Friday, November 8, 2013

Horror Film Review

The Mole Man of Belmont Avenue (2013):  Low-budget creature feature that's better than it has any right to be.  As a rule, films with Robert Englund in them that don't have the words "Elm Street" in the title are, well, stinky.  Additional strikes against it include unknown lead actors, who also happen to be the writers and directors, and an inordinate number of dead pets.  Funny how killing a cat or dog in a movie upsets us more than killing a person.  Not funny ha-ha.  Anyway, despite these potential negatives, The Mole Man of Belmont Avenue is goofy and spoofy...if not toothy. 

Slacker brothers Marion and Jarmon Mugg (Mike Bradecich and John LaFlamboy) own a rundown apartment building in Chicago.  The gas has been turned off, they're stealing electricity from the church next door, and tenants are starting to bail.  Oh, and pets have gone missing.  Lots of pets.  They witness a man-shaped creature absconding with a dog, predictably freak out, and then try to figure out what to do.  First, they clean out an animal shelter thinking keeping it fed is the way to go.  That doesn't go as well as they expected.  Next, they pick up a homeless man (Tim Kazurinsky), cook him a steak dinner in exchange for cleaning out the basement.  Again, things don't turn out (SNL alum Kazurinsky is hysterical, by the way).  Eventually, after much commiserating in the bar, Marion and Jarmon decide they must kill the puppy-munching monster themselves.  If they can keep from killing each other first. 

The biggest surprise in this movie?  The idiot passenger in those Sonic restaurant commercials plays a stoner.  The scariest thing in this movie?  Mike Bradecich.  He looks and talks so much like Seth Rogen that it's frightening.  The dumbest thing in this movie?  The scenes with the cops.  Unrealistic, unnecessary, and unfunny.  The best thing in this movie?  The chemistry between Bradecich and LaFlamboy.  You'd think they're real brothers. 

The Skinny

Acting:  The mains are good enough.  Some of the supporters...not so much.
Story:  If I'm honest, there are plot holes.  Legions of them.  Not that it matters.
Direction:  Let's just say it's laid back.  Practically comatose in some places. 
Production Values:  $350,000 sure doesn't go very far these days.  It's not that it looks just feels cheap.  At least it's on film and not video.
Gore/FX:  No blood to speak of.  They don't show the demise of any of the pets.  I was fine with that.  What we do see of the mole man is prosthetics and rubber.  No CGI that I can remember.
Scares:  Not really what they were going for.
Ending:  Odd and not terribly satisfying.
Verdict:  Should you see The Mole Man of Belmont Avenue?  Oh, I don't know.  Certainly not if you want a straight horror flick.  But if you're looking for something a little different and don't hate Seth Rogen, you could do worse than this. 

Rating:  3 out of 5

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