Auteur (2014)

Auteur posterAUTEUR is the new film that is the result of what happens when talented people get together to make a movie. The film is directed by G. Cameron Romero and is written by James Cullen Bressack, JD Fairman, and Michael Sean Gomez. Frequent readers of Anything Horror will no doubt recognize James Cullen Bressack’s name. When I write about how the indie horror scene is the future of the genre, Bressack is one of the filmmakers to which I’m referring. I’ve been following and writing about Bressack’s career since his first film, 2011’s MY PURE JOY. There were a few problems with his first film (which he wrote, directed, produced, edited, did the casting, the ADR recording, and served as camera operator), but overall it was a really fun film. The one thing that came across his freshman debut was his pure love for the horror genre. As his film resume grew (currently he’s directed nine films with another twelve films in either pre- or post-production) two things became crystal clear. Not only is Bressack one of the hardest working filmmakers in the indie scene today but he’s also in the genre he loves. He’s not using the horror genre as a stepping stone. He loves horror and it shows in every one of his projects. So when I heard he was one of the writers of a script that Cameron Romero was going to shoot, I was very excited. Does AUTEUR live up to my expectations?

AUTEUR is a film within a film within a film. In it a documentary filmmaker Jack Humphreys (B.J. Hendricks) is making a film about another filmmaker, Charlie Buckwald (Ian Hutton). Buckwald is a legend in the horror genre having made dozens of respected and well reviewed horror films. During the last film he was making, Demonic, Buckwald just disappeared, taking with him all the footage of the film. Lots of rumors circulated about what motivated his bizarre behaviour, but the bottom line was he disappeared and left Demonic’s financial backers high and dry. Jack, who is a big fan of Buckwald and his films, isn’t making this film for all the right reasons. Jack’s dad was one of the backers of Demonic and he promised his son his first directorial gig if he is able to track down Buckwald and recover the stolen footage. 

filmmaker G. Cameron Romero

filmmaker G. Cameron Romero

The story of AUTEUR is revealed like an onion. There’s layers to the mystery of not just where Buckwald disappeared to, but why he vanished and, most interesting, what really happened on the set. Again, there’s a lot of rumors that some very weird shit went on during the filming of Buckwald’s last film. The first layer of the onion Jack peels away was interviewing some of the cast and crew who worked on Demonic. The assistant director of Demonic, Bruce (Matt Mercer), provides some good leads for Jack. Bruce puts him in touch with Demonic’s lead star, Kate (Madeline Merritt). This film was supposed to be Kate’s big breakout role but unfortunately Kate wasn’t much of an actress (in Demonic). Romero cuts back and forth between Jack’s documentary footage and behind-the-scenes footage from Demonic to slowly reveal what actually occurred during that production. Everything seems to point to one pivotal scene: The exorcism scene. Buckwald couldn’t get a good enough performance out of Kate during that scene, which he constantly tells her is the entire reason the film was made. We watch take after take of Kate screwing up her lines and not giving the kind of emotional, passionate performance that Buckwald wants. But something else happened during the filming of that scene that changed the lives of everyone involved with Demonic (don’t worry, no spoilers here).

All the various elements of AUTEUR come together to make this one great trip!! The writing is spot on as the mystery unfolds. There’s just enough information given at any one time to keep the viewer hooked at the ever-evolving mystery of what happened on that set. This is a film you need to see with no expectations or explanations going into it. Romero also gets some great performances out of his cast. Merritt, who plays Kate, has a tricky job here. She’s playing a character in the film AUTEUR who is a bad actress. So she needs to give an intentionally bad performance during the Demonic scenes and then has to turn around and give a solid, natural performance as just “Kate” during the interview scenes with Jack. Challenging role and Merritt nailed it. Hendricks, who plays Jack, also does a great job in his role of the documentary filmmaker who is torn between wanting to make a good film about his idol but who also realizes that his own career as a director is dependent on finding that footage. The other standout performance is from Ian Hutton, who plays Buckwald. Even before his disappearance Buckwald was an intense, maniacal, obsessive, detail-oriented filmmaker. He wasn’t making films for commercial success. He made movies because he had to and for the pure art of making films. Great performances by everyone.

indie filmmaker James Cullen Bressack

indie filmmaker James Cullen Bressack

The ending of AUTEUR is more than satisfying and was actually pretty unexpected. But the real fun here was how the film unraveled. Romero has complete control over the story and he expertly juxtaposes the flashback scenes from the Demonic production with the real time documentary that Jack is filming to give the viewer one fantastic ride. I read a few reviews bashing AUTEUR for being too “talky.” This is a character driven film that some might not connect with. All that pesky “talking” is called dialogue and it’s there to move the story forward. AUTEUR is slated for an April 15, 2015 release and I’ll be keeping my eyes on this one so I can keep you updated. This is a great film that gives the horror fan something unique in today’s world – originality. Don’t miss AUTEUR when it’s released!!

My Summary:

Director: G. Cameron Romero

Plot: 4 out of 5 stars

Gore: 1.5 out of 10 skulls

Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains

Reviewed by Scott Shoyer

Stay Bloody!!!

2 Responses to “Auteur (2014)”
  1. Alisha says:

    This Sounds Solid!


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