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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

"Satan's Coming For You" An Indie Mockumentary Horror That Doesn't Quite Mix

"SATAN'S COMING FOR YOU" (2015)
Genre: Mockumentary / Horror
Length- 19:37
Company:  N/A

WARNING: This film contains material which may be offensive and is definitely graphic, both in terms of violent material and adult language.  Viewer discretion is advised.


Bubba (Matt Marshall) enlists the help of his demented friend Alister (Dakota Bailey) to check off the three items on his To Do List From Hell -- these fun activities include, but are not limited to, digging up his unfaithful wife from her grave and performing rituals to the Devil.

And I can't even find friends who will show up to the movies on time.  But I digress . . .

REAL TIME TERROR

"Satan's Coming For You" is the latest short film coming from writer/director Dakota Bailey and his team of Denver independents.  It's filmed in a mockumentary style, which brings its own unique set of challenges and benefits, particularly when dealing with the sort of intense and violent material with which Bailey and company are working.  To wit: who is the fictional filmmaker shooting the events unfolding before the camera?  What is his or her relation to Bubba and Allister?

More importantly, why is said filmmaker releasing all of this?

PRODUCTION CHOICES

Bailey's film draws obvious inspiration from  filmmakers like Oliver Stone and Rob Zombie, inserting  non sequitur shots that utilize negatives and bizarre color corrections or zooms to throw the audience off balance.  These are the shining moments of the film -- he's got an eye for the oddball and the disturbing, no doubt about it.

That being said, essentially the film is a series of three grotesque vignettes, in which we follow Bubba and Allister as they perform more and more unlikely and bizarre acts that are more unbelievable than they are shocking.

Through it all, in another nod to Stone and Zombie, our protagonists wax poetic about philosophy and religion and the nature of man.  These bits feel forced and over the top -- even more so, because they are separated from the rest of the film by title cards which must have been inserted into the film by the fictional filmmakers.  Why are the fictional filmmakers on their side?

CONCLUSION

There's a good story inside of "Satan's Coming For You", but it's never addressed: who are the fictional filmmakers who are making this documentary?  Why are they making it?  What's their story?

I'd be interested to see that film.

OVERALL SCORES:

Writing: 1 / 5.  Bailey is credited as the writer, but the film feels more ad libbed than taken from a permanent script.
Directing: 2 / 5.  Bailey's direction has promise, and there are definite moments of tension, but a lot of the visual choices don't make sense given the mockumentary approach and taboo subject matter.
Editing: 2 / 5.  Feels like it was cut together with Windows Movie Maker.  There are a lot of misspellings in the credits which also gives the film an amateur feel.
Sound/Music: 2 / 5.  The sound cuts in and out, which is partially due to the aesthetic of the film, but it distracts more than it builds tension.  Death metal music appears periodically as well.
Acting: 2 / 5. Matt Marshall deserves special mention for doing what he can with the many monologues he is given.  Otherwise, the acting may not be at a professional level, but it's not bad.

Final Grade: 1.8 / 5

Don't forget to check out "Satan's Coming For You" on YouTube and follow the creators on Facebook!



Thanks for reading! I'm a screenwriter and script consultant. Most recently, I've worked with LMC Productions and Mad Antz Films in Australia. I helped mold Goodybag Productions' award winning screenplay "The Teacher" and Michael Maguire's feature length script "The Wolfpack", which is still in development.

Check out my blog and let's get in touch!