“Gut” (2012)

 

 

Written & Directed by: Elias

 

Principal Cast:

Jason Vail—Tom

Nicholas Wilder—Dan

Sarah Schoofs—Lily

Angie Bullaro—Sally

 

          A sublime, mesmerizing study of depravity and violence springing from, seemingly, ordinary circumstances, “Gut” is one of those rare indie films that deliver genuine chills.

 

          Longtime friends, and current co-workers, Tom and Dan, both horror film fans, stumble upon a starkly shot series of snuff films, that affect their polar opposite lives in very different ways, only to come to a frighteningly familiar conclusion. Family man Tom, obviously bored with the married life, careens from reactions of sickening titillation and self loathing, while loner/weirdo Dan veritably wallows in the torture porn stylings of the (unsolicited) series of films like an addict dope-sick for his next fix. We follow our protagonists as they spiral into a wide-awake nightmare of murder, paranoia, and emotionally wrenching drama.

 

          Masterfully shot murder setpieces bring to mind the best of Bava and Argento, in a film that, technically, has no business looking this good considering the budget. Lighting and sound are all spot on (although at times, the sound on my screener copy lagged, but this can be attributed to the copying process), and a very cool “style” of photography emerges in a, sometimes, claustrophobic film.

 

          The main cast of the film, all deliver top notch performances, particularly Jason Vail as the tormented Tom (also, kudos go out to Sarah Schoofs, who can act AND looks amazing naked!). The ensemble brings a studio film level of acting to this indie gem, which makes the film all the more attractive to audiences (and reviewers). The film’s pacing lags a bit in the third act, but really ramps up the dread and suspense for the climax, which will leave you absolutely shuddering with awe.

 

          Dark, emotional, unrelenting, and not much fun at all, “Gut” definitely delivers a visceral punch to the titular region. This is an extremely well done feature that brings a lot of violence, gore, nudity and amazing performances, without ever crossing over in gratuitousness (although, a little less man-ass would be nice). Writer/director Elias could teach a thing or two about solid, creepy, film-making to his bigger budgeted brethren!

 

8/10