Baghead (2008) Poster

(2008)

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6/10
Funny Jab At Art House Films And Clichéd Indie Concepts
sampotter2525 January 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Ask any filmmaker why they attend film festivals, and they'll probably tell you that it stirs their creative spirits. Though they may abhor certain films, it instills in them confidence that they can do just as well or better than the film they saw. Such is the case of the four actors that drive "Baghead", a funny, genre-bending movie about stupid people with stupid ideas and even stupider actions.

Chad, Katherine, Matt and Michelle are all extras who attend the screening of a hilariously pretentious indie film. Determined they can make something twice as good, they decide to retreat to Matt's uncle's cabin in Big Bear for the weekend for an alcohol-soaked brainstorming session. Chad is tubby, balding and insecure, and is experiencing difficulty in making Michelle transition their relationship from friendly to romantic. Michelle has no interest in him beyond a brother-meets-best-friend hybrid, and really wants to hit the sheets with Matt. Matt, meanwhile, is on the verge of a mature, adult commitment with Katherine, whom he has dated intermittently for eleven years.

The four of them toss around a number of tepid plot ideas, but retire when nothing really substantial surfaces. That night, Michelle has a nightmare where she sees a man with a paper bag on his head snooping around the cabin at night. Matt soon parlays this into a ridiculously clichéd serial killer script concept, and sets off writing it. But when an actual "baghead" shows up and nobody confesses to playing any practical jokes, the film quickly turns into a satire of the same lame film these four have dreamt up.

The movie adeptly balances the comedy of the situation with the dramatic complexity that comes when friendships and lust collide. The performances are endearing and believable, with each character drawn distinct from the other: Chad is chubby, funny and sincere. Matt is classically attractive, spontaneous and a bit dim-witted, yet doesn't want to hurt his friend. Katherine is the grown-up who's partying days are over and is looking for a stable relationship. Michelle is the bubbly party girl with serious communication problems.

If there's anything that weakens this film, it's a few dead moments and the atrocious hand-held camera-work, which puzzlingly zoomed in and out with an ADD-like attention span. Still, the script and performances were fun and engrossing.
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Dude, Where's my Kiss?
thesar-25 April 2009
I liked 'Baghead' a lot. It was real, it was independent and when it was all over, it all tied in. If one were just to watch it part of the way through and stop, they would (as would I) certainly compare it to multiple "in the woods/cabin" thrillers. The impression I got (and this was certainly confirmed once watching the "mock-interview" with the directors/brothers with kids) was this was a simple idea someone brainstormed and said "let's shoot a movie about no-name/wannabe actors and a bag-headed killer on the loose in the woods." Honestly, the film felt real. The emotions real. I think, despite the extreme low budget, the actors took it for real and did the best job they could. I grew up on serial killer/woods, etc films. This one was probably the most real, because, basically it was played that way. A movie-within-a-movie, if you will. Four adults want to make a movie. One has a cabin and they head out there. They come up with an idea and suddenly it comes to life. That's the basic synopsis. I see a whole bunch of negative reviews. I think people were expecting something different. I went in open minded, and really liked the experience. Not perfect, no, but I liked the genuine characters and I absolutely loved the fact that two grown men could be very close, enough to kiss/hug each other and not be labeled as gay or feel any less masculine. I wish there were more straight males (fictional or not) that can show love for each other and not be considered homosexual. I admire the directors/brothers that took the leap to show this close male bond. Best character: Chad (Steve Zissis.) Sincere, not shy, real and definitely funny. Hope to see more of him.
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Mumblecore to the Core
jdesando23 August 2008
Baghead starts as if it has a bag over its head with a leaden set up about four not-so-young struggling actors planning a scriptwriting session in the woods. Not hard to tell what might happen in a comedy/thriller/horror indie. But amidst this sophomoric, satirical first reel is a gem of an interview with a director after a film festival screening. You'll know the drill when you see it: inane questions, uninspired answers, but everyone breathless with love of movies.

