Gut (2012)

Description (from the IMDb):
Family man Tom has seen something he can’t forget, a mysterious video with an ugly secret that soon spreads into his daily life and threatens to dismantle everything around him.

Major Cast:
Jason Vail as Tom, Nicholas Wilder as Dan, Sarah Schoofs as Lily, Angie Bullaro as Sally

Special Features:
None (Screener)
For Sale Version Includes: Audio Commentary, Behind the Scenes: Tom at Home, Behind the Scenes: Crafting Death, Behind the Scenes: Killing [SPOILER REMOVED], NIGHTMARE MEN short film

Written and Directed by Elias


Slasher films are a dime a dozen, probably even less than that. Don’t misinterpret me: that doesn’t mean there aren’t great ones that have been made (obviously there are), and there aren’t great ones still to be made (there probably are), but it’s the go-to for horror, and more specifically low budget horror. When I first was contacted to review GUT, I assumed from the title and the poster that this was just another slasher movie. I’m glad to say I was wrong. What GUT is, disturbs much deeper than any big-hulking-guy-in-a-mask ever could.

No mask, but there is a scary looking knife...
No mask, but there is a scary looking knife…

Tom and Dan are childhood buddies with a shared love of schlocky movies. Tom has grown up – wife, kid, etc. – Tom’s not quite there yet and is missing the bygone days of the two pals hanging out and watching bad horror movies. One day, Dan gets a movie in the mail that he convinces Tom to come over and watch; it appears to be a snuff film, or is it really a Guinea Pig type movie? There’s no information accompanying it to try and figure out what’s true and what’s trickery. The film itself messes with both men, but especially Tom, on a deep emotional level. And of course, since this is a snuff film with no point of origin and no information, it ends up becoming more than just that; I don’t want to go into the plot anymore for fear of ruining any of the twisty bits so let’s just say not all is ok with the movie watchers.

Dan is enthralled by the film.  Bonus points for the Toxie poster...
Dan is enthralled by the film. Bonus points for the Toxie poster…

What I really enjoy about movies like GUT is that face that you can be scared by normal, every day things. Sure, a 7-foot, 400-pound dude with a large sharp something chasing me would be scary in real life. Super scary. Shit my pants scary. But when was the last time that you heard of someone being murdered by a 7-foot 400-pound sharp-something wielding guy? It just doesn’t happen. When is the last time you got something in the mail you didn’t order? That happens. The fact that something so mundane and banal could open up a chain of events so horrifying as is portrayed in GUT scares me much more than big dude, because anybody could have something like this happen. Now, sure, is the chance of getting a maybe-real-maybe-not snuff film in the mail, watching said film, and then having really bad things happen because of it much more likely than big dude? No, no it’s really not. Does it FEEL like it’s more likely to happen, that it is less craziness than big dude? For sure. And it is this writing, this plotting that makes GUT scarier than most of the low budget horror that I’ve seen in a long while.

Lily, in one of the more beautifully lit shots, contemplates her husband's new-found craziness
Lily, in one of the more beautifully lit shots, contemplates her husband’s new-found craziness

On the production side of things, I was greatly impressed with GUT. The video is really nice, and supplement with good-looking lighting as well. This is added to be well-done color correction that does a fine job of emphasizing the mood of the scenes being portrayed. In addition, the sound quality is very good for a low budget film as well, the dialogue and foley, as well as the score, which I was especially enamored by. As the film goes on, the music becomes less harmonic and more tonally dissonant, and this non-standard music helped to build the chaos that is overwhelming Dan and Tom’s lives. The gore effects are extremely well done and effective; while there is not a lot of the red stuff, when GUT does get gory it does it aplomb and finesse. One of the biggest pros that GUT has going for it is the acting; all three of the leads were spot-on in their performances. Schoofs as Lily was great in her attempts to keep her family together in the face of something she doesn’t even really know is going on, Wilder has a great range as Dan from nerdy movie guy to way-too-confident for his own good to completely lost, and Vail is completely believable during his descent brought on by the things he has seen.

Tom sees things he can't un-see
Tom sees things he can’t un-see

There were a few bits that made my opinion go back to other way a bit. First off, I dig the explanation of where the DVD came from, but after the first one I don’t think I’d open any more, so I got a bit lost on their reasoning for checking out more. Secondly, I am ok with there being a vagueness to the “action” of the film, but I felt it was just a bit too vague, and could have used more hints as to who was the cause; the ending for me felt like an abrupt cut off that just didn’t satisfy. With just a little more here or there I think it would have been a much better story overall… then again, maybe it’s there and I just missed it. That is entirely possible.

Overall, I enjoyed GUT a lot. It is a creepy, atmospheric horror flick that manages to be scary without being something completely unbelievable. It has all of the big-budget sheen without having the low budget creativity polished away, and that’s hard to do. And mostly, it’s scary. Sick and scary, what a good horror should be, first and foremost; GUT is that and more.


Overall 8 / 10

GUT on the IMDb:

GUT for sale:

GUT site:

gut poster


2 thoughts on “Gut (2012)

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