REVIEW: Turn Heel (2016)

Sometimes watching a movie where the filmmakers are clearly excited about their own work makes the enjoyment of the movie even more than you’d expect; their excitement becomes infectious, and it makes you really pumped about what you’re watching. The group, also known as Never Settled on a Name Films, takes what they refer to their “couch change budget” movie, Taken From Silence, and uses that no-budget nature to the max, bringing us something extra visceral and very brutal.

The film follows a man who experiences hyper-reality mental images, possibly flashbacks, of some very carnage-filled moments. These lead him to excessive drinking and eventually to murder, in a scene that Lloyd Kaufman of Troma tweeted will never make him look at hammers (or saran wrap) the same way again. I’d have to agree. Although very low budget with some minor production issues (audio leveling is a bit off, and dialog sometimes hard to hear, but the drudging drone musical score really grates the skin, as was clearly intended), the look and visuals of the film are far and beyond what most no-budget filmmakers put out, and it’s refreshing.

Often times, filmmakers complain that having no money means they’re creatively stifled, but that’s not the case here. Director Sean Friel leads the entire NSOAN team to an incredible first film, one that should not be missed. The film is available for free on Vimeo, but I highly recommend purchasing the 2-disc DVD set. Although I enjoyed the movie on its initial run, it was the follow-up viewing with director commentary that really made me love the film. Listening to these first time filmmakers talk in great detail about the filming, about how exciting it is, about how awesome they think this or that shot came out, it really makes you understand that just because they don’t have a budget, doesn’t mean that they don’t have immense passion and, clearly, a love for films.

I was very happy to have this film pop into my radar, and I suggest that fans of experimental, visual horror films give it a watch. NSOAN proves that you don’t need a budget to make a movie, you just need ambition, a camera, a couple gallons of fake blood, and at least one watermelon.

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