A Thousand Cuts (2012) – Review

2 1/2 Stars

Hollywood’s hottest horror director Lance (Michael A Newcomer) is throwing a huge bash at his home. When Frank (Michael O’keefe) crashes the party posing as an electrician, Lance invites him to stay awhile after fixing the lights. With every one but Lance’s sister (Olesya Rulin) gone, the two enjoy a beer and talk about Lance’s career. His A Thousand Cuts franchise is doing well, but Lance has been changed by selling out to Hollywood. He explains to Frank his original intentions for the film before more commercially viable changes were made. Frank has been disillusioned by Lance’s films as well, only he’s never seen a single one. His daughter was murdered in the same manor in which the killer in Lance’s movies uses. Can Lance convince Frank that he had nothing to do with the murder of his daughter? Or will Frank exact his revenge on Lance and his sister?

This is a harsh look at how movies can have an effect on society. The problem here is this is another movie, it’s not real. This means any argument is presented in the form of what’s being argued against or for. I know, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. Basically for me movies are entertainment, this was entertaining, but it was also a tad on the preachy side which can get a little boring. The interesting thing about A Thousand Cuts is it doesn’t take to just one side, both characters are given ample time to lay out their thoughts and both seem right and wrong. It’s smart to let the audience make up their own minds. Oddly enough the premise for this film could in fact be copied and played out in real life by a crazy person – just like in the movie! It kind of destroys the point of the film and backs it up all at the same time.

Regardless of a script that wants so badly to be more poetic and deep than it actually is, the two leads give splendid performances. Especially Michael A Newcomer, who stands head and shoulders above the cast and material – it’s like he’s in a different movie from everyone else, and certainly on a different level. I hope this guy gets a big break soon, he’d be good as a bad guy in a Die Hard movie and looks like a cross between Colin Farrell and Michael Fassbender. I honestly could imagine watching this guy as the overbearing douchebag Hollywood director Lance in a more Entourage type setting. Michael O’keefe is also very good, but I didn’t really feel him as a bad guy. He didn’t look dangerous or insane enough for me. Together they played well off each other though.

Having only a ten day shoot A Thousand Cuts is impressive, but it’s also hurt by the small shooting schedule. Eighty percent of the movie is porno-quality and there’s a lot of bad acting from supporting roles. It just looks cheaply made, which to be fair it was. Lance is supposed to be a hugely rich Hollywood director yet he’s serving Heineken Light and has a tray of licorice and Twinkies. Doesn’t exactly scream ‘expensive party’, but the filmmakers did still pull it off in my opinion. A warning to horror watchers, this is not a horror flick, it’s more of a drama. There’s a lot of talking and exploration of Lance’s side versus Frank’s side and not a lot of action and no gore.

If you’re into indies or thrillers that air more on the drama side then I’d say check out A Thousand Cuts, just don’t let the gruesome poster or that they shoe-horned it into the horror genre category fool you.

Director: Charles Evered
Stars: Michael O’Keefe, Michael A. Newcomer, Olesya Rulin

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