70 min., 2011
Written by Shea VanLaningham
Directed by Shea VanLaningham
My rating: ★★★★
A good old-fashioned backyard slasher film!
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A group of friends go out into the woods and are quickly torn apart by a local legend known as Arthur Grigsby. We then jump to modern day where another group of friends are going to the same woods. We have James (Shea VanLaningham, also the director) and his girlfriend Liz (Carissa Lund), David (Rito Balducci) and his new girlfriend Sophie (Melissa Marie Watson), Madison (Catherine Flynn) and her girlfriend Billy (Sarah Tongren), and the loner Mike (Ron Rotondo). After some time they are around the campfire talking and drinking. David tells a story and Mike decides to dance a little. Some of them split off to spend some quality time together. That’s when Arthur Grigsby shows up to start the real party. The party where everybody dies!
One place where the movie shines is in the acting. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t Oscar winners, but they have some of the most believable chemistry I’ve seen in a while, probably because they are actually friends and not just actors who are playing friends. A lot of what happens in the movie is actually quite believable too. When David tries to trick everyone, he fails badly and gets hit three times because of the prank. That’s not really a common thing to see in movies today, because they usually just get mad and stomp away. But on the opposite side there are scenes where the acting feels just like that, acting. There is a few times where they are trying to hard to be “good” actors instead of just letting it flow naturally. It’s not too painful but it’s definitely noticeable. So overall the acting is pretty good. There are ups and downs but in the end it works and there are a ton of great one-liners.
The effects range from great to downright terrible. The beginning is filled with some great effects, very brief but very good. It is not until later in the movie when they start to get bad. Okay, there was only one scene that actually bothered me. It was the death of Billy. I think they were trying too hard or they were just testing the waters by using CG. It was pretty poorly done, but then again with almost no budget what else should you expect. Other than that death, all the rest are pretty awesome and fun to boot.
Another great thing about the movie is the story of Arthur Grigsby. The back-story is pretty darn good and decently original. With the back-story in place it explains why Arthur does what he does and why he looks the way he does. Am I going to tell you about the back-story? Hell No! You want to know? Then go buy a copy and support the movie, you lazy bastards. You can find it at deadbodieseverywheremovie.com.
The one main problem that this movie suffers from is the audio. The audio is just a mixed bag of good to atrocious. There are scenes where you can’t hear a damn thing that they are saying, and then BOOM everything is blowing out your speakers. Then there are times where they are walking and you can’t hear what’s being said, but you can sure hear the crunching of the leaves. This is a problem that should be addressed because it’s hard to deal with. Having to consistently press up on the volume so I can hear what’s being said and then quickly down so my speakers don’t blow out is a pretty big problem. Next movie work on the sound a little more guys.
What you have to understand about a movie like this is that there is no budget and no “pro” actors. So when you watch it you need to know what to expect. I’m not saying that the movie is crap or even terrible, it’s just in this day and age where the name independent doesn’t seem to have the same meaning that it used to. I may have said it before, but we have movies like Reservoir Dogs, Donnie Darko and Memento that are “independent”, but they have big names and top-notch directors and that doesn’t mean independent to me (notice I wrote–TO ME). Independent is more like this to me. No-name cast and director, effects that are more inventive because that’s all they have, and (sometimes) a very guerrilla feel to it (and I’m not talking about a shaking camera). This movie is just what I’m looking for. It’s a whole lot of fun to watch and Arthur Grigsby is a great slasher. One of my favorite scenes is where everyone is away from the fire and the camera is following them around and then we switch back to the fire with James and Liz who are listening to a Redneck Storyteller (as listed in the credits). Where did he come from? I have no idea. Where did he go after that scene? I have no fucking clue! But it was fun to watch and question just what is going on. Give Shea VanLaningham a budget and he could actually go places. He could turn Dead Bodies Everywhere into a franchise with no problem at all. Support the truly independent film and buy a copy of this, you will be glad you did (just be prepared for the audio problems). And by the way, “Yes I Have A Lion Cock.”Have You Read...?