THE CUTTING ROOM

4 out of 10

Release date: 1st June 2015 (DVD Premiere)

Director: Warren Dudley (The Bromley Boys / Cage)

Cast: Lucy-Jane Quinlan, Parry Glasshouse, Lydia Orange, Jason Rhodes, Louisa Adams and TJ Herbert

Writer: Warren Dudley

Trailer: THE CUTTING ROOM

the-cutting-room.36946

Director and writer Warren Dudley has surrounded himself with a decent cast for his formulaic if lively debut. His horror is yet-another ‘rats in a maze / found-footage’ flick that offers nothing new. It gives the game young cast a bit of variety for their showreels though as the plot tells the full story of how they met their horrific ends at the hand of a serial killer. We rewind, wayyyyyy too far, to the minute the film camera was hired from their college.  So we see our lead trio, fart about, talk relationships, project ideas and much more in the lead up. Most of which should have hit the Cutting Room floor because nothing worth keeping. The plot background slowly put together and yet feels unnecessarily laboured and over worked.

Three media students team up to make a documentary. They choose the subject of bullying which somehow morphs into an amateur missing person’s case. All this ends up in a spooky museum / castle / derelict military facility – with our daring trio chased by a killer with a penchant for slow torture.

We’ve been here before many times, and there’s nothing much I can write to say this distinguishes itself from the pack apart from a solid cast, natural performance, naturally obnoxuious characters and competent enough execution. As a debut, the director shows he has the basics to build on, and he has proved that with his second film, another horror called Cage. Hopefully, he will continue on this upward swing, as Dudley’s not a bad writer and director, who needs to work on becoming a bit more imaginative.

4 out of 10 – The Cutting Room won’t be one anybody’s list of top 10s. Even a short time after watching it, I find the details, and soon to follow, the whole film, fading from memory.

Second review below by Matt Usher

WHAT HAVE I SEEN THAT ACTOR IN BEFORE?

  • Lucy-Jane Quinlan: The Bromley Boys, Cage
  • Parry Glasshouse: Hollyoaks (TV), Hollyoaks Later (TV)
  • Jason Rhodes: The Bromley Boys
  • TJ Herbert: The Bromley Boys, Perfect Break, A Dark Reflection, Family Affairs (TV)
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One thought on “THE CUTTING ROOM

  1. REVIEW BY MATT USHER

    If your idea of fun is watching gory horror films where inadequate men hack young women into tiny pieces then you might think this film is for you. (Also you’re not right in the head, but we won’t go into that.) Although that appears to be the premise of this film, there’s thankfully little of that kind of thing. Unfortunately there’s not much of anything else either (apart from a quite incredibly untwisty twist which you should spot about five minutes in.) (And which I’ll reveal later – you have been warned / should be grateful.)

    The film opens with a four minute sequence of (mostly just off-screen) torture porn, which ends (loathe as I am to admit it) with a pretty decent (non-gory) shock moment. We then cut to a college and there’s an even bigger shock on the horizon as it slowly dawns on the unwitting innocent viewer that we are now in found-footage mode.

    Worse than that, we are in found-footage-as-filmed-by-young-students mode. We meet three media studies students. They are Charlie (who has two character traits: she swears like the proverbial trooper and is rubbish in a crisis), Raz (he also has two character traits: he’s Charlie’s boyfriend, and, being the main camera-wielder, is an insufferably walking erection), and Jess (only one character trait: she has a sister).

    They’ve been given an assignment by a tiresomely would-be trendy teacher, who dispenses with anything as archaic as a classroom (I know there’ve been a lot of education cuts but he’s handing out assignments in corridors). They have to make a documentary. Included in the brief is the requirement to make DVD extras (video diaries etc) hence the students filming everything. Even before they were given the assignment. Hey-ho, there are bigger plot-holes to come.

    Our trio decide to make a film about cyberbullying, but after five minutes of comic bad-documentary-filming and a trip to the pub, they get bored. Needing an angle, they look at the recent case of a missing student (i.e. the unfortunate victim from the start of the film).

    Credibility is soon snapped: Fred, Velma and Daphne rapidly move from doing a school project to carrying out a full-scale investigation into a wave of recent cyberbullying-related disappearances. Supposedly grieving parents, wary of hopeless police and gossip-hungry journalists, are only too happy to chat with these crazy kids and offer them unlimited, unsupervised access to their daughters’ bedrooms. Their investigation takes them to a scraggly-looking bloke with an even-scragglier-looking beard, and then to the obligatory old disused army barracks. Foolishly, the Scooby crew decide to pop into the barracks for a quick gander. This turns out to be both a bad idea, and the nearest thing the film has to a highlight. The trio have happened upon the bad guy’s lair and discovered the eponymous chamber (which has nothing to do with editing suites – or does it?). This sequence, where they’re running about through a load of tunnels, occasionally bumping into the masked maniac, is (I grudgingly admit) pretty effective but was done much better in the criminally under-rated THE BORDERLANDS.

    Unfortunately the film then pulls back and our heroes drone on a bit about how they’re out of their depth and want to go home. But circumstances dictate they have to pop back into the barracks for a finale, an underwhelming rehash of what happened five minutes earlier, but with slightly more gore. The film ends with an irritatingly good reveal. Now, let’s be clear, the identity of the killer is obvious from the moment he suggests our heroes investigate a missing teenager. But the whole tenor of the film is such that you’re expecting a removal of the mask and an ‘I would’ve gotten away with it too if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids’ confession. The film finally (just about) pulls the rug out by not doing that, and indeed, it doesn’t quite spell it out … actually it does, literally, it’s spelt out in words, but more inattentive viewers might miss the revelation.

    There are plenty of bad things in the film, like the forty-five minute central section as the Scooby crew put their project together, filming everything they see, particularly when pervert Raz is wielding the camera and filming every passing female bottom. Once in the Army Barracks of Death, our heroes finally meet the student-slaughtering nemesis. On being asks what he wants he points at Charlie. I guess in the script (and judging by her reaction) this is meant to be a sinister finger-of-doom moment, a skeletal digit beckoning the girl toward her extinction. Alas, the actor merely musters a shrugging ‘whatever, you’ll do’ gesture. The other big problem with our masked maniac (aside from the obviousness of his identity) is how he manages to put in an appearance in somebody’s home halfway through. And, indeed, why.

    There are some strengths. There are a couple of good jumps. The actors are more than adequate (and I like that their characters’ general uselessness doesn’t give way to any hidden reserves of strength when their backs are against the wall – they really are as rubbish as any of us would be when running around dark tunnels of torment). And the overall conceit of the film which I shall not reveal is quite a good idea, and at least makes the found-footage elements integral in a slightly more interesting way than usual (though credibility-wise it opens a fairly incriminating can of worms).

    If you really have to watch a found-footage-exercise-in-semi-torture-porn-type film then the main benefit here is that it’s quite short, has a not-too terrible premise and avoids overtly dwelling on blood and guts (possibly not a selling point). Unfortunately it lacks credibility, pace and tension (apart from in the penultimate finale). There’s a good film here possibly, which maybe suggests the director’s new film MEDIA STUDIES, which seems to have the same plot and same actors, may be a more interesting elaboration of the material. Or maybe they’ve just re-released the film?

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