Smash Cut Review
Written by: jay_wigger
Anyone seeing Smash Cut without knowing anything about it could be forgiven for thinking it's a bad film. But when viewed within its context as a tribute to the filmic ouevre of Herschell Gordon Lewis (Color me Blood Red, 2000 Maniacs), the king of grindhouse and exploitation cinema of the 60s and 70s, director Lee Demarbre's (Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, The Dead Sleep Easy) homage can't be seen as anything but good, bloody, campy fun. And there's nothing wrong with that.
Featuring a cast of grindhouse and/or B-movie legends like David Hess (the original Last House on the Left), Michael Berryman (the original The Hills Have Eyes), and Ray Sager (the original Wizard of Gore himself!), plus a H.G. Lewis appearance and a mainstream(!) film debut for adult film starlet Sasha Grey, Smash Cut tells the story of down-and-out movie director Able Whitman (Hess, looking like he's having the time of his life), who can't seem to find inspiration for his horror films. Until, that is, he realizes that using actual body parts as film props would heighten the realism in his movies. Enter local newsperson April Carson (Grey) and private investigator Isaac Beaumonde (Jesse Buck), who are trying to locate Carson's missing sister, Gigi. As the body count rises and Beaumonde gets closer to the truth, Smash Cut serves up cheap gore gags and inside jokes, thanks to Demarbre's able direction and a crackerjack script from his regular parrtner in crime Ian Driscoll.
While the film is a little too self-aware to be considered a true tribute in the vein of an actual HG Lewis movie, it is still a loving postcard that doesn't take itself too seriously. Of course, with the technology that's out there these days, it would be awfully hard to make a film like any of Lewis' so-bad-they're-good pics without including some kind of sense of humor about the whole thing. And Demarbre does a good job of capturing the spirit while still winking at those of us in the know. Smash Cut also features a killer score, reminiscent of many of Lewis' own films' musical cues.
The acting performances are decidedly over-the-top, as they should be in this kind of film. As for Sasha Grey's aspirations of mainstream success, let's just say that we hope she was directed to act uninterested, as a film of this ilk might require. We'll cut her some slack and reserve judgment until after we've seen her in Steven Soderbergh's The Girlfriend Experience. Smash Cut is no masterpiece of the cinematic arts, but it sure is a fun throwback to the grindhouse days of 42nd Street, and if you didn't catch that reference, then you probably wouldn't enjoy the film.
Originally reviewed at www.ioncinema.com