The legends and myths about snuff films have been around for a long time, much longer than I have been watching horror, in fact. But regardless, they are timeless in a sense, and movies about them are still intriguing. Such is the case with GUT, a 2013 horror flick from Gut Productions. GUT is a well-made, slow-burn thriller that keeps you engrossed to the end. And while it is not perfect, it is a heck of film and one every horror fan should give a chance.
If you are not familiar with GUT, here is the film’s plot synopsis courtesy of the official website:
Something is missing in Tom’s life. Every day he goes through the motions, becoming increasingly detached from those around him. His best friend Dan thinks he has the answer, a mysterious video he’s got to see to believe. What Dan shows him leaves Tom unsettled, flooding his mind with disturbing images and desires, and binding the two friends together with its ugly secret. As he tries desperately to forget what he saw, Tom’s mounting feelings of guilt and disillusionment quickly give way to paranoia and fear. One video soon follows another and another, blurring the line between reality and voyeuristic fascination, and threatening to dismantle everything around them.
Keep in mind, this is a low-budget indie film. But even so, it looks and sounds great. The cinematography is shot well, and the sound is nice and audible (many of the indie films I review have horrible sound quality). These reasons alone should be enough to pique your interest.
But GUT offers so much more than just good production value. It is entertaining and enthralling, close to ninety minutes of tension that leads to a startling climax.
The acting is very good, with Jason Vail and Nicholas Wilder heading up a great cast. Also, the special effects are top notch. The gore in the snuff films within the movie is excellent; I have no idea how they made it look so realistic, but WOW…I am certainly impressed.
The drama involving the gradual degradation of the main character, however, is the real winner for GUT. The way these films overtake his mind is haunting, a chilling reflection on how real this scenario might be in actual life. I particularly like how his self-destruction is evident onscreen, and how those around him become victims to his mind’s breakdown.
Yet, although it’s a great film, it does have some flaws. The primary one for me is the lack of a solidified ending. **WARNING: SPOILER ALERT** We never find out if Dan was the killer, or if his presence simply brought the killer to Tom’s house. Nor do we find out if Tom’s daughter was killed as well. Obviously, we assume she was, since she was bound right next to her mom in the video…but absolute clarification would have been nice for me.
The other issue I have with the film is that some of the non-action scenes carry on way too long. Most of these scenes are the nighttime/bedtime scenes, where Tom lays awake or watches his wife sleep. I understand these shots are necessary to help create an understanding of where Tom’s mind is going…but several of these could have been half the length and still as impactful.
Still, GUT is a definite win for me, and I recommend giving it a shot. You can’t help but be mesmerized as you watch Tom slip into a “bad place” within his mind. And you simply have to see the snuff film effects to appreciate them. GUT is one of those films that will linger in your mind long after it’s over. Give it a look…it’s available now in a variety of formats.