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Movie Review: Auteur

auteur poster

@lcfremont checks the faux doco Auteur...

How many faux documentaries have we been subjected to? Far too many and, worse than that, the faux documentary is one of those things that looks easy enough to put together, but most people crash and burn when trying to actually make it interesting. In fact, I'd even be bold enough to suggest that the faux documentary and found footage are the two most overused, abused and mistreated children in the horror family. So, imagine my less than exuberant attitude when I realized that Auteur is a faux documentary.

Picture of Tom SizemoreFrom director Cameron Romero (The Auctioneers, Kill Box) and writer James Cullen Bressack (Hate Crime, Pernicious) comes a legitimately engaging film with a plot device that feels so obvious, it's surprising that we haven't seen it a million times before. In the hands of Romero, the story of a director who uses real voodoo while filming an exorcism scene and the resulting mayhem, is handled with a knowing eye and just the right balance of seriousness and horror cheesiness. Perhaps this is a unique trait that runs in the family because, yes, he's from that Romero family.

This is the Charlie Buckwald story as told by aspiring filmmaker Jack Humphreys. Buckwald is a legendary horror director who completely disappeared after finishing his last film, Demonic. No one has seen the film and a lot of people associated with the film have left our mortal coil. Jack decides that he's going to track Charlie down and find out, once and for all, what really happened on the set of Demonic.

As explained by Tom Sizemore, directors are the one who make movies; not actors. Sizemore was the lead in Charlie's film and he 100% doesn't believe any of the rumors surrounding the film. Sizemore is absolutely hilarious and I could have used a little bit more of him. Proclaiming that the town is drowning in sequels and remakes, he also assumes Jack has no idea who William Friedkin and Linda Blair are and he tells Jack, point blank, that he doesn't like him. Watching Tom Sizemore is a treat and it reminds you why you still know his name; because he's awesome.

As with any indie film, there are some negatives and you can look past most of them. Most of them. Some of the acting was less than stellar, but the only time this was truly distracting was when Jack's southern accent would become pronounced. The guy even uses the term, "stuff and things". (For the non The Walking Dead fans out there, this is a beloved phrase from that show.) As played by B.J. Hendricks, it was absolutely confounding as to why a man who lives in L.A. and who's father does not own a southern accent would sound like Rick Grimes. Outside of that, any other flaws are minor and forgivable.

Overall, Auteur is a fun horror film that brings up a question that I've often wondered myself. What would happen if real black magic was used in an effort to truly achieve realism? The characters in the movie often refer to the exorcism scene in question as "ground zero" for the mental downward spiral of Charlie which was especially amusing seeing as how all possession films rely on the exorcism scene and that is the scene that is, more often than not, mangled.

All filmmakers want to put 100% into their project and it's no stretch to believe that someone could be driven to use some real occult stuff to achieve their desired result. The filmmaker who goes off the grid and the filmmaker trying to get his foot in the door are both storylines that are exceptionally easy to understand and invest in and that is what really helps to create an instantly engaging story. The documentary style is also used well and has only a few moments of reality stretching concerning some of the footage. Again, just like the found footage genre, this is a normal blunder that is easy to overlook when the actors are doing their jobs well. The talent and ambition of the writers and director is readily apparent and they even try their hand at the dreaded "walk and talk" scene. Auteur is one of those independent films that makes you genuinely excited to see future projects from those involved and, for me anyway, that is one of the best parts of being a horror fan; watching writers, directors and actors perfect their craft.

Lisa Fremont

Twitter: @lcfremont

Images: IMDb & auteur-movie.com

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