Saturday, April 24, 2010

TEFB Random Review: Baghead

"Baghead" is the story of four friends who travel up to a family-owned cabin in order to write a feature film starring themselves. Tired of being extras in other films, Matt, Chad, Michelle, and Katherine decide that this will be the film that will finally be their big break.

I am a big fan of "Baghead's" setting. As a aspiring filmmaker, I have shot a few films up in a family-cabin during the Summer and still hope to create the ultimate film using this scenery. This is what our characters are basically doing as well as they stay up late in a drunken haze, throwing out plot points in order to get their film written. And although I was able to the cabin-filmmaking feel, I had a hard time relating to most of the characters with Chad being the only exception. Not the most attractive person in the world, Chad is in love with Michelle and of course Michelle does not feel the same way towards him. Without spoiling anything, the other three characters all have very few qualities that I found redeemable and often lie to and betray each other so much that I almost never get the sense that they are truly friends. This in turn creates conflict but it's not until the end of the film where I really feel that they have a bond and actually like one another. I never feel this with Chad and I think he is the one character that really appreciated his friends throughout the entire film.

The film itself is often marketed as a horror film but in actuality is more of a comedy/drama (dramedy?) than anything else. That does not mean I don't think horror fans will like it. There are plenty of moments that allow for some scares and I do think it has something for the horror audience as long as they're fully aware going into it that "Baghead" isn't a pure horror film.

This film is shot in a similar style as a documentary and sometimes I feel it works and sometimes I feel it's totally out of place. I really like how the handheld camera movements add some energy into the more exciting and tense scenes but am totally taken out of it with the numerous snap zooms that scream mockumentary when it clearly is not one. Also, a few times during the film the audio also seemed very documentary-like. For instance when two characters are hugging at the end of a film character closest to the camera sounds sharp but the other character's voice sounds muffled as if his body is turned in a way the boom mic couldn't pick up very well. It would seem as though he should sound just as clear as the other character.

Another thing that bothered me was the predictability of the reveal. I can't say too much more about this since it would contain spoilers but the reveal was so predictable that the average viewer will be able to pick up on it within the first half hour of the film. However, even if you do figure out how it will end, it's still just as fun to watch the characters and their situations unfold and see how they will get to that point.

It sounds like I'm being harsh towards "Baghead" but in fact I very much liked it. I loved the settings, I loved the character they come up with for the film, I love the many genres this film successfully takes on while still remaining true to the subject material. And there is a lot of other things about the film that I really enjoyed but once again cannot get into because it would contain spoilers and this film is definitely enjoyed best when the audience goes in with a limited knowledge of what they will see.

I won't say "Baghead" is a must-see film, but I do think that it is a film most will enjoy as long as they are expecting more of a dramatic film rather than a straight horror film. Although it does have it's flaws, the charm of the "cabin in the woods" story was more than enough to make up for it and provided the audience with a familiar setting with a very different tone behind it.

Jay's Rating: 7/10.

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