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Among Us (2004)

Video  -  Horror  -  2 March 2004 (USA)
3.4
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Ratings: 3.4/10 from 85 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 8 critic

B-movie director Billy D'Amato has made a career out of horror movies...but when he meets a real "monster in the woods" on a shoot, he is forced to re-evaluate, and fight for, his life.

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(screenplay), (story), 1 more credit »
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Title: Among Us (Video 2004)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Bob Dennis ...
Billy D'Amato (as Robert Dennis)
Hunter Mackenzie Austin ...
Jennifer Dempsey (as Hunter Austin)
Jon McBride ...
Wayne Beaubier
John Polonia ...
Ray Steele
...
Debbie
Steve Torpy ...
Erik
Bob Torpy ...
Hemp Gramps
Todd Carpenter ...
D.J.
Keith Drummond ...
Young MC
Jennifer McCarthy ...
Georgia (as Jennifer B. McCarthy)
Dirk Sears ...
Brett
Dave Fife ...
Alien Magician
Melissa Torpy ...
Party Volunteer
Casey Kauffman ...
Shower Girl
Ginger Kurzejewski ...
Psychic
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Storyline

B-movie director Billy D'Amato has made a career out of horror movies...but when he meets a real "monster in the woods" on a shoot, he is forced to re-evaluate, and fight for, his life.

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Genres:

Horror

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Release Date:

2 March 2004 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:

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Did You Know?

Trivia

The characters of "Billy D'Amato" and "Ray Steele" were named after well-used Polonia Brothers pseudonyms. See more »

Connections

References Escape to Witch Mountain (1975) See more »

Soundtracks

BIGFOOT STOLE MY SIX PACK
Performed by Jon McBride
Produced by Jon McBride
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User Reviews

 
Among Us, if only all b-movies were this good
31 October 2004 | by (Belleville, Ontario, Canada) – See all my reviews

Terrified and huddled inside a small cabin, crypto zoologist Wayne Beaubier suddenly screams, "There's something in the window. There's something out there!" The terrifying climax of Among Us reads like the actual 1924 story of a group of loggers in Mount St. Helens, Washington, and is easily the most inventive, original, not to mention, researched, Bigfoot film I've ever had the pleasure of watching.

Among Us concerns an exploitation-film director named Billy D'Amato, played perfectly by Bob Dennis, who, after many years of making trashy Bigfoot/cannibal-alien movies, has a frightening run-in with an actual humanoid primate while scouting a movie location and finds himself re-evaluating the path his life has taken.

Energized by the encounter, D'Amato sets out to make a documentary about the real-life Bigfoot monster, but to do this he must re-connect with the various people he has exploited throughout his career, people who collaborated with D'Amato on his previous films but have came away feeling either used or mocked by his work. The first is Jennifer Dempsey, played by former Teen Angel star Hunter Austin, a former-friend that found her story of an encounter with Bigfoot turned into a trashy sexploitation feature. The other is a nerdy crypto zoologist, played by Jon McBride (in his most over-the-top performance to date) whose expertise in the field of zoology was exploited by D'Amato for his various creature features. Along for the ride is Billy's long-time cinematographer Ray Steele, played by a near pokerfaced John Polonia, who, to some extent, seems to represent the audience and is strangely one of the characters I felt most connected to throughout the film. Reluctantly, all agree to follow D'Amato one more time, sensing that he genuinely wants to set things right.

After trudging along in the first half, Among Us really picks up steam in the second as the group heads off into the deep woods, to the small isolated cabin where D'Amato had his eerie encounter with the monster. Utilizing the derelict lodge as a base of operations for which to shoot from, the group treks into the surrounding woods looking for anything that might hint at the existence of the ominous creature, with Wayne offering his own particular direct to camera addresses throughout. Interestingly, things take a turn for the weird as the group starts hearing and seeing things in the forest, things that can't be so easily dismissed as something natural.

Like a train collecting momentum, the film creeps towards a terrifying conclusion, as the strange growling noises in the night, the peculiar scratch marks on a nearby tree, and the odd rock formation out beside the cabin, all hint that they might be the ones being examined, and not the other way around.

Working off an intelligent, witty screenplay by John Oak Dalton, Among Us is undoubtedly Jon McBride and the Polonia brothers paramount film to date. Dalton's multi-layered script manages to not only pay homage to the various low-budget Sunn Classic documentaries, which inspired it, but it also, in a clever way, plays as a direct tribute to the life-work of the filmmakers involved in the production and the genre for which they've made a career. Billy D'Amato is clearly inspired by the three directors listed in the main credits, and D'Amato's Space Cannibals, is obviously a nod to such films as Feeders and Cannibal Campout. The factual details behind the reality of the Bigfoot creature, discussed throughout the film, points to a great deal of research by writer Dalton and helps set this apart from many other monster-in-the-woods features. The ending sequence, mentioned earlier, seems lifted almost forthright from actual Bigfoot lore.

Much has been said about the acting in the film, especially Jon McBride's wildly over-the-top performance as Wayne Beaubier, and the fact that it might have taken from away from the picture. I feel the opposite. I think it's one of the strengths of the picture, rather than a weakness, as it provides some genuine energy to the production that might have been lacking if he had played it straight. Hunter Austin, John Polonia and Bob Dennis were also very good in the their roles. I have to admit, Bob Dennis is really great here, offering up a fine performance as a guy trying to do the right thing, for a change. I enjoyed seeing his transition from slime ball to someone willing to sacrifice himself for his friends. His blossoming love for Jennifer was also a real plus, adding another element to the picture.

Among Us is a perfect example of what can be done with a whole lot of passion and not a lot of money, and I highly highly highly recommend it. I think the Polonia brothers and McBride might have actually set the bar with Among Us. It'll be fun to see if they can top themselves in the future.


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