Directed by Warren Dudley
Starring – Parry Glasspool, Lucy-Jane Quinlan, Lydia Orange
UK DVD Release 1st June 2015 from Three Wolves Ltd
Runtime 76 Minutes
College teens Raz, Charlie and Jess are about to start work on their end of year Media Studies project. Their focus is on cyber-bullying. This leads them to the disappearance of two local girls. After investigating into this story, they are lead to an abandoned army barracks hidden deep in the forest that surround the college. What they find there is a terrifying maze of tunnels from which there seems no escape… and a dark figure hell-bent on tormenting them.
Firstly this film is found footage. But don’t let that put you off as there is a really well written story here and it’s very well shot, with very little nausea inducing shaky cam moments. Secondly it’s British and with the lack of British horror on the market at the moment this was a nice surprise.
Writer and director Warren Dudley has done impressively with a handsome budget of £12,000. The actors played the “natural” Found Footage style acting very well and coming across realistically and believable. The male lead Raz, played by Parry Glasspool, currently plying his trade on TV’s Hollyoaks , was the type of guy you love to hate. He is funny and cocky but does border on really annoying at times. The two other female leads are Charlie, played by Lucy-Jane Quinlan, who is Raz’s girlfriend. Which I only knew because it was mentioned in a “Blink and you’ll miss it” comment. She plays her role very well as the more sensitive and careful character of the central trio. The 3rd of the central cast is Jess, who’s played by Lydia Orange, and is the more adventurous and fun girl in the group but I felt her character was a little underutilised.
The opening scene is incredibly unsettling and gives you a peek of what horrors are to come. The film opens with a girl, tied to a bench, being tortured. In any other horror film, this would appear normal and we, as an audience, in a world of extreme violence and torture porn are desensitized to the macabre. But there’s a strangely light-hearted and happy song played over this scene. This really juxtaposes what was happening on screen and coupled with the girls petrified screams, makes the scene that much more disturbing and uncomfortable to watch. Although the actress, Mkaya Carrigan, is limited to screams and pleas for help, her acting talent is apparent. So hats off to her for being convincingly terrified.
The Cutting Room plays out as a mystery thriller, for the first half of the film anyway. I found myself trying to figure out the mystery along with our everyday trio. Giving away too much would spoil the film for everyone, but keep an open mind to look for the subtle clues.
The second half kicks into horror mode and doesn’t let up till the credits roll. The end sequence takes place in an Abandoned Army barracks which if I’m not mistaken is pretty much a first for a found footage film. This was filmed at Newhaven Fort in Sussex. When you see it on screen, you will think “What an awesome place for a horror film to take place in”. The winding corridors and mazy labyrinth built into the cliff face make for a brilliantly claustrophobic and freaky set piece. I just wish we spent a little bit longer down there. Kudos to Warren Dudley for putting this location on film.
I managed to speak to writer & director Warren Dudley after watching The Cutting Room and he was kind enough to shed some light on the making of this film. He hand-picked the main cast from around 200 applicants and he shot this film for £12,000 over 10 days. And now his film is on DVD shelves around the Country. I think that is pretty impressive. British Indie Horror is not dead after all.
I won’t spoil anything else, but if a low budget Found Footage British mystery/thriller/horror, done the right way is what you’re after then look no further as The Cutting Room delivers. Negatives- the underdeveloped relationship between 2 of the leads, not long enough spent in the tunnels and the often irritating male lead.
Verdict – I definitely recommend giving The Cutting Room a watch.
P.S Keep an eye out for a fun nod to The Blair Witch Project.
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