This is a mockumentary much like the most famous uses of the style – The Office, Arrested Development and so on – but applies it to the creation of a separate film. It takes us behind the scenes of a horror production (Total Hell) and shows all of the problems of filmmaking, financing and distribution in comedy form. Much of the story came from real life problems in production where writer-director Andy Wilton gained influence from; not letting it dampen his spirits. This film has taken years to get distributed – much like the dilemma faced by Jamie Gunn – and is now finally scheduled for release on the 22nd April on YouTube. Andy Wilton’s reason for this was so he wouldn’t have to contend with piracy because he had embraced its easy service.
Behind the Scenes of Total Hell is exactly what its title says. It follows director Jamie Gunn (Grey McCulloch) and producer Raul (Sam Smart) in the creation of Gunn’s horror ‘masterpiece’ with all of the financial problems and delusion of usual film productions. We first see him show up to a meeting to gain funds without a business plan and, worst of all, without the script. Plenty of problems follow the production as it loses its original script because Jamie hasn’t read it and wants to make unnecessary rewrites to include a werewolf. This is the final straw of the writer who had slaved over Totalitarian Hell which then makes Jamie proceed to film his take without actually writing anything. This unprofessionalism is felt throughout by the entire cast putting in sincere moments of utter annoyance.
The mockumentary style is popular in indie productions of its simple imitation but this feels less like a budget cut back and more realistic as a documentary. This helps make moments funnier because there’s a sense that they are genuine. Much of the shooting is, for the technology and modest £1000 budget, very good and interesting but the lack of quality is a shame. Some parts are too grainy and the camerawork is usually great but there’s an abundance of brightness with faces morphing to become flat. This is also prevalent in one of the final scenes when filmed at night and overly coloured; a few shots it looks nice but the lack of subtly in others ruins the composition. Animation is a tricky thing to pull off which they haven’t done. The animation scenes feel a bit weak, disjointed and out of place in a mockumentary.
Laughs are thankfully throughout thanks to some lovely work from the cast. Especially Grey McCulloch who seems able to spout great one-liners and improvise throughout. His arrogance should paint him as an anti-hero but there’s a charm to him that makes you want him to succeed. Success will most likely come from the romantic interest of aptly named Angel (Sarah Towndrow). This gives the film a nicer bit of depth and comedy thanks to jealousy and a one-liner at the wrap party that is utterly quotable. Not all moments are kicking with some lulling moments within the first act. Once they’re out of the way, the film mainly sails through on a comedic breeze stopping only for the hell inflicted on characters for some more dramatic and dark moments.
Realism is the film’s retainer, poking fun at production problems which need to be laughed off. Throwing in a lot of problems which are imaginable into one troubled production that entertains the audience to no end. Playing into the hands that the audience love schadenfreude moments. Funnily fulfilling thanks to imaginative editing but the lulls are there, plaguing and need refining even further. It’s funnier than most. Its simplicity is its beauty as well as its homage to the old B-film horrors that inspired it. Amusing moments lift it, witty remarks fill it, tweaking necessary but it’s worth a watch. Especially if you can relate to the problems of filmmaking.
And in something of a first we present the film for you to watch right now. Click below and check out http://www.btsoth.co.uk/ for more info.