Sunday, 9 February 2014

Briefly - Make-Out with Violence

Everyone misses Wendy Hearst, the character in Make-Out With Violence, a 2008 (not exactly comedy, nor horror, nor art house) first feature indie release made by a pair of filmmakers who credit themselves as the Deagol Brothers. Wendy has disappeared from her affluent suburban community and, inevitably, family and friends arrive at the conclusion she has perished. A memorial service is held but shortly afterwards the three Darling Brothers (that would be twins Patrick and Carol, newly graduated from high school, and the younger one named Beetle) come across a zombified version of their beloved friend in the woods. Taking advantage of the departure of a peer and his now vacant property, the bros use his house to hide this sort-of dead girl, encouraging her to eat chocolate cake... and live rats. Romantic angles emerge as Carol would like to get closer to Wendy's old friend Addy, while Patrick would just like to develop some sort of intimacy with the living-dead babe he has lying in the bathtub.

Imagine a couple of student movie-makers who have watched nothing but Ingmar Bergman films all their lives and are then approached by the CW TV Network to come up with a pilot for a zombie romance series to follow Supernatural on Tuesday nights. Yes, agreed...I also don't think that would be a good idea. But the resulting product would have looked and felt much like most of Make-Out with Violence.

I suppose one has to admire the filmmakers for making as smooth looking a production as this is on what must have been a limited budget. Still, flat dialogue, bland performances and an overall self-important pretentiousness do in the end product. Messages in the film?..oh, there seem to be several. Apparently one is that suburban living is rather boring ("Revelation" No.1!). That youth have issues with acceptance, longing and identity (Really?? "Revelation" No.2! Hey, now we're on a roll). That love is often a one-way street, not to be reciprocated...

Enough! - skip the eye-opening "revelations", please, please, please!

The bottom line becomes...who cares about any of this? Indie productions should hold a special place for injecting fresh air into the stale cinematic landscape, not for having produced some "it looks good enough" type of efforts. Someone once said there is nothing more irritating than a dumb film that thinks it's smart. Perhaps a runner-up would be a simpleton, unimaginative effort that thinks it's arty...while pretending to be many other things as well. There are really few good reasons to watch Make-Out with Violence, let alone few good reasons for it having been made in the first place.

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