Frazier Park Recut – Screening at 2017 Austin Revolution Film Festival:
Friends and amateur filmmakers Tyler (Tyler Schnabel) and Sam (Sam Hanover) are working to create their first feature before Sam moves across the country to be with his beautiful girlfriend, Jen (Monica Marin-Diaz). The film begins with behind-the-scenes footage of pre-production, where they meet and cast Tom Morris (David Lee Hess) as the creepy Groundskeeper. The trio head from LA to Frazier Park, California, where they rent a cabin in the woods via Airbnb.
The plot of the found-footage horror movie they are shooting concerns two brothers (played by Tyler and Sam) who are going to clean out their late mother’s cabin. Upon arrival, they unexpectedly encounter a heretofore unknown Groundskeeper. The brothers soon discover a dark secret about the Groundskeeper that leaves them fighting for their lives.
Outside of the movie-within-a-movie, tensions are rising between Tyler and Sam. Tyler feels Sam’s head is out of the game from his frequent video chats with Jen, while Sam is alarmed by Tyler’s constant tinkering with the script. To bring a spark back into the production, Tom becomes much more assertive in the filmmaking process and begins to document his own efforts to add conflict and drama to what he feels is a failing, cliched, and inferior project. As the friends’ movie runs ever more off the tracks, how far will they go to make the day’s scenes?
Frazier Park Recut is a refreshing addition to the ever longer-in-the-tooth found-footage genre. The choice to wrap a found-footage horror film around a found-footage horror film is a great one. Skillful blending of the behind-the-scenes footage with scenes from the “actual” film leads to both humorous and creepy moments. The dialogue in the behind-the-scenes footage — largely improvised by the actors — seems natural. The dialogue in the movie-within-a-movie is a bit hackneyed and wooden. This is not a criticism, it is an intentional feature of the storytelling. In fact, one of the funniest moments of the film comes when one of the actors delivers an intentionally awful one-liner in a key scene in the movie-within-a-movie. All-in-all, this is a great first feature by some very talented filmmakers. Highly recommended.
4 out of 5
Nano Pictures, 2017, 71 mins. Written and directed by Sam Hanover and Tyler Schnabel.
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Be sure to check out Nano Pictures’ next project, “Willie, Jamaley & The Cacacoon”, currently being crowdfunded at https://www.seedandspark.com/fund/thecacacoonfilm
Michael Bird has been a horror movie fanatic since before he really should have been watching horror movies. Growing up in the eighties, the first real horror movie he saw was Re-Animator. Since then, he’s had an unhealthy obsession with Barbara Crampton and a tremendous fondness for the Golden Age of 80s Horror. From the best to the worst, he watches them all, so you don’t have to.
In the rare moments when he’s not scouring the weirdest parts of Netflix and Amazon Prime, he does software development and cooks stuff (quite well). In addition to writing for Red River Horror, he maintains his own review site at http://ounceofblood.wordpress.com, where he offers up “brief reviews for the busy horror fan.”