Cut Throat (2002)
Starring Luciano Saber, Kate Norby, Cory Almeida, Raquel Baldwin Horton, Doug Cole, J. Robin Miller, Paityn James, Brad Lockerman
Directed by Keith Walley
Expectations: Zero after Speck.
On the general scale:
On the B-movie scale:
If it wasn’t for my dedication to finishing this completionist review series of the Full moon catalog, I would have never watched Cut Throat after seeing Keith Walley’s previous film, Speck. I consider myself open-minded when it comes to movies, but there are few films that left me with such distaste as Speck. Thankfully for my sanity, Cut Throat is a far superior film. I’m not saying that it’s good, or even that it’s worth watching, but at least I didn’t want to huddle in the corner of the shower after Cut Throat. This is also why I’ll probably forget this movie relatively quickly, while I think Speck will stick in my mind like a festering wound for a good while to come. It’s funny how that is.
Cut Throat is something of a slasher in the Scream style, but it owes a greater debt to Wes Craven’s New Nightmare. Like that film, Cut Throat is about a film production beset by tragedy and murder. The masked killer of the film-within-a-film is actually killing the actors and crew members, oh no! Our hero is the film’s new lead actress, Samantha (Kate Norby), who replaces the murdered previous star about an hour after her death. You’d think they’d at least stop production for the day, but I guess when you’re already out of money and the whole thing might be called off at any moment, you’ve gotta keep it rolling no matter what.
Where Cut Throat really stumbles is by presenting us with an entire movie of annoying, unlikeable characters. This, obviously, is nothing new to the horror genre, and many films succeed in spite of this. But Cut Throat offers nothing as a life preserver to latch onto; all you have is these grating characters yelling at each other in between boring, relatively bloodless murder sequences. Gore is not a necessary component if your film is up to snuff, but Cut Throat definitely needed something kind of attention getter like inventive gore or something similar. It’s the age-old tradition of low-budget slashers, for God’s sake!
What did get my attention was that this low-budget horror film from 2002 was shot on 35mm film! WHHAAA??? Not only that, but director Keith Walley really tries to infuse the film with style and quality camerawork. It’s a noble effort, too, and there’s a tracking shot around the film set that’s pretty impressive in its intricacy and its ability to weave in and out of various conversations. But like Speck, these flashes of style don’t really serve the story, so they just kind of make you go, “Cool shot,” and then you go back to being bored and indifferent about the whole thing. I love the ambition of it all, though, and Walley’s films do stand out from the other low-budget films of the time. I just wonder if choosing to shoot Cut Throat on video instead, and then spending the extra money on FX work would’ve been a more prudent production decision.
I didn’t much like Cut Throat, but I definitely respect the ambition of trying to make the film more than the standard shot-on-video, early 2000s, low-budget Scream clone. I’m sure Walley had to convince the money men to let him shoot it on film, and the fact that he was successful shows that his passion and dedication to film was probably a pretty powerful force. If only his films were able to properly harness this passion and channel it into something worth watching.
Next time I get around to a Full Moon movie I’ll be looking at Tim Kincaid’s 1988 film The Occultist, the only Tim Kincaid Full Moon movie I haven’t reviewed! See ya then!