January 5, 2013

Filthy and Blasphemous Review - 'Cross Bearer'

Cross Bearer (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

The slasher film might have had its heyday back in the 80s, on the back of successes of such films as Friday the 13th and Halloween, but they never really went away. There will always be a new one, just lurking around the corner, ready to carve up its victims and flash a little tit if needed. In recent years we’ve had Sweatshop, The Orphan Killer, The Sleeper and the Laid to Rest flicks, to name but a few, that have entered the slasher arena. Now there’s a new puppy on the scene, and this is a goddamned Rottweiler. In The Avengers, Thor asks if he should bring the hammer down, in Cross Bearer it is brought down repeatedly, with itty bitty bits of brain attached to it. Yep, it’s that sort of film.

The plot, if you really want to know, follows Heather. She’s a dancer, or stripper if you prefer, who hates her job and lives with her girlfriend, Victoria. Sick to death of the way her boss, Harry, treats her, and the lowlifes she has to deal with, they make a plan to escape to a Greek Island. Before they can do this they need to score some cash, and what better way than by ripping off Harry when he asks them to carry out a drug deal for him.

The deal is set to go down in a big old warehouse, which is all good and well except that this is also the stomping ground for Cross Bearer; a religious fanatic who aims to cleanse the world of sin, with the aid of a hammer. Bring that shit on, my friends!

Cross Bearer is the kind of sleazy, grimy little gem that comes along occasionally and rubs your face in the filth. It’s a dirty film that wallows in its sadistic glory and downright nastiness. Filled with obnoxious characters; Harry is a fucking gem, naked flesh and plenty of carnage; it has all the ingredients to become a true cult film. Hell, Doug Sakmann is one of the producers among the many roles he performs, so don’t be surprised when Joanna Angel and Tommy Pistol pop up when The XXXorcist (which Sakmann directed) is playing in Harry’s office. Yep, the filth is forthcoming in Cross Bearer.

Director Adam Ahlbrandt knows what slasher and exploitation fans want, and with Cross Bearer he delivers the goods. It’s an unpleasant film filled with unpleasant characters that get butchered the fuck up. And that is exactly how it should be. I’m not saying that the film is perfect, because it isn’t; there’s a little too much wandering around the warehouse for my liking, which made the 71 minute run time seem a little longer than it was, and the final 10 minutes or so seemed a little out of character from the rest of the movie.

However, if you want an atmospheric beat-down of an independent film, look no further. The visuals are slick, yet dirty, the score is pretty cool without intruding on the film and Cross Bearer’s occasional narration adds another level to the film. At the end of the day though, you’ll probably want to watch this as a good old fashioned exercise in sadism, and it does deliver.

If you’re a fan of Friday the 13th Pt. 2, Sweatshop and The Super (not the fucking Pesci flick) then you are going to dig the Hell out of Cross Bearer. The maniac even wears a sack on his head, a la F13 Pt. 2, but rather than that being a rip-off I see it as a homage, especially considering one of the characters references this very movie, whilst also telling someone exactly what people want in a movie. Shit, do we have an independent slasher film that’s a little self-referential? Looks like we do!

Cross Bearer isn’t perfect, but it is a good-to-honest slice of violent fun. It’s gratuitous, gory and incredibly violent, and that is just what I want from a slasher flick. Some films are hyped to fuck, and get exposure that don’t really deserve, but this is not one of those films. It’s still under the radar right now, although I am hoping to see this sick fucker get a full-on release very soon. Movie snobs need not apply, cos you ain’t gonna like it!

For more information on Cross Bearer check out the movie's Official Facebook page. You can also check out the incredibly NSFW gore trailer below. Don't show this to Granny or the kids.

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