Trimark Pictures presents
"There is a force at work here. It is not human and it is unspeakably evil."- Martha (Phyllis Burford)
Stars: Molly Ringwald, Jessica Napier, Simon Bossell, Sarah Kants
Other Stars: Kylie Minogue, Geoff Revell, Phyllis Burford
Director: Kimble Randall
Manufacturer: Advanced Media Post
MPAA Rating: R for strong violence and gore, language and brief nudity.
Run Time: 01h:22m:31s
Release Date: 2001-05-08
DVD ReviewThe slasher film had a resurgence of late, courtesy of Scream and its progeny. The self-reflexive model of that film has more than worn out its welcome, however, and it's time to return to basics. From Australia comes a fun and gory riff on the classic slasher film, with a nice touch of supernatural as well.
In 1985, during the making of Hot Blooded, a slasher film about a Michael Myers-like Scarman character in a white mask, the actor playing the serial killer is mocked by the director in front of the cast and crew, so he assumes character fully and butchers her in her quarters. Actress Vanessa Turnbill (Molly Ringwald) is next confronted by him, and she manages to kill him. A few years later, when an attempt is made to finish the film, the producer is found in the screening room with his throat slashed. In the present day, a group of film students, led by Raffy (Jessica Napier) and Hester (Sarah Kants) decide to take Hot Blooded on as a project. Luring Vanessa, who has fallen on hard times, back to Australia, they set about completing the 'cursed' picture, but soon the bodies start piling up like cordwood as the Scarman strikes again.
Cut is certainly derivative, making no bones about its debt to Halloween and the A Nightmare on Elm Street series. The Scarman costume and makeup are an obvious homage to the two, as is the backstory of Scarman. But where the Nightmare series got to be just a series of one-liners from Freddy, here the humor comes from the characters who are the victims. Especially notable is Ringwald as the pompous and self-centered star; her lack of sincerity and clear desire to be ellsewhere is quite amusing and enjoyable. The film students themselves are suitably enthusiastic and not quite prepared for what they're undertaking, even if there weren't a supernatural serial killer stalking the set.
The gore effects are convincing, and there is some fun CGI work at the climax that is reminiscent of The Evil Dead. The brief animated title sequence is charming (though gory) as well. There's not a lot of new ground broken here, but Cut does manage to be a lot more fun to watch than most of its inspirational works.
Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B+
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Although not so noted on the package, the picture is anamorphic widescreen. At first, the picture appeared disappointing, until one realizes that it's a flashback, and also full of excessive softness in order to get Ringwald back to her Sixteen Candles form. After that, the video transfer is quite nice indeed, with excellent color and deep, deep blacks. The image is a trifle soft, but there is no edge enhancement here so I'm quite pleased with the transfer overall.
Image Transfer Grade: A-
Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Surround audio is quite aggressive, with plenty of bass and excellent range. No noise or hiss is heard. Considering this appears to be a low-budget work, the audio as well as the video is terrific. I was quite surprised, considering the bit rate on the audio is a scant 192 kBps.
Audio Transfer Grade: A
Disc ExtrasStatic menu
Scene Access with 24 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English, French, Spanish with remote access
Extras Review: Chaptering is quite ample, and the subtitles come in three flavors (though the obscenities are discreetly left untranscribed in the English version). Beyond that, nothing. This would have been a fun film to have some behind-the-scenes material, so I do regret its barebones nature.
Extras Grade: D
Final CommentsA fun and entertaining riff on the classic slasher films of the late 1970s and 1980s, with an excellent transfer, albeit no extras to be seen.
Mark Zimmer 2001-05-01