared to Jason and Nicholas, but she did well with the time she had.
The pacing and execution of the story was handled well enough, but I sort of wish that there was a little more exciting happening. Like say, the waitress Sally getting abducted or something. Nothing really exciting happens until the very end of the movie. Luckily, as previously mentioned, the characters and dialogue are good enough so that those with patience aren’t suffering through the slower areas of the movie.
One other thing I wasn’t too fond of was how we don’t really get to see much of the videos themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t expecting the level of exposure that the Guinea Pig series offered, but I thought even 20-30 seconds more would have been acceptable. And while there was decent blood and special effects, I kind of hoped more for a movie where watching snuff films was a focal point of things.
With the whole limited budget aspect, GUT does their best to, as Paul Heyman once said about ECW, hide the negatives and accentuate the positives. For a steady-paced, character driven story that keeps you guessing, check it out. for those of you who can’t handle the slow-burn style with little excitement, you may want to skip this.
Macabre Rating: 2.5 out of 5 tombstones