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FILTH TO ASHES, FLESH TO DUST
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Reviewed by: Ammon Gilbert

Directed by: Paul Morrell

Starring:
Meredith Laine
Linda Bella
Allison Ochmanek

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A group of recent high school graduates decide to go check out the lair of a famous and would-be-dead serial killer to take some pictures and beef up their college applications. Or just for one last hooray before they go their separate ways. Once there, they soon realize that the killer is still very much alive and still thirsty for death and torture.
Is it good movie?
The 2000s will be remembered as the decade of torture porn, with films like HOSTEL and SAW and a number of other imitations being all the rage… at least, for a few years. Then they ran out their welcome, but they continued to make them for awhile until very recently, as we’re nearing the first Halloween season without a SAW movie since 2003. Similarly, the ‘80s is remembered as the decade of slasher flicks, with HALLOWEEN, FRIDAY THE 13TH, and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM ST. being all the rage. The cool thing about slasher flicks is that they’ve never really gone out of style or interest—they keep going strong, though maybe not as celebrated as they once were. FILTH TO ASHES, FLESH TO DUST tries to take the best of both the torture / slasher genres in one movie, and save for its lack of budget or talent and a cool bad guy, they succeed (more or less).

FILTH TO ASHES, FLESH TO DUST is one of those flicks that deserve an A for Effort, as its obvious the filmmakers were attempting to make something solid, regardless of the miniscule budget and a cast of recent drama majors. There’s an attempt at creating a dreadful tone throughout, some cool lighting effects, and enough gore to sort of satisfy the horror hounds out there. Combining the sadisticness of torture porn with the stalking/killing M.O. of a slasher flick, the two genres are spliced relatively well… or rather, it was a solid attempt to create something awesome.

That said, the execution was far from awesome, with an end result that was just OK in terms of being entertaining or satisfying to fans of either genre. The biggest flaw has to be the killer in question (who goes by the name Filth to Ashes… WTF?), who is essentially a skinhead in a wife beater and camo pants. His reasons for killing is to rid the world of needless people (mush like Jigsaw in the SAW movies), but how he goes about it is like a degenerate Jason Voorhees. And while some of the kills were pretty damn cool and bloodier than expected, he’s such an uninteresting tool that you don’t really care. He’s not the type of bad guy you’re afraid of, nor is he the kind that you sort of root for (like Jason or Michael or Freddy or Jigsaw), he’s just a baldheaded a-hole in camo pants and a handlebar mustache. Booooring!

The other big flaw in the flick are the actors and the characters they’re portraying—first off, they all look like they’re 30 yet they’re supposed to be fresh out of high school. Make them fresh out of college and I’d buy it, but out of high school? No way. They’re also a bunch of rich jerkweeds who hate on minorities and pretty much just hate each other. There’s not a single likable character here and yet, we’re suppose to root for them? At least, I think we’re supposed to not want them to die. But since we don’t want the killer to win either cause he’s such a tool too, it comes to the point where the whole thing is just kind of pointless. Two characters also show up who survived being killed by the dude a few years earlier and want to take their revenge on the guy—these two are OK and are easily the most likable characters of the bunch, though not by much.

So beyond the lame killer and shithead victims, the flick does a decent job with creating a slasher/torture hybrid with some level of atmosphere. Cool lighting techniques and a decent musical score makes the flick more interesting to watch than some others out there, and then of course there’s the brutality of the gore and the kills that brings it to a slightly higher level than other student films. And that’s another thing to note: this is essentially a student film on a shoestring budget, and for a flick like this… it was better than expected. There’s definitely some promise in the filmmakers to go on to do bigger and better things.

Video / Audio
[Screener]
The Extras
[Screener]
Last Call
FILTH TO ASHES, FLESH TO DUST is a slasher / torture hybrid made on a shoestring budget with recent college graduates fresh out of drama class. Where it fails in characters and a killer that matters, it excels in atmosphere and the blood-soaked kills. While definitely not the greatest of its kind, it ended up being a lot better than expected.
ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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