The invasion of a bagheaded villain creates the necessary horror tension nicely dispersed among the revelers rather than relegated mainly to the ladies. Although the idea of actors writing a horror script and living it out, and directors making fun of the genre is not new, the Duplass brothers create a believable environment that makes the odd occurrences believable themselves even amidst the obvious hokey horror clichés.

It's easy enough to see Blair Witch influences, especially the "found" nature of the footage; its ultra-low budget, seemingly improvised script, jerky cameras, and little-known actors put it square within the "mumblecore" frame of reference (The Duplass brothers are prominent members of the movement). Baghead has more importance as part of that early twenty-first century movement than the film would attest on its own.

Be prepared to laugh a bit, scream a little, and wonder a whole lot at the dedication of talented filmmakers who could put bags over their heads for all the difference it would make to the general audience. They are the real pioneers of new cinema.
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7/10
Worthwhile
chicagopoetry16 December 2008
I don't know why this movie is listed as a comedy. That's very misleading. It is a drama and a pretty good one. It's also not a horror movie, but instead a movie about horror movies. It's really a movie about itself, in that it is a low budget indie movie about some friends making a low budget indie movie. The acting is surprisingly delightful. This ranks up there with such sleepers as Primer (about the time machine) or August (about the dot com crash). It is simple, pleasant, watchable and never boring. I was glad that it didn't stoop to some cheap slasher ending. The fact that it is based in reality all the way until the end is what makes this one so special.
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9/10
Wheee!
toniumhart7 April 2008
I went into this (AFI) film festival with little or no knowledge of not only the film itself, but of any actors or the production and direction team. I was pleasantly surprised.

I must have laughed through 90 percent of the film. On what appears to have been a shoe-string budget at best, this film delivers characters who are rich (in a non-financial form), full and funny; and come across as people you know. Your best friend (or nemesis)a sister, brother. I also loved that, having grown up close to the Adirondanck Mountains in NY, I could completely imagine living the weekend that they did. What a fun ride. And using very little shock and awe of nudity, vulgarity or violence. (not that I am completely anti any of those in particular) A very nice treat. What a little sleeper-hit. Can this brother director/producer team be the next Cohen Brothers?
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8/10
Thanks. I loved it.
druquzdog10 February 2009
Warning: Spoilers
It was not the movie I was expecting, but I certainly was not disappointed in any way because of that. I was expecting a "slasher" film, but I'm glad that this wasn't one after all that.

Immediately preceding this I watched "Final Exam" which is one of the lamest "slasher" films I've ever seen. At that point I was after more of the same, but maybe a little better (since what could be worse!?).

Brilliant acting, script and editing on this little film. Probably people who get to see it will number in the thousands, and counting myself among them, those are lucky people.

There is so much information of value in the film. It communicates vividly to the viewer on issues of friendships and relationships and film making and the subtlety's of interaction...that I still can't really do it justice in a little IMDb review.

I only ever review movies that blow me away or pi** me off. I can even see merit in both of those extremes. This pretty much blew me away.

No way am I expecting to convince anyone to watch this. Really I just hope that the people who made and participated in it see my effort to try and thank them for making such a beautiful thing. I think you guys deserve some recognition and hope you go on to make even better stuff than "Baghead" (but you have your work cut out!).

Awesome film. Srsly...you guys. You have great things ahead of you if you don't entirely disconnect from the roots that sprouted the mighty tree of "Baghead".
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3/10
Really boring...predictable. Good performance by Zissis and Muller
imdb-552324 June 2008
No, I wasn't expecting "IRON MAN" or "GET SMART", so put the hipster knives away, I don't need explosions or Megan Fox to enjoy a movie.

The movie starts interestingly enough, by mocking the indie film circuit "Q&A with the director". In what can, at best, be called a non-sequitur, they try to go to a club, only, moments later, to be at a Bennigan's like establishment where they decide to retreat to the mountains to write a script.

