Plot: After his latest film is panned by critics, and audiences alike- schlocky horror director Abel Whitman (David Hess), promptly goes berserk, and embarks on a killing spree. His reasoning is that he can harvest the organs, and blood from his victims, and use them to create realistic gore effects. He proves to be surprisingly adept at getting away with murder, until the suspicious sister (Sasha Grey) of one of his victims, manages to talk her way into becoming his new lead actress. Unbeknown-st to Abel, she also happens to be an undercover reporter, working with flamboyant private eye, Issac Beaumonde (Jesse Buck)- who's convinced Whitman is not what he seems.
Review: I really dug SMASH CUT. It's the perfect midnight movie, and seeing this with a full house at the Fantasia Film Fest was bliss. People absolutely ate it up, myself included. Funny enough, I actually wasn't all that keen to see it, as I've never seen a single Hershell Gordon Lewis film- upon who's work this film is based (Lewis even has a small role). Also- this is a Canadian film, and I must admit to being prejudiced against the films produced by my own country (although this, along with a bunch of other solid Canadian genre entries at the festival is really making reconsider this attitude).
Ottawa director Lee Demarbre, does a terrific job with SMASH CUT, making probably the first truly effective retro horror film I've in ages. Usually, when a filmmaker sets out to make a genuinely cheesy horror film, it comes off a little too cutesy-poo for my tastes, thus making it totally ineffective as horror. Demarbre doesn't fall into that trap. While he's definitely winking at the audience throughout- it's still a a horror film, and not a comedy when it comes down to it.
Key to the film's success, is the phenomenal star turn from David Hess- who hasn't been seen in a major role like this in far too long. Interestingly, he never channels some of his more infamous roles (like Krug in the original LAST HOUSE ON THE LEFT). He does a great job playing the eccentric Whitman, who I imagine, may have been based somewhat on Abel Ferrera.
Of course, the actor who got the most attention when this played at Fantasia was porn star Sasha Grey. While she`s not a solid here as she is in THE GIRLFRIEND EXPERIENCE (which shot AFTER this), she's nonetheless effective in the role, and definitely has presence- although this is Hess' show all the way.
I should also mention that, despite the low budget, the film has a great look, no doubt inspired by Gordon Lewis' films- and the funky sixties style musical score is top notch.
If you're lucky enough to have a midnight screening of SMASH CUT play in your town, I highly recommend checking it out, as it's a wildly fun flick that, in a festival full of wildly fun horror flicks, still managed to set itself apart.
Grade: 8.5 /10