Reviewed by Nomad
Starring Zack Ward, Dave Foley, Chris Coppola, Michael Benyaer, Jackie Tohn, Erick Avari
Written and Directed by Uwe Boll
We live in a world where Hollywood deems formula and repetition as essential keys for a successful box office. What’s worked before will surely work again! Ideas are bought, repackaged and slapped onto a poster with the go-to guys attached in the hopes you’ll remember the fantastic time you had watching The Hot Chick or The 40-Year Old Virgin or Talladega Nights. Hell, they’ll even sell this to you as an idea: “From the producers of” blah blah blah. So, you want me to go see a movie because some rich guy who put money into a hit also put money into a new one? With the average person’s movie dollars disappearing faster than corn chips in front of Joey Fatone, it seems the public isn’t willing to plunk down their cash on the chance that they “might” like what they are about to see. Now, a hero comes to save us from the mundane, neutered comedy we have been spoon fed as of late. That visionary’s name is … Uwe Boll. Oh yeah, you heard me. The man who some would argue inadvertently struck comedy gold with the now legendary House of the Dead turns out to be an evil comedy genius.
Postal, linked to the popular video game of the same name purely by title, is the tale of an everyman. To be more precise, it’s about an everyman who is trapped in a loveless relationship with a whale of a woman who appears to be plucked from the frames of the Adult Swim cartoon “Squidbillies”, can’t find work, is tortured daily by governmental bureaucracy, and is just about at his limit. So, does our hero take a cue from Falling Down and start blowing up the city? Nope. Postal has higher aspirations than that. The “Postal Dude” (Ward), his only name in the film, joins forces with his morally corrupt, cult leader Uncle Dave (Foley) to pull off a scheme that could only be taken seriously in 2007 … and maybe even work in real life. This is the tale of people with more balls than brains getting over on people too lazy to even notice what is happening all around them. It’s a complete spoof on the state of affairs in America as we hunt down international terrorists who most likely have taken up middle class living in Northridge, CA; and yet, the normal trappings and lame jokes you’d see in spoof fare like Epic Movie are thrown out the window in favor of well written and executed sight gags, hysterical dialogue, and moments so funny your jaw will drop in disbelief. Why will you be so shocked? Well, hell, it’s a Uwe Boll movie! The man despised by keyboard tappers the world over delivers what is probably the funniest movie I’ve seen in five years. Amazing.
Zack Ward, whom you’ll remember as the evil little red-haired kid out to kick Ralphie’s ass in A Christmas Story, takes on the role of Postal Dude, an average guy who tries to do the right thing and is continually smacked upside the head with the proverbial wet fish for his troubles. You know things are bad when even your fellow trailer park neighbors are ready to kick you when you’re down. Ward plays this role with just about every ounce of compassion and gusto he can muster, presenting a sympathetic guy who is forced to do a whole lot of bad things in the name of personal freedom and future happiness. The result is colossally funny as Dude becomes a character who can lift up a box of Wheaties and have you in stitches. Dave Foley is given the chance to be the man we were only given glimpses of in his drunken poker commentary of past years. Leading a hippie commune, Uncle Dave lives his days in a drug-fueled haze, ever flanked by followers fresh from Maxim magazine photo shoots. Do I even need to say Foley is fantastic in this film? Fans of Foley’s mix of manic charm and unpredictable hilarity will not be disappointed in the least. Also, just a warning. You’ll see more of Foley in Postal than you ever thought you wanted to … and I’m not talking about screen time.
Chris Spencer and Ralf Moeller play stereotypical police officers: on the take, cramming down doughnuts, and shooting wildly into crowded city streets. This unlikely comic duo provides a break from the primary storyline and will bust you up at every turn. Another divergence comes from our friends the Taliban, led by Larry (No Soup For You!) Thomas as Osama Bin Ladin, who rails with his thick Middle Eastern accent into a camera one moment and drops into a non-specific American drone the next. Osama is comfortable here in America and has Bush on speed dial. Fucking amazing. As if there weren’t enough to laugh at already. These three primary forces are destined to collide as the story climaxes, and as it should be, the ride getting there is like being on the Tilt-A-Whirl with the off switch shooting sparks. One last shining star in this film is Verne Troyer, who plays himself cursing, spitting, and being abused by just about every character in the film. His finale is probably the most unexpected moment I’ve ever seen in a movie. Trust me when I say you’ll be talking about this one for years!
So now you’re asking yourself, “Why do I want to read about a comedy on a horror news site?” Not to worry, li’l camper. Postal puts guns in the hands of every third person in the film, which means the two people to the left and right are about to die horribly. You’ll see Taliban suicide bombers splattered across storefronts, kids’ chests exploding open in hails of gunfire, babies in oncoming traffic, and the formerly unspoken terror of … monkeys in drag. Now let’s just hope that the MPAA doesn’t cut this film’s balls off.
While most blockbuster comedies bog you down with one or two big names, dominating screen time and generally reducing the rest of the cast to walking trees to bounce jokes off of, Postal presents an ensemble cast that make sense as parts of an insane, twisted little planet and later come together for moments that are never forced or contrived. There were times in this film when I couldn’t believe how creative the comedic writing was so I just remained there jaw agape, eyes glued to the screen, and laughing my ass off every five minutes. Would it shock you to know that not only did Uwe Boll direct this film, but he wrote it as well??!! Uwe Boll, comic genius. Get used to it. Postal is the bloody, unflinching, uproarious film most Troma movies wish they could be. Well acted, well written, and 100% fun. Ladies and gentlemen, start your blogs. Uwe Boll made the funniest movie I’ve seen all year. Believe it.
5 out of 5
American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review
Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo
Directed by Colin Bemis
Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.
The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.
As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!
Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.
Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.
In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.
On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.
In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.
Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.
Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)
We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.
In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.
Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!
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Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View
Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly
Directed by Marcel Sarmiento
Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as
17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?
What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.
Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?
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