Ever since Scream, the horror genre has never been quite the same. It seems as though the genre can rarely take itself seriously anymore. Eric G. Stacey’s independent Director’s Cut is the latest to take horror on a quirky self-referential journey with equals parts comedy and walloped body parts.
Hollywood is the place where dreams of fame lead to bit parts in slasher flicks. Brittany (Kathleen Taylor) and her best friend Courtney (Molly Michelle) are a couple of shallow small-town gals looking to flaunt their slim bodies and blonde locks on the big screen. Making the journey to Hollywood, they find themselves trying out for a spot in Cole Wilder’s (Joe Jeffrey) latest horror film. But this isn’t your average horror, it’s a horror that takes on the same look and approach as a reality television show. Seeing as how Director’s Cut is a horror itself, slaying ensues and promiscuous teenagers start turning up dead.
Director’s Cut plays as a spoof of the horror spoofs such as Scary Movie and Not Another Teen Movie. Its gimmick that sets itself apart from the rest of the Hollywood lot? It’s not Hollywood. The budget appears smaller, much smaller. Plus it doesn’t degrade itself to jokes revolving strictly around boobs, smells and drugs. It’s not quantum physics but Director’s Cut is definitely more intelligent than its blockbuster cousins. Stacey adds many layers to the point where the film’s reality and self referential gags blur.
Overall, the jokes are hit and miss. The characters and scenes spoof many of the classics from the genre, particularly The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Sometimes the winks at the camera work, taking the film in an unexpected and funny direction. However self referential humor has to be spot on all the time because it’s done so often. Movies about movies are hardly anything new, especially in recent years with horror.
The well is starting to run a little dry in some areas such as coming up an appropriate villain that is both funny and frightening. Director’s Cut‘s Metal Head character is no Freddy Kreuger or Jason and his secret isn’t really a secret at all. I don’t know if the film is supposed to be as predictable as it is, but it is. The benefit is that because the suspense is low, you can focus more attention on the sass and smartness that comes from the self referential business.
What would a bloody horror movie be without its blood or cheap blood-looking substitute in this case? Stacey comes up with many ways to chop off a limb and showcase it for all to see and be a little grossed out by. But here’s one tip for the future: it’s tough to buy dead people who are blinking and noticeably moving. The gore is sometimes more fun than the comedy. At times cute, at times very smart and at times a little off, Director’s Cut is a bumpy but often worthwhile ride.