Tuesday, 26 May 2015


British Horror again, this time a found footage effort that will be released in just a week's time. 
I've seen some great Brit flicks recently and some that are decidedly less so.
With a wide-release and plenty of backing, I went in to this one with high hopes. So is this a film that cuts a dash? Or is there room for improvement?
Read on…


Dir: Warren Dudley
Starring: Parry Glasspool, Lucy-Jane Quinlan, Lydia Orange, T.J. Herbert, Jason Rhodes, Mkaya Carrigan, Louisa Adams

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I'll try not to spoil too much here but continue at your own risk.

Media students, cocky and laddish Raz (Glasspool), sweet Jess (Orange) and the smart, no-nonsense Charlie (Quinlan) have to make a documentary, complete with behind the scenes footage for their course.
After taking some advice on the subject from their tutor, filmmaker Mark (Herbert), they choose the subject of cyber-bullying. However, soon their amateur investigatons lead them into the case of missing local girl Rosy Clarke.
When the three start to suspect that Rosy's creepy older boyfriend Seth (Rhodes) may be involved in not just this but the disappearance of another young woman, they realise they could be on to a dream project and dig a little deeper, determined to document the whole thing.
Will they discover the truth about the girls? Will their efforts bring them some unwanted attention? And have they got in over their heads? 

THE BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): At its core The Cutting Room is an interesting horror/thriller hybrid. Giving us a believable and credible reason for its 'found-footage', the plot is advanced by the documentary part of the students' film while the characterisation is fleshed out in their interaction during the 'making of' scenes. It's a simple but clever idea, and should be applauded.
The mystery itself is pretty compelling, although the genuinely unnerving opening scene gives us a pretty good idea of what has befallen the missing girls. Equally, the characterisation is pretty strong with our main trio all well drawn and given enough screentime and dialogue to establish themselves and their personalities.
Hollyoaks' Glasspool is undoubtedly given the most, with plenty of amusing lines (most notably his on the nose impressions of Danny Dyer and a familiar scene from The Blair Witch Project). He's a pretty damn good actor and with his looks I'm sure he'll have plenty of female fans who'll be picking this up when it's released next week.Orange is likeable as 'the nice one' of the group and doesn't put a foot wrong throughout her performance. I expect we'll be seeing plenty more of her.
I was also very impressed with Quinlan. She plays the feistier, more emotional member of the group and was utterly believable in the role. She is quite the talent, handling some charged and challenging scenes with aplomb. She is definitely one to watch!
Rhodes is also very good, layering just enough menace on his character without turning him into a moustache-twirling pantomime villain. He doesn't have a huge amount of screentime, but he does an admirable job with what he has. So too does Herbert as the students' put-upon course tutor. Good work, gentlemen.
As I said earlier, The Cutting Room is a thriller/horror hybrid and as good as the thriller scenes are, it really goes up a gear at the point that the film moves into the horror section in the abandoned army barracks later on in proceedings. The sets and locations, from the dense woodland surrounding the barracks to the labyrinthine bunker system certainly add to this. They are tremendously atmospheric and very claustrophobic, which does a massive amount of the work for Dudley. That's not to say that Dudley isn't a skilled director — far from it. In the past I've discussed how making a found footage film in a believable way is a genuine skill, that crafting a film which doesn't seem too contrived and maintains the realism of the concept  that found footage is built upon requires significant talent.
Dudley has this talent in spades. He also has a superb knowledge of the mechanics of crafting a scare. The use of building tension, of timing, not just using what the camera shows but what it keeps hidden — lesser directors do not understand this and their movies fall flat. Dudley crafts his frights perfectly, making the climax of the film a legitimately creepy experience. Dudley also wrote the picture and his story is actually cleverer than you may expect. It's not just in the plotting that follows a perfectly logical narrative and never betrays its own internal logic, or even the twists in the tale. What struck me as very smart was the way that the very final scene, when pondered in more depth, gives the viewer plenty of reasons to re-examine and re-evaluate everything that has come before. It's more than just a nice mystery, it raises a lot of questions about filmmaking itself.
Finally, I adored the soundtrack to the film, in particular the use of Barrie Gledden and Kes Loy's In The Mood For Food. The quirky, 1920s style number is used to perfection during the opening scene of the film, it's light-hearted whimsy marvellously juxtaposed with the horrific events occurring onscreen. Much like the way Tiny Tim's Tiptoe Thru The Tulips uses an out-of-time eeriness an creepily childish innocent to make the scares of Insidious all the more haunting, In The Mood For Food is a fantastic complement to the scenes it accompanies. Kudos to whoever found and attached it to this movie.

THE WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): Well, The Cutting Room is a found footage film. I know plenty of readers will see the dreaded 'Double F' and instantly dismiss the movie. If shaky cam and shadows appearing then disappearing from POV is something that guarantees you'll roll your eyes, there's not much here that will change your mind. In the movie's defence, the obligatory credulity-stretching 'why the Hell are they still filming?' section is kept short and most of the footage feels like a real student documentary, but be aware that the pitfalls that come with the subgenre are still present.
While I was a fan of the cast, I did feel that at points the characterisation was a little off. For example, Raz is involved in a romantic relationship with one of the young ladies but it wasn't very strongly presented at all. In fact, when he introduced his 'girlfriend' at one of the group's interviews I actually went 'Oh, really?' 
I can't help but feel that an extra five minutes of interaction between the couple could have helped flesh this out and added some extra emotional weight during the film's climax.
On a similar character note, I liked Raz's laddishness most of the time but on a couple of occasions he slipped into a cartoonish Inbetweeners place. There's a fine line between being a bit rude and just being a pervert and he veered perilously close to crossing it at times. In films such as this it's important that the audience sympathises with and likes the main characters, and Glasspool has to work very hard indeed to ensure that his character doesn't just come across as a sex pest.
Finally, the film has a nice twist in the tail but, unfortunately, I thought it was a little easy to see coming. Obviously I don't want to spoil it here, but I'd be interested to hear if any of my readers knew what was coming too. Do let me know!

THE VERDICT: I liked The Cutting Room and I can think of far worse ways to spend an evening than with this deliciously dark little effort. Warren Dudley manages a nice balancing act and combines an enthralling mystery with a genuinely disturbing horror flick. Fans of Glasspool will undoubtedly flock to this, and if you want a cool, clever Brit flick (and haven't yet been burnt out by Found Footage), this is well worth your time. 
If you're interested, be sure to check out The Cutting Room's Facebook page. Give it a like while you're there too, Dudley et al deserve it.
Alternatively, if this review has convinced you to take the plunge (and I very much hope it has), you can preorder your copy at Amazon here. Get clicking!

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Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay.


  1. This is one of the worst movie that i have ever seen.

    1. Sorry to hear it wasn't to your taste. I didn't think it was perfect but found enough there to enjoy. Hope it doesn't put you off more UK-made horror, there are some very talented filmmakers out there.
      Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, I really appreciate it.
      All the best,