Sunday, November 15, 2009

Motel Hell Lite

Gnaw 2008
Director: Gregory Mandry
Writers: Michael Bell and Max Waller
Starring Hiram Bleetman, Carrie Cohen, Nigel Croft-Adams, Sara Dylan, Gary Faulkner, Rachel Mitchem, Oliver Squires, Julia Vandoorne and Jennifer Wren

This was yet another addition to the overflowing genre of backwoods cannibal horror genre. Thankfully it was entertaining but it really added nothing new to the genre. It cribs a lot from films like Motel Hell, The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Hills Have Eyes. If you are fans of those films this will add nothing new and the film does not explore any new ground and I also think it is way too short to really touch upon the central themes of films of that caliber. It has some brutal deaths and the blood flies very freely in the film and for a gore hound like myself that is the main pleasure I can extract from this film. As the characters are not very fleshed out and the main killer reminds me too much of Farmer Vincent from Motel Hell to be coincidental. Though the film is done very well, so I hope to see the writers and director touch upon something that has not been harvested upon so much as this sub genre of horror films.
The plot basics are this, six young friends trek out into the British countryside for some vacation time. They head to a isolated farmhouse that has scrumptious food set out for its visitors. It seems to be an idyllic vacation getaway. They are served by the seemingly kindly Mrs. Obadahia (Cohen), but not all as it seems. It seems one of the girls Lorrie (Dylan) has a secret admirer and as she delves into who that his, her friend Jill (Mitchem) goes on the hunt for her missing boyfriend. This ends badly for Jill as it seems that they are in the midst of gourmet cannibals who use humans as meat for their cooking and their business. Soon, all Lorrie's friends are dispatched and she is now fighting for her life, but they want more from her than just food. It seems they need new breeding stock, the question is will Lorrie prevail or be dragged down to do their bidding?
This was a decent film. Mandry's direction is very good, he sets up the tension in the kill scenes very well. I think his pacing could have been better though, as the movie moves way too fast. The script serves it's purpose, it moves the story ahead but at the detriment to it's characters. I would have enjoyed it much better if they had dug deeper in fleshing out some of the characters. Most of them were just the usual stereotypes you see in a horror film. The cast does a decent enough job with what they have to work with. Cohen is great as the matronly Mrs' Obadahia and she really cranks it up a notch when she shows her malevolent side. Bleetman as the killer was great too, he did a great job of conveying everything he needed too without speaking. The rest of the cast services the film well, but that's about it. The SFX is top notch in this film, very bloody and atrocious. Especially the scene where the one nude girl gets gutted and she watches in abject horror as her organs are pulled out. For the most part this is not a great film, and most things that are done in it has been done better in superior films. But the gore moves it up a notch and that is the main reason I liked it.
This one gets 3 out of 5

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