Plot: Errol (Nicholas Urda) and Ellis (Andres Montejo) are aspiring filmmakers who have chosen to shoot a documentary, one with an interesting central figure, a man named Noel (Aidan Bristow). He has just been released from prison after nearly a decade for a crime of passion, so his experiences should be of interest and his transition back into the normal world also offer rich potential. Noel proves to be a friendly, respectful, and always interesting persona, but after a few weeks of interviews and conversations, the crew learns Noel hasn’t been totally honest. As it turns out, he has never been to prison and in fact, he is an active serial killer. The decision to turn him in or continue the project is a tough one for the filmmakers, as this could be a once in a lifetime chance to document this kind of sadistic mind.
Entertainment Value: I’ve seen this premise before a few times, a serial killer being documented by a crew of filmmakers, but Strawberry Flavored Plastic is able to take that concept and make it fresh. The focus here is on narrative and especially character development, so this isn’t just a horror movie with a faux documentary veneer, but a capable, well crafted thriller. The slow burn pace might throw some viewers off, especially those in search of bloodshed or visceral scares, but there is an unsettling eeriness here that more than balances that out. The time taken to flesh out these characters and build tension pays off many times over, so this is not like most of the serial killer movies out there. I also have to think this will lure in viewers who might not usually explore the horror genre, such as true crime fans or thriller buffs, since the movie devotes so much time to how Noel’s mind works, rather than just the violence and chaos of his life. In other words, Strawberry Flavored Plastic is much more thoughtful than you might expect and tackles the subject matter in an interesting, thought provoking way, helping it stand out from the crowd. I’d recommend this one to those interested in horror, true crime, and character studies in general, as this movie is quite a well crafted ride.
Another element that helps Strawberry Flavored Plastic work better than a lot of its peers is that the cast is more than competent, so it feels more real and believable. This is especially true in the case of Aidan Bristow, as the role of Noel is crucial to the movie and without a strong effort, the entire picture would have collapsed. So much of the film’s impact depends on Bristow’s performance, but he pushes through and really nails the imbalanced, but controlled persona of Noel. The little flashes of anger and chaos shine through and that couldn’t have been an easy task, coupled with how controlled and refined he needed to be otherwise. I was impressed with Bristow throughout, a terrific and highly effective performance. The cast also includes Andres Montejo, Bianca Soto, and Nicholas Urda, while Colin Bemis directed the movie.
The Disc: This movie was released by Breaking Glass Pictures, who provided a solid visual presentation here that should satisfy fans. The movie has elements of found footage and those look as they should, while other scenes have a sharper, more refined presence. In other words, the transfer does what it should and the movie looks rock solid in all aspects. You can also listen to audio comments from the cast & crew to learn about the production and how the concept was developed, as well as browse some deleted scenes.