Directed by Trent Haaga
Distributed by Bloody Disgusting Selects
It used to seem like the horror-comedy genre was nearly impossible to perfect. Aside from a few rare standouts like House, Evil Dead 2 and Return of the Living Dead, no one seemed to be able to deftly blend the two genres. Then something happened. I don't know if the stars aligned or if there was a hole in the Vortex Nebula, but somewhere along the line filmmakers started nailing horror-comedies like never before. And now we have a great new one to put alongside popular newer releases like Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland and Tucker & Dale vs. Evil. Gorehounds, I give you Chop.
Brought to us by the good people at Bloody Disgusting Selects, Chop is the story of Lance Reed (played absolutely brilliantly by Will Keenan). He's a recovered drug addict who now has his life in order. He's kicked the habit, has a beautiful wife (Mukherjee), and seems to have life by the balls. That is, until his car breaks down and he accepts a ride from a mysterious stranger (Muskatell). Sadly for Lance, things kinda go batshit crazy after that, and he finds himself in one insane situation after another.
Just to break it down without giving too much away: Lance had somehow in the past offended the driver of the car picking him up so immensely that the driver has devised a malicious plan to get back at the now clean and sober Lance. The plan involves damage to Lance's wife, his brother and then his own body. This mysterious stranger is not fucking around.
As we travel through the film, the stranger continues to randomly cut parts off of Lance's body as he sleeps (in a drug-induced state provided by the stranger). First a finger, then a bunch of fingers, etc. All the stranger wants is a genuine apology for Lance's offense. Unfortunately for him (but cool for us viewers!), Lance can't remember the stranger at all, resulting in more and more body parts being cut off our hero.
As can be said of most horror-comedies, Chop is primarily a comedy film. As usual, it's only the gore involved with the picture that drives it into the "horror" category. That being said, believe me, a film entitled Chop had better be heavy on the bloodletting. And fear not; it is. Oh baby, it is!
But it's not the gore or the horrific aspects of Chop that make the film so entertaining. Not nearly. Absolutely the F/X are great and the team should be very, very proud of themselves. But what makes Chop shine are the comedic performances. And there are several outstanding ones in this movie.
First and foremost, Chop is single-handedly driven by the amazing work of Will Keenan. This veteran of Troma films was masterful in Chop. As the mysterious stranger digs deeper and deeper into his life and takes more and more from him, Keenan's portrayal of Lance becomes more and more precious. Here's a guy faced with a stranger trying to torture him while the police circle, suspecting him of murders committed by the same guy who's harassing him. But the stranger has warned Lance... if you think it's bad now, alert the police and see how bad it gets!
Chop is an incredibly entertaining film. No, it's not going to scare the pants off of you, not in the least. But you might laugh your ass right off (and then who needs pants anyway!) Keenan and Muskatell (who can simply be described as a poor man's Colin Quinn) are amazing in their roles and play off each other brilliantly. Aside from our leads, comedy comes at us from several different roles in Chop. Not satisfied with exacting his own revenge on Lance, the stranger digs into his past and finds others that Lance has wronged and invites them to the party. The end result is one part Hostel and one part Ace Ventura.
Any film that contains the line "…his favorite episode of 'Diff'rent Strokes' was when Arnold and Dudley almost got fingered by the guy in the bicycle shop…" automatically scores high with me. But Chop is graced with brilliant comedic performances by Keenan and Muskatell which completely raise the bar. The two are locked in a battle of wills, and we as an audience are left to guess who is being honest and who will soon be dead.
In terms of special features, this is the only place where the package drops the ball. There are four minutes of outtakes and a couple of deleted/extended scenes. This is sad given the overall quality of the movie itself.
Chop is so wonderfully unique. It's the type of film you don't often see, and when you do see it, it rarely succeeds. Chop is the rare exception to that rule. Keenan is awesome. Muskatell is awesome. Chop is just fun. It's an hour and a half of blood-letting, dismemberment and torture that you can sit back and giggle about. Keep an eye out for Jeff Sisson, who plays Cousin Jeff the Freak (looking like Rob Halford and ZZ Top had a love child), and horror legend Camille Keaton in a supporting role. Chop is well worth it, folks. One thing that is sometimes hard to come by in this horror genre we love is individuality, and Chop is as unique as they come!
4 out of 5
1 out of 5