When Joe Zopp's out-of-touch parents squander the proceeds of his finest invention, he skips town, vowing never to return. Seven years later, while leading a life of anonymity, Zopp runs into an old classmate who tells him that everyone back in his hometown thinks he's dead, forcing him to return to unravel the mystery of his own death. Written by
I recently moved to the area of the country where this was filmed and, a few minutes into watching, felt like I understood exactly what I was seeing.
This film, I would bet, was written over the course of several years by members of a high school clique with a deep interest in films and film-making. Maybe one or two of them went to film school? One of their hobbies would have been making/editing short videos, mostly "mook" comedy in sketch form? Once Dogme 95 became an artistically acceptable reality, it became okay to make a movie on videotape and this movie became "possible." I'd bet the movie has been seen by many in the area where it was filmed (and not by many anywhere else).
The plot is difficult to follow, the acting amateurish and the cinematography non-existent. But, those who made the movie can say--and I have no doubt they do--that they made a movie. They started it and finished it. Not many can say that...
I don't know anyone involved in the making of this film, but it seems very familiar. There are lots of these "made by locals for locals" movies in the annals of film, and they all have that DIY feel that is almost impossible to overlook. "Terror in the Swamp/Nutria Man" was the movie made in my hometown by hometown boys, and it is about as bad as this one. If these "Legend of Boggy Creek" type movies teach us anything, it is that, as bad as Hollywood's movies are, they aren't as easy to make as we think. Because, when "we"--and by "we" I mean amateurs--try to make them, the results are often mediocre at best and laughable at worst.
If you aren't from Wisconsin's Chippewa Valley, 90% of this movie will fall flat for you. If you ARE from the Chippewa Valley, you'll probably be too distracted noticing that fact to notice what is going on.
Shot on video for pretty much no other reason than the filmmakers had no other choice.
GRADE: D for appearance and content, A for effort.
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