CUT is a horror movie which tells the story of a group of five friends who return from a party to their cottage buried deep inside the Peak District. As the evening goes on, they realise that they’re not alone and that something is lurking outside in the woods, waiting to terrorise them.
Zach Galligan may not be a name that you’ll recognise straight away but he’s a man known very well amongst the HeyUGuys team as an 80’s legend as he’s best known for playing Billy in Gremlins 1&2. I’ve not seen him in anything since those two movies so to see him in this was a real blast from the past and to be honest, he hasn’t really changed! He opens the scene in the house with co-star (and producer), Dominic Burns with some rather amusing dialogue about how best they might be able to ‘perv’ on one of their rather attractive friends. This goes on for a while before they’re rumbled by Zach’s wife Natalie, played by Lauri Brewster. The camera then moves downstairs where we’re introduced to Andy (Simon Phillips) who is desperately trying to order a pizza in rather comedic fashion. As the night unfolds, rather strange things begin to happen and the danger level increases where the friends all start to realise they’re in serious danger and a chance of rescue is nowhere to be found.
The script must have been very hard to write for this movie, (also written by Alexander Williams) as you constantly need a reason for the camera to move from one place to another and to keep the audience locked in to the action and the story all the time. In the same style as the TV series 24, things all need to happen at the right time and in the right order so that the story flows rather than doing things just for the sake of it but the story is so carefully planned that it makes it very easy to follow and works very well.
The fact that 60 minutes of CUT is all one take has to be commended. If the camera had hit a wall, an actor forgets a line or a crew member speaks, ruins the entire shot and this must have taken hours upon hours of careful practice and very careful planning to achieve in its finished form. One character for example has three costume changes and all of these will have to have been done while the movie is filming in other rooms rather than having time for a change until her next take. You’ll have to watch the movie but seeing one of my childhood idols, Zach Galligan gagged and strapped semi-naked to a bed is something that I won’t forget in a hurry and getting ready for the camera to burst into the room must have been nerve-wracking!
It was quite strange not being able to cut to reactions from other cast members as you might in any normal movie that has been filmed with hundreds of different takes but as an audience member, you soon forget that you’re watching one long shot. It contrasts with a director like Tony Scott who might used 10 or 15 shots for the same number of seconds of footage where you have to ask yourself, why so many! In this case I guess it could be why so few but that’s sort of the point!
Simon Phillips, Dominic Burns and Zach Galligan do a good job at adding humour to the story with my favourite line coming from Simon even in the middle of the horror stating – ‘I wish people would leave my weapon of choice alone!!’ You can just imagine that line coming from Simon Pegg in Shaun of the Dead! The baddies turn up mid-way through the movie and the make-up they’ve chosen for them is excellent. If you’re scared of clowns, this movie could seriously freak you out!
The audio in the movie wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it would be with the music sometimes overpowering the speech but I guess that’s always going to be an issue when you’re doing an entire film in one take, not everything is going to be perfect. That said, I think as an idea, this was an excellent one and Williams has executed it brilliantly and I hope that it’s inspired him for more of the same in the future. I guess it’s just thinking up that one story that can achieve this all over again.
CUT is dark, clever and different. It doesn’t stick to the normal horror movie formula and it kept me entertained for the 70 minutes that it ran. If they were dishing out awards for a great idea, grit, perseverance or ingenuity, Alexander Williams’ film would definitely be on the list of nominations.
CUT is released on DVD this Monday, 8th March and you can purchase it here.