The Cinefessions crew loves sharing their opinions on films, but not every movie can get the attention it deserves with a full review. Enter the Cinefessions’ Capsule Reviews. These capsule reviews cover five of the most important aspects of a film, which allow the crew to deliver their opinions on any movie clearly, decisively, and with brevity. These are not our full thoughts on any film, just a highlighting of the major pros and/or cons.
Story & Script
Nick is obsessed with murder and murderers. He clearly appreciates how spree killers, mass murderers, and serial killers commit their crime or crimes and then get away with it. He is currently majoring in criminal psychology, and his teacher, Prof. Hal (played by the late Glenn Quinn) shares his passion. Nick’s best friend, Jimmy, is leaving for six months, so he is throwing a party for him at his uncle’s pad in Vegas. He invites all his friends over to celebrate, but we quickly realize that Nick is not only obsessed with murderers, he wants to become one himself. If I have made this sound interesting, I apologize, but the description is intriguing. Hell, the reason I watched this was because of the Netflix synopsis. Unfortunately, there are no twists, no turns, and not nearly enough gore, nudity, or laughs.
Most of the time the acting is solid. The main character, Nick, played by Rick Otto, though, does way too much telegraphing to the audience what his character is thinking or feeling. Let me explain that a bit more. There is one point where someone wants to use a bathroom where he has left a body in the bathtub. He is unable to physically stop the person from using the bathroom, so the guy goes in. When he comes back out, none the wiser, Nick smiles, has a line, and then puts his head down. Instead of leaving it there, Otto decides that the character needs to bring his head back up and wipe his brow with his hand as if he is a mime in Central Park. I hate shit like that – which my professors always called “telegraphing to the audience” – because it is just bad acting, and Otto insists on doing that throughout the film. Another problem with the lead is how badly the director wants the character of Nick to be Patrick Bateman. I was waiting for the scene where Nick was having sex with someone, flexing in the mirror, but it never went that far, unfortunately. Jason Mewes (Jay from the Jay and Silent Bob duo) is the only character that actually delivers laughs, and he does a great job throughout.
The fact that Mark Anthony Galluzzo went on to have a more successful career as a cinematographer instead of a director is no surprise to me. He clearly has some interesting ideas that he toys around with, the best one being the fake one take shot where it looks like he is moving the camera from room to room as the characters go about their conversations. It isn’t executed as well as one might hope, but it is still a strong idea and something that I imagine he refined and used again in his later work. The biggest problem with the direction has to be the way he tries to make the film feel like American Psycho. The hallway of the apartment where this film takes place is even filled with clear plastic, and it has a look that is reminiscent of the hallways in American Psycho. It’s clear the director is a film buff, but it feels like he tried to fit everything he’s ever seen into one film, and it gets clunky.
This is supposed to be a black comedy horror film. The only character that made me laugh at all was Jason Mewes, who is basically playing his Jay character in a different setting (a pothead who says inappropriate things but gets away with it because he’s funny and somewhat charming). I “get” it, I just don’t enjoy this attempted satire. Most disappointingly, there are no twists whatsoever. What you think is going to happen is exactly what goes down, and that is rarely fun to watch.
No way I would watch this again.
R.S.V.P. feels like a too tame Made for TV horror film from the early 1990s, but instead it is a DTV (excluding the festival circuit) horror film from 2002. It is behind the times instead of ahead of them, and the whole movie struggles to entertain. There is no reason to watch R.S.V.P. that I can think of, and this one can go back to living its life in relative obscurity.
Branden has been a film fan since he was young, roaming the halls of Blockbuster Video, trying to find the grossest, scariest looking VHS covers to rent and watch alone in the basement. It wasn’t until recently, though, that Branden started seeking out the classics of cinema, and began to develop his true passion for the art form. Branden approaches each film with the unique perspective of having studied the art from the inside, having both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in acting. He has been a film critic since 2010, and has previously written for Inside Pulse Movies, We Love Cult, and Diehard Gamefan. His biggest achievement as a film critic, to date, has been founding Cinefessions and turning it from a personal blog to a true film website, housing hundreds of film and television reviews, and dozens of podcasts.