Hi 8 poster

A movie review by Robert Long II ©2015

Starring Vanessa Nocera, Alaine Huntington, Mike Malloy, Andrea Adams, Ashley Andel, Kristin Avery, Kayla Barbour, Bobbi Beach, Olivia Blake, Mike Burnell, Jay Burris, Baker Chase, Alexis Codding, Aiden Crain, Ava Cronin, Monica Minion, Jody Pucello, Wes Reid, Danielle Nicole Rosario, David Royal, Jennie Russo, Mark Sadr, Nicole Santorella, Steve Smith, Mary Snell, Marlena Swilley, Kirstin Vanhooser, Brad Westmar, Noel Williams, Ford Windstar, Joel D. Wynkoop

Directed by Tim Ritter, Brad Sykes, Marcus Koch, Ron Bonk, Donald Farmer, Todd Sheets, Chris Seaver and Tony Masiello

Released by Wild Eye Releasing

Online Synopsis: Segments from eight of the leading indie horror filmmakers including Tim Ritter, Brad Sykes, Donald Farmer, Todd Sheets, Chris Seaver, Ron Bonk, and Marcus Koch. Each director was challenged to go back to their roots, using analog equipment while tapping into their years of experience to tell a story that is fresh and edgy. Shot all over the USA, the result is a collection of tales that has something to horrify everyone. Written by Brad Sykes

This is pretty interesting. Almost all of these directors started out back in the days of SOV movies in the late 1980s. Well for this venture director Brad Sykes got these filmmakers to go back to their roots. He set up a few rules, including: traditional editing, no longer than 10 minutes long, practical effects, and no CGI. This of course helps to give the entire production that retro feel.How did they fare? Let’s find out.

white eyes

‘No Budget Films presents…’ by Brad Sykes – genre: wraparound segment. This is about a trio of young people (two guys, one girl) shooting a slasher movie in Griffith Park. They hear talk of some creature eating people’s faces in the area. They meet a strange vagrant and things begin to unravel. What harms this a little is that the story – which is acted and done well – is broken up to be a wrap around for the other segments. This takes away some of the strength of the punch that the segment would have had.

‘Switchblade Insane’, directed by Tim Ritter – genre: serial killer. This starts off interesting as a serial rapist/killer addresses his victim sounding like Austin Powers. His wife discovers her husband is this psycho, and has to wrestle with either turning him in, or joining him on his killing spree. This is pretty good, though I had hoped for a little better from Tim Ritter. In one scene the killer has the victim on a table and she is totally unrestrained. That’s a little sloppy.

monster

‘A Very Bad Situation’, by Marcus Koch – genre: monster. A group of people are trapped inside a garage as a meteor shower hits the Earth. The space debris is turning people into hideous creatures. This segment is a slow burn with a really fantastic payoff. Well done.

newscast

‘The Tape’, the directorial debut of Tony Masiello – genre: psycho. A video store is closing, and one of the worker’s wants to track down the maker of a horror movie called BLOODGASM. He and his girlfriend do track down the filmmaker, with interesting results. Think CIGARETTE BURNS and THE HILLS RUN RED and you have this story in a nutshell.

zombie

‘Gang Them Style’, directed by Ron Bonk – genre: zombies. A roguish guy tries to get his grandmother and her neighbors out of a nursing home as it starts to be overrun by zombies. This story is a straight up love letter to John Carpenter, and is a hysterical hoot. Senior citizens fighting off a zombie horde – with someone who thinks they are Snake Plisskin – is wonderfully absurd. Huge kudos for this story!

‘Genre Bending’ by Chris Seaver – genre: role reversal. This gets a big “Huh?” out of me. A slightly overweight woman gets sexually harassed by a couple of creeps – but turns the tables. This is a rape reversal tale, and is done tongue in cheek. Unfortunately I found it so way out that I felt it really didn’t fit with the rest of the stories. Very John Waters-like.

tape

‘The Request’, by Todd Sheets – genre: supernatural. An overnight radio DJ is getting strange phone calls… from someone claiming to be his dead ex girlfriend. Todd Sheets has come a LONG way from his beginnings and it is great to see what a professional filmmaker he has become. Great acting, direction and atmosphere. The only thing that mars it is a rushed EC Comics-style ending. It makes one wonder if it would have been a little more fleshed out with a few more minutes run time.

‘Thicker Than Water’, from Donald Farmer – genre: psycho. A man with a girlfriend from hell is tested to just how far he loves and is devoted to her. This one was good, but uncomfortable and really strange. Not sure how I feel about it.

‘The Scout’, helmed by Brad Sykes – genre: supernatural. An inspiring indie filmmaker and actress break down in the desert while scouting locations. After a heated argument, the actress storms off. She comes back to the location only to find the filmmaker gone… but he has left camera. She watches the footage on it and is horrified by what she finds. This is well done, but has that too convenient Twilight Zone ending to bring it to close. A bit abrupt and one wonders if the time limit hindered this story.

credits

The DVD comes with a fun making of feature along with a pretty interesting commentary.

Overall Rating: 8.5 out of 10 consumer video cameras. As with most anthologies it is a mixed bag of good and not so good. It is a little uneven but that also may be due to the constraints made upon the filmmakers. I will say if you are a lover of the old SOV style movies of the past, you MUST have this in your collection. Highly recommended!

The movie can be bought HERE.

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