The overweight guy likes the cute girl, she likes him as a friend. The glossy lady think the girl is kind of boorish, and the cute girl thinks she's a bit over glossy. Mr. "TheMan" has sexual access to Ms. Glossy, but, unsurprisingly, the boorish girl has some desire for Mr. The Man, who will naturally feel contest between his desire to bang both the females and be loyal to his friend.

All of this is telegraphed within the first 5 minutes, and you kind of feel a bit of a No Exit vibe brewing, but with people who are slightly more familiar than strangers.

That notion goes nowhere and as they reach the cabin they proceed to fulfill that which has been already telegraphed in excruciatingly long, jittery-cam Mumblecore style.

I checked my email.

The curveball thrown into the mix is that the proposed script involves an anonymous slasher in the woods. As the movie trudges on, a bag-headed-slasher runs amok.

I think there's an element of "everyone in LA wants to be famous" lurking about in this movie somewhere, but it's too occulted by everything else to get through clearly.

Elise Muller does a great job being glossy the whole time through ( best touch, wearing her night-guard in the morning ) and Steve Zissis remains vulnerable and sweet throughout. I really liked Greta Gerwig in the SXSW spots she did 2 years ago, but I didn't see anything that wowed me. The other guy was pretty good too.
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8/10
Unpretentious and fun
krigler6 January 2009
Baghead is a true gem, a tribute to indie film-making at its best. I may be partial to no and lo budget film-making, on the other hand I have very little patience for regular art-house talkfests where nothing really happens. The filmmakers here find the perfect balance of indie talking heads type non-plot and a suspenseful genre piece, which is a rare feat.

Directing is okay, although the hand-held camera-work can be exhausting sometimes. The actors are great and the relationship drama between the four characters is interesting and at times funny enough to hold the viewers' interest. I loved the fact that there is no true horror soundtrack, so the scares and tension work without the usual "boo" staccato sound effects and unnerving suspense music. This is something extremely difficult to achieve, so kudos for that.

At 80 minutes the story does not wear out its welcome. Baghead is a definite recommend for anyone hungry for something different from the usual Hollywood fare.
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9/10
Go See It!
sro28-131 July 2008
A great independent film! Such a simple story with echoes of (and homage to) classics such as The Evil Dead and Blair Witch. While it's not on the intensity and horror level of those films, it's not trying to be. The story's simplicity and small set of likable, believable characters make the movie work. This is a great low budget achievement, cleverly written to keep the costs very low. If you're a fan of horror films and/or independent movies, go see it! Support these types of indie films and send a message to Hollywood to keep them coming. Sure, it's not going to reap the kinds of profits that Blair Witch did, but I hope these filmmakers get another chance - they certainly deserve it.
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1/10
Sucks....and hard!!!
untruereality25 June 2009
I'm a huge horror fan and I rarely post a comment about any of them. They must either be very good or very very bad. Baghead is very very very very bad. This movie is lowest form of cinema, one where there are NO redeeming values. Annoying characters discussing inane crap, uncomfortable scenes, stupid character actions, putrid acting, abysmal sub Uwe Boll directing and one of the worst scripts to ever be put to film.

Four "friends" and struggling actors go to a remote cabin to brainstorm a movie script that will feature the four of them. Nearly 50 minutes in we finally get to see good ol' Baghead and then back to nothing happening. I cannot stress enough how worthless this pile of excrement of a movie was. Aside from The Stink Of Flesh I can't recall a movie leaving a worse taste in my mouth by nothing but its awfulness.

