MPAA Rating: R

Entertainment: +2

Content: -4

Ross Partridge, Steve Zissis, Greta Gerwig. Comedy/horror/suspense. Written & directed by Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass.

FILM SYNOPSIS: While the Duplass Brothers were shooting their last feature film, The Puffy Chair, a crew member raised the question, Whats the scariest thing you can think of? Someone immediately said, A guy with a bag on his head staring into your window. Thus Baghead was born.

Two aspiring actors go to a secluded mountain cabin over the weekend with the idea of writing a movie and/or bedding their dates. With the amount of alcohol each has consumed, they have a better change with the girls than with completing a script. But before either event can transpire, somebody with a bag over his head shows up. And hes got a really big knife. But is this just a trick being played out by one of the foursome? Or is the guy with the really big knife for real?

PREVIEW REVIEW: This is a clever premise and the filmmakers do their best to regenerate the faux realism that transfixed moviegoers first in Last House on the Left and a decade or so later in The Blair Witch Project. With a purposefully low-budget feel, no-name actors and the herky-jerky hand-held camera, its makers hope to recapture the student film feel that every so often surprises Hollywood executives. Well see.

One of my colleagues in criticism got nauseated from the weaving and bobbing camera movement. Many complained of that sensation with the viewing of Blair Witch. So once again, I ask, is anybody tired of the unsteady steady cam, yet? This style is used here nearly as often as the camera scans and in-and-out focusing, both done as if the concept of editing was bourgeois.

Though the attempt is to create a fresh spin on the comedy/horror genre, its already been done to death. Were still bombarded by the underground school of acting, which relies on f-bomb-infused dialogue to relay any feeling, from anger to the surprise of an exposed female chest. But heres the truly silly part: the baghead guy is being videotaped. By whom? At the end, one character is amazed at the footage as he views it through the video finder. But the filming would be from only one perspective. So, how could they get a movie out of it? You see, like most movies today, we arent supposed to question its reality. For that matter, were not supposed to think. Were just supposed to be scared by the guy at the window with a bag over his head.

DVD Alternative: Plan Nine From Outer Space. Considered the worst film of all time by many a film buff, this monstrosity was directed by Edward Wood, immortalized himself by Johnny Depp and director Tim Burton in 1994s Ed Wood. All concerned are dead, so dont feel guilty laughing at their sincerity. Best scene: Bella Lugosi (actually a replacement for the former Dracula, who died during the making of the film) walks through a cemetery, accidentally bumping a fake gravestone, which proceeds to wiggle as the character moves off. Or perhaps its the dialogue, as evidenced by the garbled knowledge of science as the films scientist explains: Explode the sunlight here, gentlemen, you explode the universe. Explode the sunlight here, and a chain reaction will occur direct to the sun itself, and to all the planets that sunlight touches, to every planet in the universe. Sounds like musings from An Inconvenient Truth, I know. But thats what makes it funny. Both films are dead serious.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Sony Pictures Classics

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: Several crude sexual remarks

Obscene Language: The dialogue is loaded with objectionable language, mostly the s- and f-words.

Profanity: Both Gods name and Jesus are profaned several times, and by each character.

Violence: Some violence, but mainly the film receives its R-rating from the language and the mounting intensity; it appears that a man is being stabbed to death in one scene and another man is injured by a car; and everybody gets to run from the guy with the knife. Blood: Little blood

Sex: Some sexuality.

Nudity: Full male frontal nudity in one brief scene; female nudity as well in a couple of scenes.

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Drinking and smoking throughout.

Other: None

Running Time: 95 minutes
Intended Audience: Adults

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.