Side Sho (DVD)

 Side Sho DVD Review (click for larger image)Reviewed by Kryten Syxx

Starring John David Hart, Toni Robider, Dana Poulson, Hunter Ballard and Gene Witham

Directed by Michael D’Anna

Distributed by Lionsgate Home Entertainment

Let me know if you’ve heard this one before: An innocent all American family (if you ignore the pot smoking lesbian daughter and her girlfriend tagging along) get stuck/lost in the backwoods area and become the victims of a long forgotten band of freaks. It’s the kind of story that can always lead to mindless fun at the very least … well, not always.

Michael D’Anna’s Side Sho had me hooked from the start with am amazing intro featuring slightly doctored images from side show and carnival freaks from years past. The music was great and it could quickly sucker in the most harden horror fan into believing this was going to be different from 90% of all the other indy flicks out there.

Then the story started…

Think of Side Sho as a mixture of House of a 1000 Corpses, Mother’s Day, the recent The Hills Have Eyes movies and any of the TCM flicks. That’s not exactly a bad mix until you realize Side Sho doesn’t bring any new, scary or interesting to the mix. While watching D’Anna’s film, there’s a good chance you’ll want to stop it and watch something else since it borrows so much from previous classics and not-so-classic pictures.

But all this could easily be solved with some fun or at least interesting characters, right? No luck here, brother. All the characters are cut from the same mold as the above mentioned genre entries. There’s the naive dad who just wants to see something new and exciting with his family; the adventurous son; the “teenage bitchy daughter (who looks nearly as old as the mother), her bitchy girlfriend (who’s hair looks like a really bad blonde wig) and the wife who faithfully follows her spouse’s plans even if they do appear totally mindless.

Even the freaks are less interesting than the bland bunch from the newer HHE remake. The make-up effects are good, but the creatures they’re attached to are nowhere near memorable. There were plenty of nasty bastards in this film, but not one can spring to mind, either in name or appearance. Where’s Michael Berryman when you need him?

There’s not really much else to say. A strong opening and some usually tried and true ideas just fell flat thanks to too many cliches, bad casting and bumpy acting. Side Sho, however, isn’t one of those movies you should skip given the chance to see it. It may have an audience out there, but for some it may be a excessive exercise in ‘been there, done that.’

Special Features

  • Audio commentary by director Michael D’Anna and actor John David Hart
  • The Show that Never Ends: The Making-of Side Sho featurette
  • Bloopers
  • Trailer gallery

    2 1/2 out of 5

    Special Features:

    3 out of 5

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  • Mike Phalin

    Mike Phalin is a contributing writer, reality television star and engineer.

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    • Enraged_Otter

      If every opinion is like an asshole then Lionsgate has been shit on more than a German scat pornstar

    • Kryten Syxx

      direx9, have you seen most of the indie films Lionsgate picks up? Haunted Boat, Lifetime films and every Ulli Lommel movie.

      How is my review 15 minutes of fame? We don’t do this for fame.

    • MD2112

      Kryten…she was actually 22 at the time of filming. The mom was 33.

    • direx9

      It seems to me that if this movie sucked so bad, then LionsGate wouldn’t be interested in picking it up… Opinions are like assholes -everyone has one… This indie film is their 15 minutes of fame – just like your review is yours. No shame in that.

    • Kryten Syxx

      FC, let me know how old she was, because I had an impossible time believing she was under 21.

    • FilmCritic3000

      My sister’s best friend played the daughter in this. I’ll have to let her know you guys have reviewed this. I’ll eventually give it a watch whenever it hits DVD.