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Published by David Carter on 2015/9/6 (665 reads)
Directed by Cameron Romero
Review by David Carter
Released by MVD Visual
Running Time: 75 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 2.0 Stereo English
Region Code: 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: Widescreen
16:9 Enhanced: No
Special Features: None
Trailer Online: Yes
It is undeniable that technology and the Internet have had a profound effect on filmmaking. One such impact is the rise of cinephile culture as an influence on film itself. Granted, cinephiles have always existed, but not since the French New Wave have we seen so many movie nerds behind cameras. Cinephilia is its own subgenre of documentary film now: movies about the love of certain movies, genres, or directors.
Cameron Romero’s horror film AUTEUR is based on this same premise: Jack Humphries, a wannabe director and movie nerd, is making a documentary on one of his idols, horror director Charlie Buckwall. This isn’t your average love letter to one’s favorite director; Buckwall has been missing for several months along with the work print of his latest film “Demonic.” Jack’s father was the producer of Demonic so the documentary has the ulterior motive of (hopefully) getting the print of the film back while solving the Buckwall mystery.
Jack interviews various members of the cast and crew, all of whom describe Buckwall as a tortured genius who most likely just allowed his demons to get the best of him. Buckwall’s mental state doesn’t explain the mysterious deaths that occurred after the shoot, including that of his parents. Jack manages to track Buckwall down with the help of an anonymous tip and finds him to be sane if deeply frightened by Demonic’s attractive young scream queen, Kate. Jack doesn’t believe that Buckwall’s fear of Kate is justified and determines that the only way he’ll know the answers to all of the mysteries is to finally watch Demonic himself.
AUTEUR’s premise is an engaging one and will likely keep mystery fans interested more so than horror fans. The pacing is the strength here, as director Cameron Romero keeps the film moving along briskly, giving the viewer just enough of the mystery to keep them engrossed. This ultimately a horror film and I felt the horror/supernatural aspects were employed subtly and cleverly and were more effective than if they had been overt.
AUTEUR makes a misstep in its structure, however. It bounces back and forth from faux-documentary style to scenes that are overtly filmic and/or couldn’t have been inserted into Jack’s film, making the movie stylistically confusing. Had AUTEUR been strictly faux-documentary or a conventional film it would have been a much stronger work overall.
MVD Visual’s print of AUTEUR is a solid one. As mentioned, the film bounces between a documentary and filmic style, and clarity of the visuals on the DVD helps make that distinction when it isn’t done narratively. I found myself liking AUTEUR despite the structural flaws. Again, the concept is unique and interesting and one that my fellow cinephiles will find themselves drawn to.
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