How anyone could dare recommend this pile to another human is beyond my comprehension. If my son had made Baghead and brought it to me for my approval I would immediately disown him.
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1/10
Awful attempt at mixing comedy/slasher film ; a waste of time
george.schmidt28 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
BAGHEAD (2008) * Ross Partridge, Steve Zissis, Greta Gerwig, Elise Muller, Jett Garner. Weak attempt at making comedy and horror mix in this cheap, lame and tiresomely obnoxious "Blair Witch Project" by way of "Evil Dead" flick with four equally charmless friends spend a weekend in a cabin to come up with a plot for a film that can showcase their talents as actors and filmmakers when they come across the titular bogeyman that attempts to blend reality with fiction with disastrous results. The premise while promising falls so flat with inane dialogue, horrendous acting and increasingly glacial pacing you keep wishing the killer would act on his instincts and hack everyone up and then do it again! Newbie sibling filmmakers Jay and Mark Duplass should really never be allowed to foist their 'whimsy' upon filmgoers again or until they can handle one of the three basics of a film: acting, writing and directing; a true disappointment.
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1/10
Indie Hubris At Its Most Ridiculous
BarkingDoc3 March 2009
This movie is one of the more dire examples of indie filmmakers thinking that ANY film which is low-budget and unscripted is automatically brilliant. I am an art school graduate with a very high tolerance for experimentation, and I can dig a very low-key movie if there is some kind of point to it. Even for the "mumblecore" aesthetic, this one tests the limits of just how irrelevant a story can be. It features thoroughly unlikable characters who have minor romantic issues (one has a low-level crush, another a vague sexual attraction) sitting around chatting listlessly in a generic mountain condo. To add insult, this apathetic dialog is captured with hyperactive, aggressive camera-work which never stops moving, favors extreme close-up for 95 percent of the shots, and leaves the very few events that happen in the film out of frame. The "scares" literally involve the characters occasionally startling one another. A barely feature-length film in which even the actors themselves grow visibly more and more bored and sleepy as the movie goes on. If you genuinely do like zero-stakes, zero-production value, shapeless and pointless indie movies, then this may be for you. But do not watch it expecting it to be a horror movie, or a comedy, or a relationship drama, or a parody. It is mostly nothing.
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1/10
thank you
kc_bigc3 September 2009
i was worried that i would log on to my favorite internet movie data base and find that people enjoyed this, or were "pretending" to because of its artistic value. This was the most awkward and painful thing i have ever sat through. the only reason i did not turn it off was in the hopes that everyone would get brutally murdered by a guy with a bag on his head then the directors would have come from behind the camera and been stabbed as well. unfortunately that didn't happen so i was forced to gouge my eyes out and buy a braille computer. i do however feel sorry for 3/4 of the actors who i think i might of enjoyed(Ross Partride,Steve Zissis,Greta Gerwig) if they had lines, a script, plot, build-up, steady camera man, you know a fudging movie behind them? i was severely disappointed in blockbuster for having it on their shelves and will now be requesting that every store take his/her copy and burn it it doesn't matter if you're in the store out of the store just get rid of it please. its not even one of those i would suggest to watch for a good laugh...as a movie lover, do not see this movie, thank you
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2/10
Can we be serious here...
OrinHD24 February 2009
The ONLY redeeming thing about the filmmakers of this dung heap is that they managed to make the images stick to the tape. I think Sony actually had more to do with that than the filmmakers. No discernible script... Camera work that is vomit inducing in it's whip pans... focus (what's that?) and lighting that, well, wasn't. I've seen better movies made by elementary school students. Wait, this MAY have been made by elementary school students! OK... the actors get a point for their ability to improv but, thats it. One point above awful only. To call this a "style" of film-making is to give "Style" a bad name. I wonder if the director at the start of this film is channeling the actual filmmakers when he says that he made the film we see for $1000 which is twice what he wanted to spend.
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8/10
Very Good Film
mattfly12 March 2008
Bag head was a very good movie. I got a chance to see this here in Austin during SXSW Friday night. It was quite an interesting night.

I received and email from a good friend and movie enthusiast telling me, to go see this movie Friday night at midnight. I asked him what movie it was he came back with, its a secret but trust me its not to be missed.

