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Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Blockhead (2010)

Director: John Francis Conway III
Stars: Alan Wells, Cheree Sager, Donnie Faught, Bri Prooker, Whitney Ullom and Marlo Dell' Antonio
This film was an official selection at the 3rd Phoenix Fear Film Fest in Tempe in 2010. Here's an index to my reviews of 2010 films.
To highlight how gloriously hip and with it I am, Blockhead won for best short at the Phoenix Fear Film Festival in 2010 but I didn't much like it at all. In fact, I felt that, if anything, it was closer to the worst end than the best. That doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad film, as it was certainly up against good competition, but I don't think it was a particularly good one. It was capably enough done, the lighting was appropriate and there was some agreeable gore. There's a bookstore and a cute girl and having those things in a movie always helps in my book. Yet I didn't care for any of the characters and the story didn't seem to make a whole heck of a lot of sense. It ended up feeling more like an attempt to be cool than an attempt at anything coherent and my threshold for that is decreasing with every year that passes. Many of the crew behind Blockhead were also behind the twisted feature Sick Girl and I enjoyed that a great deal more than this one.

The first few minutes are the best, perhaps because we haven't got to know the characters yet. Dave is on an apparent date in a restaurant with Anna, an enthusiastic and flirtacious teacher. Dave is distracted but Anna pushes to go home with him anyway and that turns out to be a Bad Idea. Home is where Blockhead is, the monster of the piece, though that's a strange name for someone with a block for a foot. As Anna writhes in her bonds on a table, Blockhead stumbles out, stabs her with a trowel, pulls out some of her insides and stumbles off again. No, it doesn't seem to have a point but there are some well framed shots, some appropriately red lighting and the potential of an interesting monster with a leg like Hellboy's arm. Unfortunately the capable gore effects are countered by what seems to be a costume made out of a pair of shorts and some dried paint and this particular monster turns out to do very little indeed.

It goes downhill after the title sequence. We find ourselves stuck with a trio of moronic bimbos. Sam is cute, at least, and she's the one interested in Dave, who we now find runs a bookstore but picks up girls to feed to his elder brother. Books and death scenes in the same movie could never be a bad thing, but that's about it for the last three quarters of the twenty minute plus running time. There's a lot of talk to build characters we don't care about or set up the conflict that never really arrives or maybe just to validate the gore but little else. Mostly I wondered how the people who made Sick Girl, a edgy picture which revolved around the quirky and fascinating female title character, could also make something like this, where the women are stereotypically dumb victims. I wish they'd have added a narration to the opening sequence then skipped to the very end of the picture and missed out everything in between.

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