I SPILL YOUR GUTS

I SPILL YOUR GUTS

A young woman engages in Muslim prayer at home and then starts to disrobe, changing into something more comfortable. She never finishes getting dressed though Ė a killer arrives at her door and beds a cleaver into her face to ensure of this.

On the TV, a news reporter informs us that this latest murder is just one of many that are troubling New Yorkers. People are being slaughtered in their own homes, their corpses being left with the word "patriotism" carved into the foreheads.

Meanwhile, soldier Dennis (writer-director James Balsamo) lies mute in a military hospital bed. We learn along the way that he was serving in Afghanistan with his pal Joe (Billy Walsh) when the pair of them came under attack from enemy fire. Dennis attempted to protect Joe when the latter tried to do a runner Ė and ended up with a bullet in his throat for his troubles.

However, when Joe visits Dennisí bedside to whisper to him "see you on the other side" before cantering off to accept a bravery award, having lied about the circumstances in which his mate was injured, Dennis is so enraged he soon awakens and rises to his feet.

Woe betide anyone who gets in Dennisí way: the hospital receptionist learns the hard way that you donít step in the way of a wronged squaddie hell-bent on revenge. So, too, does a doctor nearby, taking a pretty female patientís temperature in a most unorthodox fashion Ö

While Joe carries on obliviously lapping up the acclaim of his "heroism", getting laid by willing chicks and fawned over be family and colleagues, Dennis develops an ever-increasing bloodlust as he staggers infinitely closer to claiming vengeance against the lies of his former friend.

While commenting on the barbarism of war and casting aspersions against Americaís role in the Afghan crisis (including a cameo tirade from Tromaís Lloyd Kaufman), I SPILL YOUR GUTS also manages to find time to muse over concepts of patriotism, betrayal and false honour.

But all of this is mere surface dressing: the film is predominantly interested in being a high-speed assault of nudity and violence. The revenge story is decent because itís kept simple and straight-forward, the nods towards social commentary may be at times clumsy but donít go by unappreciated; but the filmís truth lies in its regular servings of naked female flesh (including some very attractive young participants) and crude gore. Oh, and the uneven tone which throws in humour every now and again, effectively contradicting the bits weíre presumably supposed to be taking more seriously.

Balsamo gets a credit for the FX work, and itís very much of the old-school variety in the gore stakes. A lot of it is rather primitive, as are the more digital effects (mainly in the editing department), clearly highlighting the filmís shoestring budget of approximately $60,000.00. But, in a strange way, the filmís rudimentary style and so-so performances work in its favour. This is a sex íní gore film, after all: too much veneer would ruin its sordid feel.

My main criticism is the editing style. Iím not against non-linear storytelling, or the flashy media-led snippets weíve been seeing a lot of in indie cinema ever since ROBOCOP popularised it, but Balsamo is perhaps too enthusiastic for his own good here. The end result is a 90-minute film that moves so briskly, so episodically, that it eventually becomes wearing. It feels like an elongated music promo video.

Some good camerawork and decent lighting work a treat. And, while itís not my cup of tea, it must be said that Balsamoís managed to pool together an impressive selection of bands to contribute towards the filmís soundtrack: Cannibal Corpse, Ghoul, The Meatmen, Suffocation Ö thatís just a sample of the 30+ bands included.

We also get a supporting cast of some note. Alongside Kaufman, look out for Lynn Lowry, BLOODSUCKING FREAKS director Joel M Reed, Andrew WK, Oderus from GWAR and more, all doing their thing.

Acid Bath Productionsí DVD is region free and contains a decent 16x9 transfer of the uncut film. Colours do fluctuate between being bold and washed out, and some darker scenes suffer from blocking. But this is a mega low-budget affair, shot on digital, and I donít realistically see anyone putting the time into scrubbing it up any better.

English 2.0 audio is decidedly lo-fi. Still, at least thereís little in the way of noise or distortion when you inevitably need to turn it up.

The disc opens to a static main menu page. From there, static sub-menus include a scene-selection page allowing access to the film via 10 chapters.

4 minutes of deleted scenes get the bonus features rolling, presented here in window-boxed 1.33:1 and looking a little rougher than the main feature. Theyíre here for completists and the curious I suppose, as they donít add anything to the overall experience.

A selection of bloopers is also window-boxed but proves to be quite entertaining over the course of their 4 minutes.

A 3-minute music video for Ghoulís "Destructor" looks like a bargain basement cross between an episode of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers" and a live gig by The Mentors. The songís a half-decent punk metal number and I confess to enjoying this, as crappy as I know it gleefully is.

A 92-second trailer for Balsamoís HACK JOB follows. It looks like itíll also be blessed with an interesting soundtrack, if nothing else.

The main featureís trailer also turns up, of course.

Finally we get an interview with horror artist Jeff Zornow (he did the impressive poster art, as seen above, as well as appearing in the film). This lasts for just under 7 minutes and is pretty interesting, covering stuff that ranges from his inspirations to his early career illustrating album covers for death metal bands.

I SPILL YOUR GUTS is an odd proposition. Itís very cheaply made and looks it, but has a fair amount of (crude) gore and plenty of hot fillies getting naked throughout. The soundtrack wonít be to all tastes but Iím impressed by the fact Balsamo got so many bands involved. The tone careers between social commentary and comedy clumsily, undermining any attempts at psychological horror which are hinted at near the beginning. But, overall, there is a charm to I SPILL YOUR GUTS that held my attention and has me thinking I could sit through it again some time soon.

I look forward to Balsamoís forthcoming BLOODY CHRISTMAS with interest.

Review by Stuart Willis


 
Released by Libra Verde
Region 1 - NTSC
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review
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