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Splatter (2009)

'Splatter' is an internet miniseries that ran for multiple short episodes before being complied into one singular 29 minute short film. Originally intended to be an audience interaction show airing weekly on Netflix, the idea behind it was that after the pilot episode the audience would vote each week on who would die next and filming would continue after the votes were verified. This caused a multitude of problems for the production team and filming schedules, meaning all episodes were filmed back to back and edited into an order that followed the correct results of the vote. I was initially shocked to learn that this was directed by Joe Dante. It was only after further investigation that I learned he has had a rather questionable career in Hollywood. Dante's biggest claim to fame being 'Gremlins' in 1984 and 'Gremlins 2: The New Batch' in 1990, with the exception of a couple of rather disappointing segments in a few horror anthologies he has directed, my knowledge of his filmography is very limited. It's fair to say that after watching 'Splatter' I can understand why Dante never really had the career that Gremlins should have paved the way for. I have to say that the acting here is some of the most unconvincing I have witnessed, to the point where I began to imagine that it would surely take more effort to provide such an unnatural performance than to deliver something mildly convincing. Mark Alan who plays Mortis is the biggest culprit for over acting. His extravagant persona feels like he is ripped straight from a dreadful Broadway production. Horror royalty, Tony Todd and Corey Feldman, take quite prominent roles in this short production and both are more than capable enough actors, most of the time. They both do a competent enough job here, but it's clear that they are here just to get paid. The biggest problem that I found with the casting of both Feldman and Todd is that having them share screen time with the rest if the cast only highlights how dreadfully uncomfortable it is to watch everyone else around them. The lighting is just as unnatural as the characters interactions. With every room lit with different colours ranging from red, greens and blues, it really makes it noticeable that this is all filmed on a very poorly constructed set. If ever there was a horror movie filmed in such a way that looked like it was about to turn into a hard-core pornography at any moment, then this is it. Brimming scene to scene with such low budget cinematography and set design, I often questioned whether this was a self funded project by either Dante himself, or some of the starring cast members. Thankfully this is just a short 29 minute experience. As someone who can usually take a lot of enjoyment from, and appreciate such low budget productions as this, I just think having the likes of Todd and Feldman on display just makes everything else feel so out of place. There are definitely moments to enjoy - the score and soundtrack being probably the most noteworthy. Given its short run time it's worthy of a watch, just for Feldman's usual off-the-wall behaviour. But, overall 'Splatter' is unlikely something I will ever revisit again.


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