"Chopping Block"




Written & Directed By: Joshua Hull


          Opening with a blood streaked young lady stumbling down a suburban street to the strains of some truly elegant music is not the "normal" way to start a run-of-the-mill horror/comedy. But then, Joshua Hull ("Beverly Lane", "The Impersonators") is not exactly a "normal" guy and "Chopping Block" is far from run-of-the-mill.


          Office politics is a plot device Hull has visited before, to great effect, and "Chopping Block" is no exception. Telling the story of five co-workers, (Jas Sams, Bryan Wilson, Raymond Kester and Alex Raaen) who are unceremoniously dumped by their boss due to the laziness of their "leader" Donnie (Michael Malone), that band together to hatch a plan for an inspired kidnapping (shades of "Horrible Bosses 2", but executed in a much funnier way). The comedic interplay between the 5 core cast members is what makes "Chopping Block" a truly stand-out film. Malone, Sams, Kester, Raaen and particularly the incomparable Wilson all contribute to make each set piece an exercise in scene stealing without stepping all over each other--this cast's timing is perfect.


          We soon find out, Danielle (the beautiful Haley Jay Madison) the blood soaked girl from the beginning, is the subject of the bumbling kidnap attempt, however the reason for her sorry state is soon revealed, and "Chopping Block" takes a sinister, but still hilarious, turn as our "heroes" must fight for their lives against a (mostly) unseen evil.


          Hull never takes his script or direction too seriously, the audience is almost always in on the joke, even if the cast isn't, and that's why "Chopping Block" succeeds in being a goofy, laugh-out-loud romp. Aside from a few audio blips, the film is technically sound, and flows excellently, with a crisp transfer and bright picture and lighting throughout.


          A truly funny film that expertly toes the line between horror and comedy, "Chopping Block" is a brilliant example of low-budget cinema with a big budget mentality. A bunch of laughs, more than a few groans, a couple of buckets of blood, and some horror nerd in jokes, combine to make "Chopping Block" one of the most inspired indie films this year.



---Scream King Tom