Review by Nathan Samdahl (B+)
A surprisingly engaging and well-crafted film, Baghead is a fresh addition to the relatively small pool of films that can be considered horror-comedies. Despite it being several months since I saw the movie, I can still remember it clearly, which alone speaks volumes about the film's quality.
From its description, Baghead could easily fall into the category of a typical horror-slasher film- a group of relatively young people going out to a cabin in the woods to have some fun before eventually being terrorized by a person who wears a bag on his head. However, in this case, the early-thirties couples are four struggling actors who are attempting to go away for a weekend to write a screenplay with four juicy parts, which will kick-start their careers. The problem arises when lack of motivation foils their screenwriting endeavor and the half-ass story they came up with begins to come true. The film's gritty camcorder visuals and the extremely down-to-earth characters make this one of the most relatable horror films in recent memory. The characters actually, for the most part, act in the sensible ways that you hope you would follow in similar circumstances. It also helps that the characters, particularly the two lead males, are hilarious, particularly before they encounter Baghead.
While the characters' toiling at the cabin is the heart of the movie, the film's opening sequence at a small theater/club proves to be one of the most hilarious and relatable sequences. Here both couples go see the performance of one of Matt's friends, Jett Garner, who is played by none other than Jett Garner. The performance ends up being some of the awfully pretentious drivel that people force themselves to enjoy in a vain attempt to be cultured. Thankfully, the directors created four characters that feel the same way the movie audience does about the performance piece, making the sequence an incredibly funny introduction to the characters, particularly when they tell Jett Garner how much they enjoyed the performance.
Baghead is a bit of a slap to the face of all the piss-poor horror films produced for a budget probably ten times that of this film, which really appeared to be shot over the course of a weekend. Unfortunately, this high quality film does not seem to have much at all in the way of a decent distribution deal. Understandably, it has no recognizable actors or directors nor does it have the expected glossy visuals, but that clearly was not the plan for this comedy with dramatic and horror elements. In fact, the story of Baghead seems to pretty closely mirror the production of the film, a story made for four relatively unknown and talented actors to have a breakout role. If you ever get a chance to see this film, more than likely on DVD, take the time to see it. Despite the lack of any marketing for the film, Baghead is one of the most entertaining movies so far this year and at a running time under an hour and a half, this is a great film to watch with an antsy group of friends.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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