Title: Outtake Reel
Directors: Scott Feinblatt, Jeffry Chaffin
Starring: Ava Santana, Tiffany Shepis, Scott Feinblatt, Jeffry Chaffin
Successful horror movies have always thrived on their element of surprise. But many modern fans of the genre feel that these movies also need gore, violence and nudity to truly be shocking, director-screenwriter-actor Scott Feinblatt begs to differ with his new movie, ‘Outtake Reel.’ The film, which is being released by Dervish Pictures and was an official selection at this year’s San Antonio Horrific Film Festival, surprisingly succeeds in its goal to prove that with the right plot twists and turns, horror movies don’t have to be just visually scary to be frightening.
‘Outtake Reel’ is presented as the found footage of cameraman Danny Wilson (played by co-director/editor Jeffry Chaffin), who is determined to create a behind-the-scenes documentary for the DVD release of horror director Tom Grayson’s (portrayed by Feinblatt) new film. Danny doesn’t agree with Tom’s philosophy that horror movies should focus on the story instead of the gore and violence that have made the genre popular in recent years; however, Tom is still one of Danny’s favorite filmmakers.
Danny tries to impress Tom after the lead actress, Ashley Swan (played by Ava Santana), fails to listen to his direction. So Danny decides to kidnap Ashley from her house. He then makes Tom film her while her tortures her. At first, Tom is appalled by Danny’s determination to make a snuff film. But Tom eventually gives in to Danny as he’s intrigued by the experiment.
Feinblatt deserves credit for wanting to make a horror film that didn’t feature the heavy nudity, violence and gore that fans of the genre have come to expect. He has said that he liked the idea of making a movie that focuses on a horror film director who holds similar convictions to his own, but was forced to create a horrifying scene. Not only did Feinblatt succeed in his mission to depict his idea that a story can be presented as scary through its plot-line and characters instead of its visual effects, there were also several surprising twists and turns.
There are several instances where viewers will surely feel as though they know exactly what’s happening and why, such as the scene where Danny is torturing Ashley. However, as the script continues to unfold, surprising new scenarios are presented, leaving audiences questioning what was real and what was part of Tom’s script. Feinblatt proved that the element of surprise truly can be more shocking than unrelatable characters being chased and killed in unrealistic ways.
While Feinblatt’s reasoning for making ‘Outtake Reel’ is unique, the interesting themes are unfortunately overshadowed by the unconvincing acting by some of the stars. Santana, for example, seemed determined to prove her talent in the beginning of the movie, when Ashley was supposed to be auditioning for Tom’s film. However, as ‘Outtake Reel’ continued, she not only didn’t connect to Ashley’s rebellious side, she also didn’t react to, or even seem interested in, what any of the other characters had to say.
Dervish Pictures took an interesting chance when it decided to release ‘Outtake Reel.’ While most horror movies, particularly those without big budges or well-known actors, try to include as much gore and violence as possible in order to attract as many viewers as possible, ‘Outtake Reel’ instead took the risky chance of focusing on a more developed plot-line. While Feinblatt deserves credit for adding twists and wanting to tell a true horror story, the unpersuasive acting by many of the stars unfortunately takes away from his best efforts.
Written By: Karen Benardello