Flesh & Blood a Go! Go! (2017) - USA - Horror - Unrated
Independent Short Subject - MollyWalsh Video Productions - 30 mins
Written and Directed by Adrian Baez
Starring Karri Davis, Shane Ryan, Nicoletta Hanssen (credited as Nico D.), Adrian Baez (as A. Baez), Matt Holbrook, Denis Tolyarenko, Jacqueline Dusza, Maggie Smith
An at times ambiguous story with a lingering third act succeeds more in its imagery, 80s backdrop and soundtrack resulting in a nihilistic murder romp.
Sleeping in her car and looking for work in Los Angeles, a young woman is approached by a man claiming to be with a new glamour magazine and sets up an appointment for her to take part in a photo shoot. What follows is a world of drugs, blood splatter and snuff photography.
Straight up if it were not for the smartphones being used and a flat screen TV on a wall this could have been an 80s period film. The use of a 35mm program SLR with a manual focus lens, an old style boombox complete with cassette player and no hint of being any newer than 1985, and a generous soundtrack that toes the line between death metal and synth-pop all smack of the 1980s. The film itself frankly feels 80s to me as well.
The 80s backdrop, bold imagery including a splatter scene that seems like it fell out of an old splatter movie and the pumped up soundtrack are the strengths of Flesh & Blood a Go! Go! Baez's camerawork and editing are also a strength as an otherwise basic story that has a tendency to drag in the 3rd and 4th acts would drag even more if he just let it observe. A combination of documentary style camerawork and music video editing help move the story along. What's not its strength is both unintentional and intentional ambiguity.
I had to go back to confirm that the character of Mick and the Murder Photographer (as per the credits) are not the same person. Mick (1st act) is played by Shane Ryan and the Murder Photographer (2nd and 4th acts) is played by Adrian Baez, but they physically resemble each other just enough to cause confusion. Of course carefully listening to the dialogue will confirm that too, it's just so momentary that's it's easy to miss.
The prologue additionally is a source of confusion. The woman, Jacqueline Dusza, is there to set the atmosphere, and frankly for eye candy too, but has nothing to do with the rest of the story. Realizing this up front will save you from a WTF feeling later as once again there are physical similarities, this time between the women in the film.
Ultimately Flesh & Blood a Go! Go! is simply nihilistic. Life has no meaning in its existential being. Hence the philosophy of snuff; art gives meaning to life, so the taking of a life is giving it something it does not possess.
I originally was leaning toward a 2 Plus rating on this. I view films twice, once on TV and once on my laptop. The second time around it moved better for me, was more enjoyable (you don't know how twisted that sounds until you've seen it), I liked the 80s vibe, and with headphones I was able to appreciate the soundtrack even more. The soundtrack really works to pump some energy into the film and move it along. The soundtrack alone as well is worth the price of admission.
My Rating: 3 Fingers
You can get a limited edition DVD on the MollyWalsh website.
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