For the uninitiated, Demarbre is a Canadian film maker whose credits include the cult film Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter, which was shot on a budget of $45,000.
His latest offering, Smash Cut, which made its world debut at Montreal's 2009 edition of the Fantasia Film Festival, is an equally low budget nod to schlock impresario Herschell Gordon Lewis (Two Thousand Maniacs, The Wizard of Gore). While such a film would seem like a natural opportunity for someone from the adult film realm to use as a segue into the mainstream, a later production – Steven Soderbergh's "The Girlfriend Experience" also starring Grey - was released well before Smash Cut, making this look like her second mass market role, when, in fact, the reverse is true. All of which is too bad for Grey, who is the only member of the cast who displays anything remotely approaching acting talent.
The story, such as it is, is thin, and one can suppose that Demarbre was merely looking for a vehicle for tongue-in-cheek humor and gore. A down on his luck director by the name of Able Whitman (played by veteran shock horror actor David Hess of original Last House on the Left fame), dismayed by the critical reception to his cheap films special effects, decides to use real human body parts to impart realism. His first victim turns out to be a relative of April Carson (Grey), a reporter for a local television station. With the backing of her station manager (H.G. Lewis) she sets out to infiltrate Whitman's production by responding to a casting call.
None of this really matters, though, as the film's true mission is to emulate the low budget schlock of Lewis' films, which it does admirably and is about the only critical compliment I can give this film.
Overall the story is poorly executed trash. In keeping with the Lewis factor, everyone involved with the exception of Grey seems to be trying to outdo each other on the bad acting scale. Lines appear to be not merely improved, but takes are used that show actors struggling on the fly to think them up.
Grey, whose acting is wildly uneven, is the only cast member who shows any potential of being able to believably take on a role, whether or not this was by choice or accident, given the atrocious performances turned in by the rest of the cast, is a matter for further debate.
What's unfortunate, however, is that this movie will be released after Grey's performance in Soderbergh's "The Girlfriend Experience", and look like a step down from a promising debut.
What's not in question here is Grey's acting ability, but the projects she chooses to appear in from here on in. Some of this may not be within her control, given her ongoing career in the adult realm, but choosing to appearing a mainstream film that has all the look, feel, and production values of a porn film (minus the sex) can hardly be taken as a wise career move.
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