A horror director is convicted of murder during the filming of his latest movie. Intensive behind-the-scene footage of the experience was found later and cut together to document the events and to relive the horror.
Found footage horror flicks are a dime a dozen these days thanks to shite like PARANORMAL ACTIVITY and CLOVERFIELD, so seeing the same angle used in yet another horror movie wasn’t new or refreshing, just another notch in the found footage belt of cinema. But OUTTAKE REEL approaches the subgenre slightly
different, taking the behind-the-scenes footage from the making of a movie, as seen on every DVD featurette for every movie released in the last decade, and using the footage to tell the story of murder and mayhem. Plus it blurs the line between movie magic and reality and that’s always a fun area to explore.
Obviously a low budget movie, OUTTAKE REEL shows what happens when a director sets off to make the next big thing in horror and all the pitfalls that come in the way for him to make that happen. Call him a victim of circumstance or just a misunderstood artist, the “killer” of the movie isn’t painted like a villain but more like… a dude that a bunch of unfortunate shite happens to. And maybe because of that angle OUTTAKE REEL works on more than just a torture porn level, which at times, it very much is. I guess the best way to describe the flick is a cross between something like THE POUGHKEEPSIE TAPES meets PROJECT GREENLIGHT (the season FEAST was being made).
But since it's low budget and all, the film doesn’t feel as polished or as professional as it could have been. Particularly some of the acting is off and the delivery of lines feels simply like the delivery of lines and not natural, fluid dialog, but that’s to be expected in a flick like this. Also, the cameraman’s ongoing narration as he’s talking and interviewing everyone on set and whatnot felt forced and unnatural and honestly, got really effin’ annoying after awhile. Maybe it’s just me but I’m of the belief that if you don’t have anything to say… don’t say it. Stop blabbering already and get on with the show.
The highlights of OUTTAKE REEL include awesome cameos by Troma’s Lloyd Kaufman, who probably gives the film its best performance by far, acting like a real actor in a real movie and not like a student film with a student cast (which it felt like most the time), as well as a cameo by fanboy favorite Tiffany Shepis, who also does a solid, if brief, job. You also get to see Ava Santana’s boobies… unfortunately, it’s during a torture sequence so it’s not the kind of nudity that’s fun to watch, but hey… boobies are boobies, right? Otherwise, it was mostly your run of the mill found footage flick without the jump scares or scares of any kind. That said, the story was interesting and it actually offered a solid twist that I didn’t see coming, and for that to happen in a movie like this deserves some serious props.
The entire flick looks, sounds, and feels like it was shot on a camcorder… which it was. And while that wouldn’t bide well by me on most flicks, because this is found footage and that footage was all shot on a camcorder, the cheapy low budget feel actually worked well as a storytelling device. If it looked better than it did, the whole thing wouldn’t feel ‘real’.
: The disc offers a number of behind-the-scene footage, including Behind-the-Scenes of Outtake Reel
, a full-fledged documentary on the making of the film, which actually plays out a lot like the film does… without all the murder. In many ways this is quite entertaining and gives you a sense of the bond and the friendly banter of the crew—these guys were really into making this movie and it shows here; Time to Make the Toes
, featuring star Scott Fienblatt making a silicon toe used as a prop during the flick’s torture scene; Lloyd Kaufman Interviewed and Directed
, featuring Lloyd spouting off about the importance of independent film and why he’s in so many low-budget flicks; and An Interview with Tiffany Shepis
, a conversation with Tiffany about being in movies and being in this movie which is, ironically, longer than her entire amount of screen time in the finished film.
Deleted / Extended Scenes: As it would suggest, there are a number of deleted, extended, or alternative scenes, including Lloyd Kaufman Gets Crass, which is quite an entertaining little number cutting together all of the takes from Lloyd’s scene into one linear cut. Otherwise, the deleted/extended stuff offered the run of the mill type of stuff that ends up on the cutting room floor.
Trailer/Teaser Trailer: Get teased or get the full trailer experience.
As always, where the low budget and otherwise underwhelming film lacks in acting and production value it makes up for in the Special Feature department, offering much bang for your buck and giving you all you ever wanted to know about the making of OUTTAKE REEL and more. Those inspiring to become a filmmaker should watch and take notes on the process and all that goes in to making even the smallest of movies. As far as the film itself, the acting is spotty at best and the cameraman offering his useless commentary was annoying as all get out, but the story is mostly decent and the twist is actually pulled off quite well. Bottom line: it’s an OK flick that could have been a whole lot worse.