So, I trusted my friend and went to the Alamo Drafthouse and caught this flick. I must say, thank you to him. The movie was awesome.

The Characters in the movie were quite possibly the best part about the movie. The relationships they formed with each other were believable, which is what every movie should have. Each character could be related to in almost every decision they made and every emotion they felt.

They movie was ended with a Q and A where the directors and actors talked about the movie. It was very informative and they announced the movie was picked up by Sony Pictures and was slated for a June/July US release. I will def. see this one again.
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2/10
A little pretentiousness goes a long way.
Jacques987 April 2009
Hypocrites. You know what the term means. The modest Christian girl that gave you the you're-a-piece-of-ungodly-filth look whenever you slyly grab a feel of your girlfriend's breast, then you found out a few weeks later that the oh-so-modest Christian girl is pregnant (. . . for the third time). Whether it's mature or not, these sort of simple character contradictions make us angry. If someone judges us, then contradicts their own standard, it's nearly impossible for us not to slap their flaw in their face. It's human nature. In a way, that's how I feel reviewing Baghead. Part of me wants to forgive the films faults and admit that I deep-down somewhat enjoyed it, then the other part of me wants to beat its face bloody for its blatant hypocrisy.

From the opening scene alone, the Duplass brothers make it clear that this is a parody of pretentious indie films. They laugh at the idea that everything low-budget is automatically a work of art. They buddy-slap each other on the arm and chuckle at how many pretentious indie films, labeled as art, just downright suck. For this, I cheered. Finally, I thought, someone has the balls to head-on assault the fine-cinema-whores. This feeling of satisfaction lasted until about 30 minutes into the film.

And then I found out that Baghead was pregnant for the third time. And I was mad.

Most of the dialogue in Baghead is improved. I have nothing against this, and for the most part, it worked decently. It certainly added freshness to the stale paint-by-the-numbers horror dialogue we could all recite in a coma if we had to. But then again, the dialogue is far anything special. This isn't Quentin Tarantino, by a long shot. I don't even remember a single line from Baghead, much less praise it for coming up with godly improvised dialogue. In reality, anyone and their half-drunk friends could say the things these characters say. It's a little fresh, but it's nothing special. That's where the first strike of hypocrisy comes in. It's impossible to overlook that the Duplass brothers, who just parodied the pretentiousness of indie films 30-minutes before, now expect to be praised for coming up with some average dialogue that they seem to think is the height of creativity.

Likewise, the plot is . . . well, okay, there isn't any real plot, and that's the point. Again, the idea of someone running around with a bag on their head and trying to scare you is fresh, but it's far from special or original or even creative. The movie has a very loose non-plot structure, but when you look at it overall, you see Baghead just treads the same exact cliché ground horror movies have treaded for years. All the predictable clichés are here. Topless girls, romantic subplots, lost friends, phone line cuts, car dismantling . . . need I go on, or can you fill in the rest on your own? As with the dialogue, the story structure is presented in a semi-fresh way, but it's still exactly the same thing you've seen thousands of times. If a 12-year-old were to write this story in an English paper, it would get a C- for lack of creativity. So, then, why do we praise this movie made by grown men? The Duplass brothers could think of a much more original story, but they don't. They, just like Hollywood, don't feel like putting out the effort to think of something we haven't heard a thousand times. Or even a hundred times.

I read a comment on one site that said this film was infinitely funnier than the big-budget Hollywood production Tropic Thunder. First, the falsity of that comment made me laugh harder than Baghead did. Second, based on comments like those, it seems the audience that liked Baghead simply liked it because it was low-budget. Close-minded, immature, childish thinking at its most extreme level: If it's indie, it's art; if it's Hollywood, it's crap—no exceptions. I put that statement on the same level of intelligence as I put: If I eat an apple a day, I won't get cancer; if I eat a muffin a day, I'll die of AIDS—no exception. Neither statement reflects reality.

