Trash (2011)

Description (from YouTube):
A cheesy horror short acting as a throwback to 80’s and 90’s shot-on-video horror films!

Cast:
Paul Orville as Male Lead, Mickey Conde as Tyler Sammonds, Trevor Higgins as Saw Cult Member 1, Sam Lewis as Saw Cult Member 2

Special Features:
None (Screener)

Written and Directed by Torin Langen

Right from the opening moments of the film, TRASH makes it know that this is a homage to shot-on-video (SOV) horror; there’s a little static, a nice blue “pre-tape” screen with some VHS interference, then an awesomely well made logo for Torin Langen’s production company, Candle Flame Films, that just screams 1987. A nice setup for what is about to happen, and it’s these little touches that add greatly to the “authenticity” of this being a SOV flick.

Candle Flame Films' impressive "1987" logo.

TRASH is a quick (twelve and a half minutes) little slasher film in the vein of some many 80’s and 90’s SOV films. There is no exposition. There is no “here’s what’s happened before you came in” narration. There is just a scared dude running in the woods from an unknown evil, but as any good slasher of the time period he does not escape. Set up complete… We then continue with a young guy, home alone for the weekend, waiting for his late (in more ways than one) friend to come over and hang out. The films picks up with semi-standard SOV craziness ensuing (I don’t want to go too much more into it, ‘cause you’re gonna want to see it yourself.)

TRASH does a lot of things really well. Throughout the video quality feels pretty-much SOV (it is just a little too crisp, but damn close), and the addition of VHS artifacts are nicely done without being over-done, which many “throwback” (be it 60’s style art films, 70’s style grindhouse pics, or 80’s SOV) films suffer from. There are enough little visual reminders to get that feel of SOV without feeling like the film is screaming “LOOK AT ME, I WAS SHOT-ON-VIDEO! Can you tell?? Huh? Huh?!” The sound is not the greatest ever, but neither was the sound in most SOV movies; the music is very fitting overall, with just a few slight exceptions it could have been the soundtrack for any slasher film of the late 80’s. The acting is ok… there will be no awards for the performances in TRASH, neither Academy nor Razzie.

What's in here? Probably just trash...

One bit of the film that really struck me was the composition of the shots and the visual acuity. Langen knows how to move a camera to make it interesting without making it a music video. He knows how to set up shots that not only make the images appealing to the eye, but also help set the tone of the film he is going for. Even the semi-gimmicky shots (like the Tarantino-esque “trunk shot,” remade via trash bag) fit in with the film. I felt that TRASH was better shot than many of the “real” SOV films I grew up with.

There were a few things about TRASH that didn’t sit as well with me, but in the grand scheme of things, I would consider these pretty minute. First off, the font chosen for the opening credits (with the exception of the title card) did not really fit the late 80’s feel, though the color choice did. In places the lighting is really well done, in others not so much – the images come off as harsh and full of shadows; this may be done on purpose, but if so the other scenes where the lighting looks much better kind of throws things out of whack. Also, the end: while I’m not going to tell you the end and ruin the flick, I’ll just say the “first end” (at 10:50) was stronger, and stopping there instead of continuing for another 30 seconds would have made a stronger emotional impact. As I said before though, none of these grievances are major, and there was a lot more pros than cons for TRASH.

We're gonna kill you. Why? Doesn't matter, it's SOV!

Overall, TRASH was a great SOV homage. There were so many things done really well in twelve and a half minutes that the few things done not so well were very minimal in comparison. The tone, the mood, the pacing, and the visuals: everything said SOV horror, and that’s exactly what TRASH was trying to say. Very well done.

Overall 8 / 10

TRASH is not on the IMDb

TRASH on YouTube: http://youtu.be/7Cq_OwXgSHY

TRASH site: http://www.candleflamefilms.com

Trash (2011)
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