Thursday, February 07, 2008

Short Film Review: The Pod

Jeremiah Kipp's well-received short film The Pod came across my desk the other day and I have to say, once I watched it, I immediately had to watch it again. The film has been making its way on the indie movie circuit and has been granted many good reviews and has even been selected as One of the 10 Best Unseen Films of 2006 by Film Threat, so needless to say, my interest was piqued.

My first reaction was, "This isn't a horror film." But once you let the film set in, you begin to realize the layers and the complexities that the film encompasses. It is only then that you realize, while it's not horror in the traditional sense, it is horror on an emotional level. The Pod stays with you long after the 19 minutes are up and it's one of those films that can instigate some good movie conversations.

As for the plot, the film follows the crumbling relationship of Caroline and Jonas. In an act of desperation to regain their connection, Jonas purchases a dose of the new relationship drug, the pod. The only thing is, you can't take the drug separately from your lover. If you do, look out. Needless to say, Jonas does.

The film is masterfully directed by Kipp, and he increases the tension with each passing minute. In addition, his actors do their jobs perfectly. Especially noteworthy was the performance of Mary Remington, who played the character Caroline with ruthless abandon. Another thing about the film that struck me as significant was that the film's soundtrack was absolutely perfect. At times hectic and crazy, it totally set the mood for the film without you even knowing it.

This is a short film that I can definitely see being expanded into a feature-length film at some time. I think that the premise is excellent to support it, and I would definitely welcome another dose of The Pod. I give it ****1/2 out of *****.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

DVD Review: Hack!

Pop question, hotshot. What do you get when you combine the former good girl next door from the Wonder Years, a former soap-opera heartthrob, Duke and Paulie from the Rocky movies, the former vampire queen from Buffy, Kane Hodder and William Forsythe? Well, you get one hell of a fun movie, that's what! The horror/comedy Hack! takes you back to the good old days of slasher films.

All throughout the movie, you are treated to honorable nods to horror's past. For instance, if you look closely, you'll notice the name of the boat that takes to the co-eds to the island is Orca. Plus, with character names like Bates, Argento and Q, you know that writer/director Mike Flynn appreciates that which he pokes fun.

The film starts out brilliantly with Kane Hodder cast in the unenviable position that his victims are normally in. From there, we tag along with a group of co-eds as they travel to a remote island, the guests of the filmmakers who live there, for a weekend of studying nature. One-by-one, the co-eds begin to fall in traditional and enjoyable fashion. In terms of plot, Hack! is anything but surprising, but what is truly surprising is that you won't even care, because yes, it is well made and quite funny. I give Hack! **** out of *****. C'mon, if you don't laugh when the girl in the cage yells to William Forsythe, "Free us, Willy!" then you don't know what's funny.