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HELLACIOUS ACRES: THE CASE OF JOHN...
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Reviewed by: Ammon Gilbert

Directed by: Pat Tremblay

Starring:
Jamie Abrams
Paula Davis
Navin Pratap

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
A dude in a motocross-type suite wakes up in a post-apocalyptic wasteland that used to be America. Without knowledge o f who he is and where he came from, he wonders the desolate landscape looking for answers while evading attacking energy aliens, hunting for food, and defending himself against cyborgs. Ohóand heís also on a military mission of sorts to kick-start a livable atmosphere (allegedly).
Is it good movie?
Post-apocalyptic movies are a genre all onto themselves. Part sci-fi, part horror, these types showcase a world like our own that has all-been destroyed by nuclear blast or disease, and generally features a few survivors struggling to make it. These flicks are so g-darn popular because they show what our lives could be like if we didnít have all the luxuries we have now, and they show a world thatís like oursóbut totally different. Flicks like THE BOOK OF ELI, THE ROAD, and even RESIDENT EVIL: EXTINCTION fall into this category, as do classics like MAD MAX and THE BOY AND HIS DOG. And then thereís HELLACIOUS ACRES: THE STORY OF JOHN GLASS, which plays like a poor-manís apocalyptic tale thatís filled with interesting visuals and practically no story to tie it all together.

HELLACIOUS ACRES works as a student film or an experimental film where lots of different filmmaking techniques are used asÖwell, an experiment. Visually, the filmmakers captured the desolate look and feel of what a post-apocalyptic America would be like, thanks to the part-scratchy film, party crappy-VHS quality to it. It revels in its crappiness, and itís that crappiness that actually works for the filmís favor, giving HELLACIOUS ACRES a unique style all to its own. Same goes for the cheesy special effects, as itís obvious they were made by folks still learning the craft with very little budget, but folks who have an assload of talent, if not a lot of money.

Combine the unique visuals and charming-if-crappy special effects with the booming Ď80s style soundtrack of heavy metal and synthesized video game scores, and you have yourself a film that, on a technical level, succeeds at what it attempted to accomplish. Itís a post-apocalyptic world, itís dirty and dingy and an all-around unpleasant place to be and HELLACIOUS ACRES puts you front and center in its dirty chaos.

All technical achievements aside, the film is one boring and pointless movie in terms of script and story, and in that aspect, HELLACIOUS ACRES fails miserably. Maybe itís the fact that the main character, John Glass, is wearing a helmet/mask the whole time, making it impossible to see his eyes or connect with him as a person that makes it so impossible to enjoy, or the maybe itís due to his meaningless meandering around empty fields and abandoned farm houses that makes HELLACIOUS ACRES an absolute chore to sit through. The story is hard to follow due to the almost inaudible narration by Glass, but by story I really mean, the whole point of him walking around was totally lost on me, other than to show us that the world is truly abandoned save for a few energy-aliens and cyborg-things in suits. There really is no point to the majority of whatís happening, and for a film that is over 100 minutes, thatís an atrocity against its audience.

So while I appreciated the technical aspects of the film, the rest of the film, the meat of the film, left me hollow, bored, and aggravated, as itís quite literally a waste of time. They should have cut out about 30 minutes and added a bit more personality to the story and the characters, and then maybe HELLACIOUS ACRES would have been worth sitting through. But as it isÖ itís not.

Video / Audio
Video: Presented in 2.35:1, the quality is a mix between scratchy film from the Ď70s to crappy video tape from the Ď80s, most of which looks crappyÖ and yet, itís perfect for the post-apocalyptic world of the future.

Audio: 2.0 Stereo never sounds all that awesome compared to the 5.1 potential, which is a shame as the rockiní soundtrack would have benefited from a better audio mix.

The Extras
A collection of six deleted / extended scenes are included for your viewing pleasure, including Additional Dialogue, Another Pod, Bass Freakout, Longer Pain, and Breakfast. If you want more after checking this beast out, well... here you have it!
Last Call
Fans of the post-apocalyptic genre may enjoy the film for its ability to create such a dire wasteland in both atmosphere and visual style, but all that is for nothing as it's dull, boring, and extremely painful to sit through.
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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