10 September 2011

Summer School 2006 - REVIEW

Being a horror film reviewer is pretty interesting. Some people do it as a job and some people do it as a hobby. In other words, some people get paid and I don't. Bummer? Yes. But who cares. I get to watch really cool films (sometimes) by really cool people (some of them) and I enjoy it (always). Some might say I'm overly critical but I like to think I'm just brutally honest. And why not? Why would you want someone to sugar coat it and tell you your film is good when it's clearly not? If you're opening yourself up for critique you should put on your big girl/boy pants and just take it. Good or bad.

Having spent the last three days watching crappy B grade horror films, to catch up on his website movie reviews, Charles (Simon Wallace) attempts to attend his first day of Summer School. All he wants to do is get his Physics class out of the way before starting senior year. Attending Summer School as well, by court order no less, are two of Charles' friends Dennis (Lance Hendrickson)... no, not THAT one... and Steve (Tony D. Czech). Also his crush Lindsey (Amy Cocchiarella) appears to finally be noticing him. If his teacher, Mrs. Wickham (Jennifer Prettyman), doesn't drive him insane what lurks in the school just might.

I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of talent in this film. Especially considering when you're working with a super low budget, one bad apple really can spoil the bunch. Wallace did a pretty stellar job. He was convincing and believable as a teenage horror reviewer who has seen one too many and ends up losing his grip on reality... or does he? Even the supporting cast was really good. Hendrickson and Czech banged it out as the goof ball buddies and while we're on the subject... Hendrickson's smile reminded me so much of Corey Haim in the 80's. Don't ask me why because I really couldn't tell ya. BUT, if it had been genetically possible for Corey Haim and Corey Feldman to have a love child, it would look like Hendrickson... ok, maybe that's not the best way to describe him but that really is a good thing. I thought he was a cutie! Cocchiarella went in and out of the different characters she was playing like a pro. I don't think you can really ask anything else from such a green cast.

Each 15 minute segment pays homage to a different genre of horror. You have cults, monsters, slashers, nazis, hillbillies and vampires and they hit it dead on every time. From the lighting to the mood, to the colors they used and the characters they developed, it's what horror really should be. Not only did they manage stay true to the look and feel of the different sub genres explored, but they successfully tied each segment together in a believable way all while keeping the viewer (ME) entertained. The effects were really well done. It's not one of those films where they just threw in a gut slice to get a shot of entrails falling out. They use it where it's needed and there's just enough to satisfy even a Gore Whore like myself.

In my opinion, what was done with this film was pretty phenomenal. There were six different segments of the film written and directed by a total of five different people... Ben Trandem, Hendrickson, Steven Rhoden, Troy McCall and Mike P. Nelson. You would think with so many minds working at once, things would get lost in translation and become just a mess of cluttered ideas but it never does. The writing and directing of each segment fall together so well that you'd never know they were done by different people. This kind of idea would never work in Shittywood, I mean Hollywood. I don't think it would ever be possible to get that many egos in one film and actually make it work. Not to mention the fact that the budget for this entire film was a meager $8,000.00. This is a film made BY horror fans, FOR horror fans and if you get the opportunity to watch it, do it.

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