Means to an End (2005)

Ever since CGI’s become a movie staple, it’s been as much of a curse as a blessing. No longer confined by what they can realistically stage, filmmakers can show anything they can imagine, with varying degrees of success. Gone are the ridiculous animatronic monsters of horror movies of yore; in their place are ridiculously fake CGI monstrosities. Cheap CGI can dispel any audience’s willing suspension of disbelief, destroying the movie’s illusion of reality; an illusion the obsessive, fictional filmmakers in Means to an End are keen to uphold at all costs. It’s not just CGI trickery they object to, either; it’s any kind of special effects in film. Fake blood, false wounds, and pseudo-pain – if these guys had their way, everything would be done for real.

Which is why they’re thrown out of Hollywood and forced to make their own film in order to promote their way of thinking. Jackass-style stunts proliferate as they cut, beat, and, um, grate one another to produce the most horrific looking “effects” possible, only to find that for all their trouble, no studios are willing to go near them. Well, there’s one studio exec that might be willing to take the risk – if they can find a climax “that kills.” You’d think he’d know better.

The film is ridiculous, over the top, and, really, quite repulsive; but that’s the point, and also a large part of why it’s so funny – Means to an End is the only film of the selection that aims to amuse rather than to scare. Not that that prevents it from being the most bloodthirsty of the bunch. It’s obvious from any number of small touches in the film, as well as the long list of thank-yous in the credits, that Mssrs Solet and Hamilton know (and love) their horror movies, and equally clear from the outtakes that they had fun making this insane homage. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and the sense of fun is overwhelming.

There’s just not enough joy involved in filmmaking anymore, which might be the real problem with the lacklustre horror genre of recent years. Means to an End is refreshingly zealous, so if it’s any indication of things to come, Solet and Hamilton could be part of a much-needed injection of excitement into the industry.

IMDB link

Originally reviewed for LivingCorpse as part of the Fangoria Blood Drive II DVD.

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