Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dismal (2009)

... aka: Bleed

Directed by:
Gary King

dis·mal (dzml) adj. 1. Causing gloom or depression; dreary. 2. Characterized by ineptitude, dullness, or a lack of merit. 3. Obsolete; dreadful; disastrous.

I think they had definition #2 in mind when they were making this one.

Mild-mannered teaching assistant Curt (Tim Morris) decides to take four biology students deep into Dismal Swamp to do some kind of research for extra credit. Squeamish Dana (Lydia Chandler) needs the points or else she'll fail and decides to go despite the fact her obnoxious frat jock boyfriend Brady (Brent Lovell) wants her to go to a keg party instead. Also coming along are Shelly (Capel Kane) and Gary (Will Triplett), who have a long-standing crush on one another, and Jamal (Jade Arnold), who brings along his sexpot girlfriend Eve (Meagan Reedy, who provides some T&A). The six arrive at their location and pitch their tents, the standard POV "someone's watching" camera-work kicks in and the film then basically spends the rest of its scant 79 minute run time poorly trying to copy THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE. After about half of them are killed (via hook, bear traps and club), the survivors are captured, dragged back to a shack, chained up and have to endure an over-the-top redneck cannibal family who threaten to kill and eat them. Said family includes patriarch Dale (Bill Oberst Jr.) and a retarded giant that the credits refer to as "Idiot" (Jack Harrison), plus a surprise member hidden amongst the research group.

Though not the absolute worst of its type, there's still next to nothing to actually recommend here, especially for seasoned horror fans who have seen this same exact material countless times before. Aside from the general lack of originality, the acting is mediocre, the (digital) cinematography is murky, there's almost no directorial style to speak of and many of the price-cutting CGI effects (including blood splats, a trail of fire, a body sliced in half and an explosion) are completely laughable.


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