DVD REVIEW – BAGHEAD (2008)
by L. L. Soares
Over the last decade, the whole “mumblecore” scene has emerged in cinema. For those not familiar with it, “mumblecore” is the word coined for a new film movement made up of mostly 20-something actors and directors. The films are made on a low budget, feature unknown and/or amateur actors, and feature lots of improvisation and hand-held cameras. Mostly dealing with relationships, the movies have titles like FUNNY HA HA (2002) and THE PUFFY CHAIR (2005). Since the movement has continued to grow since its inception, it was only a matter of time before these films branched out into other genres, if just tangentially.
Directed by brothers Mark and Jay Duplass, BAGHEAD (2008) is the first mumblecore horror movie, for lack of a better term. It features four slacker/creative types who all want to be part of the movie process, but whose careers are stalled. When they go to the screening of a friend’s film (and realize, “This sucks! I can do better!”) the foursome decides to go out to a cabin in the woods to write and film their own movie. Almost like the way the Little Rascals used to announce they were going to “Put on a show!” in the days of Hal Roach comedies.
The four actors (Ross Partridge, Steve Zissis, Greta Gerwig and Elise Muller) really just want to get into each other’s pants, but making a movie while they’re doing it sounds like fun, too. At first, they talk about making a romantic comedy, but eventually settle on the idea of a horror movie about a killer in the woods who wears a bag over his head (which sounds like the Unknown Comic from the old Gong Show from the 1970s). As they go about trying to maneuver themselves into each other’s bed, and playing pranks on each other using the bag-over-the-head thing for scares, they suddenly realize there’s someone else hanging around the house, wearing a bag over his head, who isn’t one of them. And suddenly things aren’t so funny anymore.
When they come to the realization that they’re actually in danger, things get more suspenseful. But the resolution is not going to please everyone. Considering that this is a mumblecore movie first, and a horror movie second, I actually found myself enjoying it. The actors were good, especially up and comer Greta Gerwig (who we also discussed in Monday’s review of THE HOUSE OF THE DEVIL). It definitely kept me watching, especially when the “real” Baghead shows up.
I can’t say it’s a great movie, but I dug it for what it was. If you like low-budget indie films, you might want to check it out. But don’t go into it with high expectations. This is not THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE by any means!
© Copyright 2010 by L.L. Soares