3 StarsTom and Dan have been best friends since childhood. Spearheaded by Dan, the two bonded over horror films. Now as adults, Tom is happily married with a daughter, and Dan is a strange loner type. The two work together in a small office, but it’s not enough for Tom and he begins to explore the idea of moving out of the city. This upsets Dan, who seems to have no one else in his life. One day Dan convinces Tom to come by after work and watch a new horror video he ordered off the Internet. What unfolds before the two is a seemingly real murder. A woman is strapped to a table as a man’s hand slices open her stomach and inserts his hand into her gut. The images unhinge Tom and he puts up just the right amount of fight against watching more. But soon the temptation is too much. Meanwhile Dan has finally found happiness in a waitress who has been serving the two at the local diner for some time. Unfortunately Tom and Dan are about to get the answer to the one question that keeps them up at night. Are the videos real? Gut is an incredibly realistic nightmare that weighs our natural morbid curiosity against our search for a happy and content life.
Director and writer Elias has created a creepy atmosphere out of normality. Gut is a very slow and measured picture, but the wait is worth it. The biggest and most interesting plot twist comes at the one hour mark, but the plot isn’t what this movie is about. With such little interaction between characters it almost feels insane to say that how these guys deal with the direction their lives are going in, mixed with their emotional connections to all the other characters and then throw in the dark guilty pleasure of watching something horrific (and getting aroused by it) make this movie borderline brilliant. I keep going back and forth between wishing that the plot had been explored more and then becoming protective of the smallness of the film. Who is sending these videos? The ambiguous ending is decisive, but answers no questions. Excuse the pun but, you have to go with your gut here. This film leaves every question unanswered and most are never examined.
There was one major thing that weighed on my mind as this story unfolded. How did all these people wind up together, and why did they all stick around each other? No one seems to be happy knowing anyone else. Somehow the overall mood of the film makes it work though. There’s also a decision in the end by Tom that makes little sense to me. He knows about a danger to his family, but decides to ignore it. I won’t say anymore so as not to spoil the outcome, but it does push the ending towards a certain goal in a forceful manor.
Gut is clearly a low budget flick, showing it at times in the look of the picture, the stiff acting and the stretching of scenes to reach an acceptable feature hour and a half running time. Regardless of these shortcomings this is a story that you will want to watch to the end. The morbid curiosity felt by the characters is thrust onto the audience as we watch, wondering what will come next. Normally I complain about horror flicks as they more often than not have such a small amount of suspense. Gut is quite the opposite, but it’s not always a good thing. While it keeps you watching, it feels as if very little has actually transpired. The last half an hour will either pay off or let you down. Either way Gut will leave you thinking. Recommended for horror buffs who like scary movies that also easily fit into the thriller/suspense genre.
Stars: Jason Vail, Nicholas Wilder, Sarah Schoofs