What I'm trying to get across is this. Baghead is fresher and slightly more fun than most big-budget horror productions anymore, but that doesn't mean it's good. And that certainly doesn't make it art. When a 12-year-old kid writes this, it's lack of creativity. When two pretentious indie film makers write this, it's art. Uh-huh. If that's true, I might as well take some crayons, draw a few squiggles on a piece of white paper, put on my suit and tie, and, by God, I'm an artist. Pay me. I put as much effort into that crayon drawing as the Duplass brothers put into this story. So pay me, indie art fans. Pay me. I'm an artist. I swear I'm an artist.

2/10
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6/10
Draghead…. But don't be misled by the average rating.
Vorpa8 June 2009
The movie features a single shaky cam. This is not because the movie is independent, has a low budget or is part of some dogmatic dogma-movement. Well these three could all be true, but the main reason of a "shaky cam" is that it has relevance for the story, similar to a movie like Blairwitch Project. If you expect fast camera movement, multiple angles, supreme lightning and great special effects you shouldn't watch Baghead at all (and people should not devalue it because it doesn't look like the new Spiderman). So be prepared for primitive (but still quite amazing) photography.

Furthermore no one should watch this movie because of the suspense. The suspense is only a minor aspect of Baghead. From time to time it tries to scare you by being as real as possible. Occasionally Baghead succeeds in doing so. Although the average person would feel conned if I tell him this is a thriller or a horror. It is more close to a real life drama.

Personally I truly appreciate the endeavour to create a real movie without all the modern techniques. Techniques that so bluntly tell you you are watching something produced. There is no real score, no atonal violins at scary moments, no special effects and so on. Without this kind of tools a lot more weight is put on the acting and the story. The question then is: does the movie survive the lack of all these elements? Yes.

The acting is surprisingly refreshing. Although Greta Gerwig (playing Michelle) annoyed me from time to time. The story itself is not original but the characters are convincing, there are many interesting twists and there are reflexive side aspects to the story that lift it far above the average kind of "some people in a mountain shed getting scared" movie. Most importantly the whole movie has a natural flow without any scene feeling constructed for one purpose or the other. If you plan to watch this movie then watch it for the real and convincing manner it is brought to you, not for suspense or Hollywood skills.

In my view the colossal problem of Baghead though is the editing. It appears that all footage was neurotically and compulsory preserved in the final film. Quite often entirely predictable scenes drag on and on. Though they may look more real so to speak (for instance the scene where Chad is trying to hit on Michelle), they get one ready for bed immediately, no teeth brushing required. Especially the final scene is horribly slow and you can really hear yourself thinking: "get a move on all right!" In total the movie runs for about 2 hours. In general I like slow and long movies, but this one could really do with a 1:30 running time. It would not just be easier, faster and more accessible, it would have simply been better.

Verdict: 6
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1/10
Bag it
amosduncan_20005 August 2008
Well, it says something that they got this distributed by Sony.

After an amusing opening spoofing the low budget indie film world, the filmmakers go on to make what I guess they think is a spoof/comedy on said.

A very long hour and a half follows. I know the pudgy guy was funny and charming, because one of the other actors EXPLAINS that to us. It's that kind of movie.

