Review by Jude Felton
Horror and comedy, two genres that in all reality should not mix yet they do lend themselves so well to each. When done correctly I should hasten to add. Shaun of the Dead lovingly paid homage to the zombie sub-genre, whilst managing to be laugh out loud funny. Tucker and Dale vs Evil, whilst not as universally adored still managed to put a great twist on the Hillbilly killers genre. These are two films that blended the two genres and nailed it. Alas for every one that works there are untold that fall flat on their faces, without the aid of a blood-soaked banana skin.
When I approached Chop, the latest release in the rather quite good Bloody Disgusting Selects imprint, it was with a quiet sense of optimism. The reason for this? Not because I am a huge fan of horror/comedies, because I really am not, but because it marks the directorial debut of Trent Haaga. Most recently Haaga penned the delicious zombie hybrid movie DeadGirl. That was, and still is, a cracking, twisted and pitch black horror movie that isn’t without its comedic moments. With Chop though, the humor is very much at the forefront.
If the above mentioned films put a comedic twist on zombies and Hillbillies then Chop takes a little dig at the torture porn phase of graphic horror. Well, that is how I saw it anyway. The story follows a scruffy looking fella named Lance, who whilst on his travels falls foul to his car giving up on him. Eventually a passing driver picks him up, and this is when Lance’s troubles really begin. Now, I made the mistake of reading the back of the DVD case and wish I hadn’t. You see, I am the sort of person that doesn’t want too much of the story spoiled for me. Give me a rough outline and I am good to go. Let’s just say that the kindly driver that picks Lance up has less than good intentions planned for him.
What follows is a nice blend of black humor and plenty of violence, most of which is aimed towards Lance. The jokes don’t always work, but the majority do and some of them are laugh out loud funny. The main reason the humor does work so well is due to the performance from Billy Bakshi, as Lance, who has great comic timing and knows how to play the laughs.
One thing that did keep my attention, and kept it well, was the fact that I had no idea as to why Lance was being put through the ordeal. His tormentor doesn’t let on, instead insisting that Lance reveal it to him. When it is finally revealed you will either laugh your ass off, or look blankly at the screen with a strange mix of bewilderment and anger. I thought it was finely absurd, but it isn’t going to float everyone’s boat.
Overall Chop is a well-made movie with the majority of the performances being decent enough. It isn’t the best release in the Bloody Disgusting Select series, and it certainly doesn’t join Shaun of the Dead or Tucker and Dale in the upper echelon of comedy/horror. However, it is a solid directorial debut from Haaga and a fun way to pass an hour and a half. If you like your violence mixed with humor and a few twists thrown in, this could be your thing.
Chop is available now on DVD, VOD and Digital Download through Vivendi Entertainment.