If You Avoid Only One Film in 2008, Let This Be It
"Bryan Loves You" is the allegedly true story of an Arizona cult that takes over a desert town and converts its people into Bryans. These people worship Bryan, the son of a king who was killed many, many eons ago. They don masks and go after anyone who doesn't submit to their will, which seems to be no more than one or two people.
Let me lay it on the line: "Bryan Loves You" is possibly the most disappointing film of the fall 2008 season. I had been excited about this one since it was first announced... especially with this amazing list of guest stars. The love of my life, Tiffany Shepis. The biggest star in horror, George Wendt. Scream queen Brinke Stevens. Troma head honcho Lloyd Kaufman. And more. However, what this list of names failed to mention was how little any of them were in it (Stevens and Kaufman, under one minute... Shepis maybe five or six minutes, and Wendt five minutes maximum). So if you're watching the film for any of these people, prepare to be let down.
Also, the film works on a "found footage" premise, like "Blair Witch Project" (which it is compared to on the box and likely in other reviews). But the problem is... it doesn't work. There's too many camera shots, too many cases of scenes they wouldn't film, and many, many scenes where a camera wouldn't be found where the footage was shot. So, its attempt at realism fails miserably on that account. (Of course, as soon as you put real stars or known actors in your film, the amount of realism already decreases... Norm from "Cheers" being unrecognizable? Hardly.) The film was still watchable, and while it's not one of the better films I'll be seeing this year, it has some redeeming qualities. The writer-director-actor (Seth Landau) is clearly a talented guy. This film helped him perfect camera shots I'd love to see in future films, and his acting is the cream of the crop. He's pretty much the only actor who comes across as believable, with the possible exception of Brinke Stevens (who has too little screen time to judge).
I'm unclear how available the film is. Fangoria wrote a review -- far more critical than mine -- so the word is certainly getting out there. But without their approval, what stores will carry this one? Best Buy? Your local video store? Wal-Mart? I have run into it at Wal-Mart in a special Halloween section alongside other recent -- and better -- Anchor Bay titles such as "Breathing Room", and I suspect other stores may follow suit... this could turn into Anchor Bay's little mistake of 2008. Anyone who buys the film on a whim is likely to be let down. One reviewer summed it up as worse than watching a "six-hour musical version of 'Ben Hur' performed by a class of third-grade special-ed kids", and I think that pretty much says it all.
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