Sawblade 2010 Review
Posted by Luisjo Gonzalez
Directed by: Dennis Devine
Starring: Reggie Bannister, Mark Alan, Jed Rowen
Review by Luisito Joaquín González
Well dear readers, here I have a bit of an exclusive for you. Sawblade has yet to secure a release globally and seeing as it was completed in 2010, chances are now that it never will be sitting on your shelf on any purchasable format.
Another of the many David Sterling productions, it was directed by Dennis Devine. Now if you know your slasher movies, then that name should ring a bell. He was involved with the development of titles such as Fatal Images, Dead Girls, Club Dead and Bloodstream on the decent indie label Cinematrix along with Steve Jarvis and Mike Bowler. ‘Matrix is no longer releasing flicks, so in order to carry on working, Devine has linked up with Sterling and kept busy ever since. Something of a slasher movie heavyweight, he has been on the crew or in the chair on eight or so genre pieces. His career has been varied in terms of output quality. In 2007, his psychological thriller, Caregiver was one of the best B-movies of that year and the light hearted Dewitt and Maria from 2010 displayed a previously unseen ability for creating warmth and positivity in a screenplay. Whatever your opinion on his filmography, it must be said that he makes the most of the resources that are given to him. It’s always an argument that possibly even someone like David Lynch would struggle on a budget of $20,000.
Perhaps his most recognised piece is Dead Girls from 1989. Not only is it a noted stalk and slash flick, but it is also one of the few heavy metal horrors from the peak period. Sawblade also has a plot that incorporates a hard rock group in to its synopsis and therefore I was keen to see how well Devine would handle a return to the neighbourhood that brought him his biggest success.
Up and coming rockers Sawblade are offered the chance to shoot their début video in a recently opened studio. Their manager has the idea of locking them in overnight and having the press awaiting in the morning when the doors first open. Unbeknownst to them, they are recording on the site where vicious killer Elliot Benson was entombed some 25 years earlier. Without a key, the youngsters are left alone until the break of dawn with the menace who returns from the grave to cause havoc with a few trusty blades…
Chemistry is such a beautiful thing. You can’t touch it but you can feel it. You can’t see it, but it’s there and uncannily obvious. It’s absolutely unmistakeable. It exists in all walks of life, but is very rarely mentioned. Let me describe an example that most of you have most probably experienced if you’ve been fortunate enough. You go out on a date. After the initial getting to know you period and perhaps a few drinks you both feel this uncontrollable urge to begin cuddling and kissing. Your head will be reminding you of that unwritten rule that your folks told you about and those words echo in your head: ‘it’s too early’, ‘we hardly know each other’. You just can’t control yourself though and the magical feeling draws you closer as your heart says ‘ignore your head.‘ There are those (me included) that are spontaneous enough to pick future partners on the strength of such chemistry and it’s an occurrence that most definitely does not strike many times in one lifetime. Such nights usually don’t end up where you initially expected them to and are a big slap in the face of traditional values. But hey; you only live once, right? A wise man once said that you don’t remember when you grow older about the reports that you had to get done before eight on Monday morning, which you spent hours working on. You never forget or regret those times of amazing passion like I have described.
Chemistry can be discovered in cinema too if you look hard enough. Take for example that wonderful scene from Tony Scott’s True Romance. Heavyweights Dennis Hopper and Christopher Walken sit opposite each other to deliver a master class in acting during the Sicilian history lesson sequence. The way that they both bounce off of each other with such a natural connection is flawless and it must have been partly due to the vibe in the air that day between them. Sawblade also has a kind of chemistry, but unfortunately it’s on completely the opposite side of the scale. There is no worse sight in cinema than a few appalling actors on screen at the same time and here it feels as if they are trying to out perform each other with the levels of their ineptitude.
Calling them ‘actors’ is in itself a fallacy. I mean, surely if you logically planned for a career in the movies, you would have at some point at least been to an audition or a rehearsal where it would have been proven early on what we, the viewer, have to discover during this exercise in restraint? I work in sales. Now sales is a tough racket, which not everyone can succeed in. Many firms will hire graduates fresh from Uni with the idea of seeing if they can cut it or not. Most of them don’t. At least on the sales-floor, people try a bit. There’s a scene in Sawblade that’s supposed to be quite aggressive. It’s like a typical confrontation that looks set to go to fisticuffs, but the four players speak like a group of elderly buddies that are about to have a muffin and a cup of tea. Any suspense or atmosphere is totally destroyed by the obvious lack of effort from the performers and the film becomes almost comedic very quickly.
The characters are also laughably developed to the point of being infuriating. Each one is conceited, shallow and it doesn’t help that they are given dialogue that seems to have been written by a rebellious fourteen year-old. There’s a lot of vulgar swear words and talk about ‘ass kicking’ and gags that only the aforementioned teenager would find amusing. The killer reminds me of the nut job from Honeymoon Horror in terms of his appearance, but even that forgettable entry from the early eighties would wipe the floor in terms of entertainment levels with this half-hearted throwaway. As fans of slasher cinema, we are used to experiencing poor continuity and silly plot devices, because let’s be honest, usually that’s the most fun that there is to be had. One thing that is totally unforgivable however is that Sawblade feels like its been pushed together and rushed out the door with minimal effort from those involved and it doesn’t even make an attempt to cover up the fact. Towards the end of the runtime there’s not just one, but two silly twists and although the first is totally predictable, the second is mind boggling and laughable. The killer works his was through a large number of victims, but the obvious lack of budget means that the effects are expectedly cruddy. On the plus side, things move along quite quickly and you’ll never get bored. I am just not sure whether you will have the paciencia to sit through the inane scripting and annoying personas that adorn the screen from start to finish.
I don’t blame Dennis Devine, as he was most likely given a 7 day shoot time and $15k to make a slasher flick. Some of his photography is quite audacious (watch out for a couple of Argento-esque shock attempts) and the movie certainly doesn’t look too bad. From what I have heard, he’s a really nice guy and passionate about the genre, so it’d be nice to see him get back to working with Jarvis and putting out some more of the type of titles that he unleashed during the nineties. You know, I would like nothing better than to sing the praises of a film that has not yet been released and start a campaign to get it out on the shelves. I am a fan of the little guys and always defend my favourite horror genre. There’s just no way that I can do that with Sawblade though as it is a feature devoid of quality. I’m glad that I watched it, but I wouldn’t want to have to sit through it again.
If you really want to see an unreleased flick that deserves a stab at recognition, try and check out Bloodstream from the same director, but Sawblade should be left in the vaults of Allied Entertainment.
Final Girl: √
Posted on June 2, 2012, in Slasher and tagged 2010, a SLASH above exclusive, cheap as chips, cheesy wotsit, heavy metal slasher, Rare Slasher, Sawblade, unreleased. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.