The two actresses suggest they might be likable and talented if they ever end up in, you know, a MOVIE. That's about the nicest think you can say about this.
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3/10
Spoiler alert: this movies is just meh
princessmarya27 April 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I appreciate the funny moments of this movies, but I thought they tied it up an a very unrealistic manner, which really clashes with the nice character studies they built up throughout the film. I don't believe that any unattractive "brother like" friend would suddenly become a possible love interest to a "party girl" because he was injured and further rendered pathetic. I don't believe any footage they shot was so awesome as to be "film festival worthy", unless the whole cabin was rigged with cameras, you're talking about 5 minutes of POV footage of people screaming and running. That would be a small clip from the blair witch project, a movie that came out a decade ago. These actors may be dumb, but are they really that dumb to think they struck art-house gold on that? If so Im glad I don't live in LA. And I don't know why baghead appeared twice before the actor made the call to the movie maker, and yet the question is never raised, who was the original baghead? The movie is a bit sloppy on plot points.
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6/10
Mad props to the Duplass Brothers for this solid effort.
subxerogravity19 August 2017
You can't really count this as a horror film, yet it has all the elements and the ability to scare you. When I herd about the sub genre of Mumblecore, Mumblegore, I was curious at what that would look like, but as I discovered I already saw this with what I think is the best entry in the genre, You're Next, but the Duplass brothers are suppose to be the kings of the genre and this movie created it.

Strangely satisfying it has the ability to scare you without needing the gore part. The horror is really down to Earth and proves that it's all about the set up that makes a horror picture do well.

Enjoined it.
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4/10
Low Budget Early Effort
Paul-Aubrey-Rees30 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
I bought this film because the ratings here were (what I would consider) high. A 6 is a good film in my mind; almost no film deserves a 10 & 25% of people who voted for this voted 8 or above (over 6% a 10). These are very overrated scores in my opinion.

That said, this is definitely not a bad, early effort from the directors & the acting is fairly decent too for a low budget affair. I have seen so many low budget attempts that are no less than shocking (& not in the good way). This film deserves some credit.

So why a 4? I would like to have given it 4.5 but that isn't an option. It's not average, it is just below average. The storyline is interesting in concept, the 'twist' is reasonable & believable & the characters have some depth & certainly realism. It just didn't engage me wholly & it never makes the transition from drama to horror with the exception of one nice touch as Baghead calls the main character's bluff when confronted.

In essence a fair & interesting effort but not scary. More like being a fly-on-the-wall in some people's real life while a prank is being played out.
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5/10
Well-intentioned but executed with decidedly mixed results...
MrGKB20 February 2010
Warning: Spoilers
..."Baghead" is the sort of self-referential indie that promises a lot more than it can hope to deliver. Pretty much the handiwork of two very likable brothers (they wrote, produced, directed, shot and edited the thing), this little "Blair Witch Project" wannabee has none of that film's tension or atmosphere and a pay-off that falls flat on its face by comparison. To be honest, my rating of this one is more an acknowledgment of the effort involved than it is of the resultant entertainment experience. This was another public library find, and it's just as well; the less you pay to watch this one, the better.

The key weaknesses are the usual culprits: a mediocre script (apparently heavily improvised vis-a-vis dialog) and questionable casting and acting. Although efforts are made to establish relationships and character, it doesn't work; the mix of types and ages just doesn't ring true. The nebbish's romantic expectations defy common sense and suspension of disbelief, the bimbo is too transparently shallow (both actors, though at times likable, veer far more toward caricature than character), and the aging starlet would likely never be caught dead with either of these people. Only the ostensible hero/anti-hero registers on the credibility scale, mostly on the strength of the buddy relationship with the nebbish, but he's also the strongest actor of the quartet. "Baghead" is, unfortunately, an ensemble piece that fails to mesh properly; the audience needs to care about these people for the film to work, and that simply and regrettably isn't made possible. Cleverness and cuteness (such as there is in the film) cannot serve as substitutes for genuine insight; "Baghead" features much of the former and almost none of the latter.

