Plot: Dresden (Joey Kern) and his brother Dominic (Luke Edwards) came to Hollywood to make horror movies and become famous, but like many others before them, their quest for fame and fortune hasn’t panned out. The two have exhausted all potential leads and at this point, are close to the point of having to move back home and begin more normal lifestyles. But one last chance presents itself when a contest offers $250k to the best indie horror movie, so the brothers decide to roll the dice. The two want to make a mock snuff movie, shock the audience, and take home the prize. But when casting is sketchy and their creative vision starts to fade, Dresden has an idea that could make their movie stand out from the pack. He wants to actually kidnap an actress, make her think she is going to die, and film the entire experience. Dominic is hesitant, but with no other options, agrees to go all in with this insane plan. The lead will be Jennifer (Bree Williamson), a spunky young actress who impressed during auditions. When the shoot begins, the brothers clash constantly over the approach they should take, not to mention Jennifer proves to be more than they bargained for. Will this mock snuff movie finally make the brothers the famous filmmakers they’ve always wanted to be, or will they wind up in prison instead?
Entertainment Value: This one is marketed as a horror movie, but A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff is more of a dark comedy, for the most part. I figured the narrative would follow two horror fanatics who cross a line to pursue their cinematic dreams, but the brothers don’t have much horror passion. The movie has a lot of cinema references, but most are just mainstream movie quotes and when Jennifer reveals she has seen Halloween, the brothers consider her a cinephile. So yeah. I like the premise here, especially since it involves a strong female character who is assumed to be weak, but proves she is much more than a typical victim. The ineptness of the brothers is what drives the movie, as the two try to salvage their dream, but keep self sabotaging and of course, have no idea how to handle Jennifer. The final third of the movie takes a new direction and really shines, as Bree Williamson takes the focus and runs with it. Her performance is so much fun to watch, as she is able to convey such depraved mania, just a wild and unhinged effort that steals the show. I just wish the entire movie was about her, as when she is given the chance to carry, she more than delivers. While horror fans might feel a little mislead, A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff is still recommended, if only for Bree Williamson’s fantastic and fun performance.
A quick shot or two of a fake penis, but that’s all the nakedness. The blood isn’t heavy flow, but some red stuff pops in time to time. A throat slash, attempted thumb chop, and finger dicing are all seen, as well as an odd scene where Jennifer is waterboarded with dog’s blood. A tense scene teases the potential of a dick being chopped off by a katana, which is always fun. I still dislike the digital blood splash across the screen, but there’s some fun violence in this one. The dialogue is a blend of cringe talk from the brothers and bad ass verbal assault from Jennifer. She has the best lines, but some of the cringe is so awkward, it proves to entertain. I also think most of the dialogue once the snuff shoot starts is pretty fun, especially as Jennifer begins to realize she is dealing with clowns, not professional torture artists. Not a ton of big money lines, but Jennifer has some good ones now and then. In terms of craziness, the final third of the movie has all the off the wall moments, as Jennifer goes off the deep end. The scene where she tries to force the brothers into oral incest at gunpoint is hilarious, but once she’s in control of things, the craziness ramps up. So outside of the final stretch and Williamson’s wild performance, not much out of the norms here.
Overall Insanity: 3/10