A twisted, hilarious horror comedy that certainly doesn’t hold back when it comes to the blood and gore, Red Velvet is also a clever and cliché-twisting piece of work from director Bruce Dickson (and from the warped mind of Anthony Burns, who wrote the screenplay).
Aaron (Henry Thomas) is in a bad mood after hearing yet another argument between his attractive neighbour, Linda (Kelli Garner), and her “dumbf**k boyfriend” so when the two meet in a launderette he is not the friendliest of people. Linda is both exasperated and intrigued by this brash, confident man and when he invites her to eat while the laundry cycles finish she eventually goes along. During the meal Aaron explains that he’s a storyteller and, when asked to prove it, he creates a story centred around the party at a rather isolated cabin that Linda was supposed to be at for the weekend but that she missed thanks to her boyfriend. A killer is created between the pair of them and things soon get messy and hilarious as Aaron and Linda discuss and argue over the finer points of the killing spree, from what the killer should look like to the various methods of killing people used. All illustrated cinematically and constantly changing depending on the whims of our storyteller.
The lazy way to describe Red Velvet is to liken it to a horror riff on Big Fish. Or even Baron Munchausen with a psycho killer. But that’s selling it short. Somehow managing to feel both fast and loose and tight and extremely clever, Red Velvet works on a number of levels and for a multitude of reasons.
The actors are all pretty good. Thomas (who will always be that little boy from E.T. to some but who is well known to genre fans who enjoyed discovering Dead Birds a few years ago) is a standout, channelling the spirits of Bruce Campbell, Stifler from American Pie and the brothers Grimm. Garner isn’t quite as good but still does very well with her role. Nobody featured in the slasherama story really disappoints though Bret Roberts stands out with his character being revised the most throughout the telling of the tale.
The script is fantastic. Okay, it may seem a little too stylised during the opening scenes but that soon disappears when the performances get you warming to the characters and realising that they all have their certain way of fulfilling their roles.
But it’s all brought together expertly by Bruce Dickson, directing for the first time and showing a heck of a lot of natural talent. It’s clear that Dickson has a love of the genre and the smarts to know what fans will enjoy and just how to deliver the goods while also giving everything an entertaining twist. There are many shots here that could have come straight from one of the first few Friday The 13th movies but there are just as many unlike anything I’ve seen in the genre before now, including my new favourite death scene of the year due to it’s nastiness and comedic value.
Another movie that asks the viewer to go along with the joke and enjoy the ride, Red Velvet will surely upset just as many horror fans as it amuses (I heard a few people complaining on the way out that they had come to see horror movies and not comedies – pah! is what I say to them) but it is a movie I wanted to watch again almost as soon as it had ended and so, despite some of the flaws noticeable because of the low budget, I swithered and deliberated and eventually went from a 7 to an 8 out of 10.
DIRECTOR: BRUCE DICKSON
STARS: HENRY THOMAS, KELLI GARNER, JORDAN HAGAN, BRET ROBERTS, DINA LYNNE MORISHITA, ERIC JUNGMANN
DURATION: 87 MINS APPROX