Beyond that, I still have to admire the film for transcending its rock-bottom budget (faint praise, indeed, I know). With a more polished script and a more cohesive ensemble, "Baghead" might have been a genuinely worthy project. Instead, the film serves as little more than yet another illustration of Sturgeon's Law/Revelation, as well as the general unreliability of DVD packaging and reviewer blurbs. It may have limited appeal to the film-making types it seeks to comment upon, but most everyone else, it's little more than a time-killer with minimal reward for murdered minutes.
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4/10
uninspired film by a couple of talented guys
galmstadt6 September 2009
First off there's something going on in Hollywood. All the mid level independent's are disappearing. The Duplass Brothers who made a couple of shorts both of which I've seen and thought were great ( the Intervention and Scrapple) with wonderful acting and amazing scripting have been producing their work on minuscule budgets. Great!... sounds great to me were it not for the fact that their work is getting worse and worse at an amazingly rapid pace. From impressive shorts to the ultimately lukewarm and overly cute Puffy Chair to this uninspired and utterly disposable filler. I don't know much about the rest of the cast but Steve Zssis is a great actor and I know Mark Duplass himself is a fairly solid actor and knows what's up...so why is it that just about every desperate aspiring actor I've ever met in LA or elsewhere is more interesting and moving and has more behavior than the characters in this film? I found this film pretty dumb and insulting. it wants so badly to be liked and to work kind of well on a number of fronts and to show Hollywood it can make their kind of entertainment with next to nothing that it has done just that...made Hollywood garbage for next to nothing. Big whoop. Gerry Bruckheimer's waiting....

I personally hate entertainment most days but I even suggest watching a bigger budget film from a few years back with Neve Cambell. This one works poorly on just about all fronts and is even more repugnant being as these guys actually could probably do something pretty strong if they weren't pandering Hollywood scabs. As a character study of struggling actors and precarious relationships (probably the most interesting approach it could have taken) it's shallow, unfelt callous and uninsightful ....as a scary film it makes you jump successfully all of once and as a comedy it's barely funny at all. What a goddamned shame. waste of talent.
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6/10
Swear on your left gonad that you will not have sex with Michelle.
lastliberal5 July 2009
Is Mumblecore an accepted genre? There are still films being made that feature twenty-somethings and their relationships in low budget, often with hand-held digital camera. the Duplass brothers, Jay and Mark, writers and directors of this film, are solid in the mumblecore camp.

Here we have a mumblecore dramedy that has a horror aspect. It is not a horror film.

Chad (Steve Zissis) wants to hook up with Michelle (Greta Gerwig), Michelle wants Matt (Ross Partridge), and Catherine (Elise Muller - Revamped, Vampire Lesbian Kickboxers) is worried about her clicking clock.

They all head to a cabin in the woods to write a script. they kick around ideas, but don't get anywhere until Michelle sees someone with a bag over their head.

They joke around, thinking it is the others kidding around. But they start to write a script using the baghead idea.

It gets funny as Michelle strips thinking it is Matt. When she then tries to scare Catherine thinking it was her, and they all deny it, they really freak. But, they still play the game on each other until Chad swears he sees the baghead while they are all standing together.

The ending is not what you expect unless you are familiar with the genre.
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8/10
There's More Than One Use for a Shopping Bag
evanston_dad2 January 2009
In "Baghead," Matt, Chad, Katherine and Michelle are four Hollywood wannabes who go to a secluded cabin to write a screenplay. They get pretty much no work done, but spend plenty of time over petty practical jokes and obsessions with who likes who and who's screwing who. Things get weird when a strange figure wearing a bag over his head begins appearing in the woods, freaking all of them out to a progressively greater degree.

"Baghead" is one of those reflexive films about the process of making films. It blurs the line between reality and fiction, and whether intentional or not, it questions whether or not the democratization of film-making is good for the art form. Any four yahoos with a portable camera can now make a movie, but just because a movie is cheap and made outside of the Hollywood system does not make it automatically better. At the film's beginning, the four attend a screening of an underground film made for under $1,000 by a director they obviously worship, and I was never sure whether "Baghead" itself was an attempt at creating the kind of low-budget quality film the characters in it admire or whether it was poking fun at the whole idea. Maybe it's both.

Whatever its intentions, I liked the film, and especially liked where it went in its final moments, when these four rather boring people we've spent over an hour with become actual characters who we discover we actually care about.

Grade: A-
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