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Golden Age (Short, 2007)

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Golden Age review!Starring Cullen Carr, Mindy Wester, Mia Frost, Kyle Holman, Nick Crawford

Directed by Cullen Carr


When it comes to Indie films having the lead actor, director, writer, and producer all listed as the same person is usually a harbinger of doom. As soon as you see that you can usually kiss any and all quality and entertainment value good-bye. Thankfull this rule is not the case with a short film I recently watched called “Golden Age”.

Cullen Carr practically comes across as a one-man-band in the credits of this 30 minute old-school horror film. He wore enough caps in this production that I’m surprised he didn’t need a chiropractor (of course his daring leap off a cliff may have done that for him). “Golden Age” echoes its creator’s versatility as it plays out in a seamless mosaic of grind house, film noir, and giallo cinemas. You wouldn’t know by looking at it that Carr and his movie making mob were filmmaking newbies when they worked on “Golden Age”.

The short film takes the audience into the life of Burton (Cullen Carr), starting with one seriously shitty day. It’s the kind of day that usually ends up being sung about with a country twang and a fiddle in the musical mix. After losing his job and finding his wife in bed with his best friend, Burton’s mild manner goes up in flames; literally! His meltdown is brilliant and damn well deserved! He then goes on an extended drinking binge that floats him through several painful months on an amber colored river of self pity.

Golden Age review!On one particularly bad night of self-destructive alcohol consumption, Burton ends up in multiple confrontations including those with a porcelain bowl, his cheating wife, local law enforcement, a fortuitous getaway driver, and a sadistic cult. Sounds like the kind of luck I’ve encountered on certain personal occasions that will remain untold. Unfortunately for Burton though, his fate is less than a pleasant one.

“Golden Age” is a sparkling stream in comparison to the all too often stagnant pool of independent horror films full of kitchen cupboard zombies and vampires. It falls back in time to borrow its essence from films like I Spit On Your Grave, Last House On The Left, and even Cannibal Holocaust. Yet this is done with enough skill and tact that you never get the impression of anything more than careful admiration rather than blatant larceny.

Carr and his filmmaking cohorts knew exactly what they wanted and made sure that they got just that. They had enough competence to know what to use and what to lose to tell the story they wanted to tell. They didn’t try to fill in a certain timeslot with unnecessary gibberish in order to gratify any outside entity; instead they took essential elements of film and edited them together proficiently into a well made cinematic piece that works on its own merit.

Golden Age review!I was stunned at how well put together the film ended up being. The direction is topnotch, the sound is first-rate for a low-budget indie film, the cast gleams with acting talent, and the writing is well thought out all the way down to the simplest exchange of dialouge. Nothing ever seems forced or misplaced so the story flows easily from one scene to the next even though the subject matter changes drastically from one moment to the next. Carr’s “Golden Age” doesn’t just climb high on the indie ladder; it adds a whole new rung.

Personally I can’t wait for these folks to make another film. It’s nice to find a group who not only are adept behind the camera but can also tell a compelling story without having it get lost in a milky puddle at the end of an extended cinematic masturbation session. I definitely could have watched more, but I’m glad they had the sense to use what they did and let it stand as it is. They did a great job!

“Golden Age” leaves a explicitly filthy taste in your mouth that satisfies the nastiest craving for depravity. I’ll let you know right now that this cinematic snack has left me hungry with anticipation for the next course on the Stotam Up menu. Cullen Carr had some big balls to make a film like this; you’d never even know that he kept them covered with a tube sock!

4 1/2 out of 5

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American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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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.

Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

  • Strawberry Flavored Plastic
3.5

Summary

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.

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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

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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!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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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

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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.

  • Film
2.0

Summary

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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