I reviewed Bliss which, along with VFW, are the most recent efforts from a filmmaker who clearly grew up roaming the aisles of the video store. His first feature, Almost Human, was his take on Invasion of the Body Snatchers done on a minuscule budget that delivered on the gore. I saw that and quickly wanted to see more because there was a lot of promise that it had. Thankfully, Shudder has his second feature available and I finally sat down to dig in. There is a clear love of genre films by Begos as his output thus far could have easily existed in the 80's and I mean that in the best way possible. This is his Scanners movie and a damn good one!
Zack Connors (Skipper) is looking for his friend, Rachel Meadows (Carter), when he runs in to the police. Right away we're shown Zack's abilities and the havoc he is capable of. Once in custody he is introduced to Dr. Michael Slovak (Speredakos) who says he's been working with Rachel for months, helping her to control her powers. After a couple months of stringing Zack along, he comes to find out that the "good" doctor isn't trying to help them at all. He wants their abilities and has been harvesting their talents for himself. Begos is great at putting it all on the screen and in your ears to create an immersive movie going experience. There's even a title card that demands you play the film LOUD. Which is another highlight of this flick: the music. Steve Moore has a synth heavy soundtrack that could easily slot in to any 80's genre pic and no one would know the difference. He also scored Begos's latest films, Bliss and VFW.
There are some moments where the psychic battles get a tad ridiculous but Begos doesn't let you forget that you're in this for exploding heads and buckets of gore. I'll put it this way; he homages Cronenberg quite well. I almost forgot that Larry Fessenden is in this! He plays Zack's father and is always a treat to see on the other side of the camera. This might feel like some to be a ripoff of a classic horror/sci-fi film but not me. Joe Begos is one of us; a guy who grew up in the video store and was imprinted by these kinds of films and came full circle to making his own. He takes risks and has vision and that is not something you see everyday. Check out this and Bliss on Shudder and look up Almost Human. Joe Begos is the newest voice in cinema that we should all take a listen to.