Genius Products presents
Bottom Feeder (Unrated) (2006)
"Nothing down here but us and the rats."- Vince Stoker (Tom Sizemore)
Stars: Tom Sizemore
Other Stars: Wendy Anderson, Martin Roach, Charles Fitzpatrick, Amber Cull, Philip Akin, Joe Dinicol, James Binkley, Simon Northwood, Tig Fong, Philip Akin
Director: Randy Daudlin
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (language, horror violence)
Run Time: 01h:25m:43s
Release Date: 2007-04-03
DVD ReviewIn the Bottom Feeder making-of included on this disc, writer/director Randy Daudlin talks of trying to create a mood similar to that of Tremors and Lake Placid, as in the kind of horror film that can blend a little humor with the featured creature. That should give you an idea of what goes on here, because Daudlin does indeed capture that same kind of texture, offering up his take on the guy-in-a-monster-suit genre, with a handful of characters trapped in some underground tunnels trying to either stay away from and/or kill a mutated former human who has become a flesh-eating killing machine.
The heroes of this one are a team of maintenance workers, led by Tom Sizemore, who find themselves battling not only the titular beast, but a couple of gun-toting henchpeople who work for a horribly disfigured millionaire played by Charles Fitzpatrick. It seems that a brilliant scientist (James Binkley) has developed an experimental formula that is supposed to regenerate cells or somesuch horror movie mumbo-jumbo, and Fitzpatrick's scarred nasty Deaver wants it all for himself. Only he wants the good doctor to be a guinea pig first, so the doc is locked up in an underground tunnel with a dose of his own medicine coursing through his veins, which naturally turns him into a hard to kill, knobby-fleshed mutant with an insatiable hunger. And that just happens to be the same tunnel system that Sizemore and his crew are in.
Daudlin—a makeup special effects artist—steps into the first time role of writer/director fairly effortlessly, and while this is hardly high-brow finesse horror, it is maggoty with the intended mix of gore and humor. The blood flows pretty freely throughout, with frequent decapitations and even a jaw removal, and as an old school man-in-a-monster-suit it is all kinds of dumb fun. The menace of a shuffling, oozy, mutated doctor may not seem terribly scary, and it actually isn't, but Daudlin is genre-smart enough to fill the mouths of his in-peril characters with enough funny dialogue to make the supporting players (Martin Roach and Amber Cull especially) seem like something more than the usual potential monster fodder. And Wendy Anderson gets to ratchet up the fun machismo swagger as the head henchperson, dishing out and receiving some brutal onscreen unpleasantries.
The downside here is that there just isn't all that much for the characters to do, aside from scurrying around in the maze of underground tunnels, bobbing and weaving their way past the ever hungry monster. It's a rather limited stage to work in, and if it weren't for the opportunity for the cast to lob out mouthfuls of smartass dialogue the whole thing would could have been a total loss. Thankfully Daudlin was largely successful in his attempt to slather on the proper amount of intended Tremors-ish tone, the kind where the monster almost becomes secondary to the interplay between characters. And for a horror film, that's sort of a wacky idea.
I may be a little weird, but I do derive a lot of pleasure from second-tier horror titles, and when one like Bottom Feeder can retain a level of enjoyment even with a fairly limited script, then I'm even happier. Randy Daudlin shows an understanding of how to create interesting characters and dialogue for the genre, and I'm putting him on my list of guys to watch, of guys who "get" the often forgotten fun part of bloody man-in-a-monster-suit horror.
Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: C+
|Aspect Ratio||1.85:1 - Widescreen|
|Original Aspect Ratio||yes|
Image Transfer Review: Genius has issued Bottom Feeder in a 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer. Overall it's pretty solid for a guy-in-a-monster-suit flick, with daylight sequences sporting very bright colors, balanced by warm, natural fleshtones. Some of the dark tunnel scenes don't quite have that same level of detail, but making out the action onscreen was never really an issue. The print itself is very clean, with no evidence of nicks or debris.
Image Transfer Grade: B-
Audio Transfer Review: Just one audio choice, and it's a surprisingly full-bodied Dolby Digital 5.1 surround mix. Voice and dialogue quality is clear, the guttural monster sounds have a pleasing low-end rumble and the rear channels get used for some nice effects during the tunnel sequences. A nice mix can do wonders to boost the low-budget title fun factor, and this one works.
Audio Transfer Grade: B
Disc ExtrasFull Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
4 Other Trailer(s) featuring The Mad, Dead Mary, UKM: Ultimate Killing Machine, Living Death
Extras Review: In addition a few horror trailers (a few of which feature the makeup work of director Randy Daudlin), the main extra is The Making Of Bottom Feeder (28m:01s). Presentation-wise it's your basic mix of clips, interviews and behind-the-scenes peeks, with the best parts being the effusive Daudlin talking about his hopes for the project. And by mentioning that he was going for a Tremors/Lake Placid vibe with this one just made me like Bottom Feeder all the more.
The disc is cut into 12 chapters.
Extras Grade: C+
Final CommentsThe story itself isn't really all that fascinating, yet somehow Bottom Feeder manages to rise above all that, wallowing in its cheap horror glory with a subtle smirk, full of likeable characters in mortal danger who spout funny dialogue and spend much of their time onscreen covered in blood.
Very fun stuff. Recommended.
Rich Rosell 2007-04-03