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Grim - Troma Entertainment Print E-mail
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Written by Ray Casta   
Thursday, 21 April 2011
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Grim DVD on Severed Cinema
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Directed by: Adrian Santiago
Written by: Adrian Santiago
Produced by: Adrian Santiago
Cinematography by: Adrian Santiago
Cast: Christopher Dimock, Jack Pinder, Scott A. Mollette, Jason Ramirez, Brad Hartliep, Niko Red Star, Brandi Price, Todd Gable
Year: 2010
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1 h 36 min

Distributor: Troma DVD

As a worthy throwback to 1970's grindhouse, Adrian Santiago's "Grim" honors revenge cinema with a tough attitude and gritty violence.  The film tells the story of Nicholos Grim (Christopher Dimock) and his thirst for vengeance.  Halfway through the film, Grim justifies his rampage by stating simply, "If I got a reason to kill him, he has a reason to die."  When he was a young boy, he was abducted along with his mother and father by a radical group known as the UAB, a heavily armed, organized pack of militants.  Frightened, they're taken to an open field where the young Grim is forced to witness his father beaten to a pulp.  The militants then execute his father and mother right in front of his eyes, and leave the little boy for dead.  He is found by a man and his wife who adopt him.  Grim grows up with the knowledge on how to use a rifle, and with one thing on his mind: Revenge.

Set against the backdrop of Texas, "Grim" takes place in a world of anarchy.  We are told the movie's villains -- the UAB -- are biker thugs, who formed their own government after an economic fallout.  The group is lead by Atticus Miller (Scott A Mollette) and Romeo (Niko Red Star).  They are as ruthless as they come.  We are told the United States has been taken over by ragtag militant groups like the UAB.  The White House and the government have been overthrown and the country has been plagued with poverty.  This concept is quite clever.  With a bigger budget, the full effect of the economic fallout and the militant groups taking over the country would be awesome to see.  Unfortunately, we don't get to see it in the movie, we only hear about it.  Regardless, Adrian Santiago deserves credit for this ambitious concept.

Aside from its bold concept, "Grim" is very much a standard revenge story.  The screenplay by Adrian Santiago does not overcomplicate itself nor does it go too far over the top.  Filmed with a high-definition camera, the cinematography is sharp while still highlighting a gritty atmosphere in which the characters occupy.  Although the country is supposed to be overrun and damaged by poverty, the cinematography paints a portrait of alienation.  There is a quiet atmosphere for a good part of the movie with action sequences interspersed.  Filmed with such a low-budget, the film impresses in the way Adrian Santiago did nearly everything by himself.  Wearing many hats, he is not only the director of the piece but he's the producer, writer, cinematographer and editor.

Although "Grim" lacks an overall emotional punch, it's pretty vicious throughout.  From the opening scene, where a mother and father is killed in front of their son, we realize the director doesn't intend to play around with his viewers.  Grim watches as his father gets brutally beaten and then as his brains get blown out.  There is also a depiction of fingernail torture, bloody corpses and some shootouts.  Squibs are ridiculous, though it never gets distracting.  Unlike most Troma releases, the effects here aren't so gleefully over the top in its silliness.  "Grim" is pretty well acted despite some atrocious performances.  Fight choreography is sloppy, to the point where we have a difficult time following what's going on.  The film's biggest flaw is that it never feels like there is a "greater" purpose or something "at stake."  Once the lead character gets to the very end of the journey, it feels unsatisfying.

Influenced by Sergio Leone, Adrian Santiago is an auspicious, budding young director.  For a mere sum of $2,500, he juggled numerous duties, and he truly did an commendable job with practically nothing.  I applaud him for his efforts here.  Even though it's a flawed film, "Grim" demands respect.

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Troma presents "Grim" with a solid DVD treatment.  Their biggest mistake is wrongly marketing the film as "The most fucked up film of the year," which it is very far from.  Despite the false marketing scheme, they do a nice job making it look crisp and clear visually.  You get an odd (and in my opinion, unfunny) introduction to the movie by Troma head honcho Lloyd Kaufman and the always terrific Debbie Rochon.  There is an audio commentary provided by Adrian Santiago.  Without a doubt, it should be a required listen for up and coming, aspiring filmmakers all over.  He'll discuss his influences,  There is a production slideshow, an original trailer and of course, there's standard Troma-esque extras that are normally included in their releases.

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

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Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

Grim Screenshot Image on Severed Cinema

 RATING:
 VIDEO: 1 
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 AUDIO: 1 
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 DVD: 1 
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 MOVIE: 1 
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 DVD SPECS:
 Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1, 16x9 Widescreen
 Region: NTSC 0
 Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0


 SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIAL:
 - Director Commentary
 - Slideshow
 - Original Trailer

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 21 April 2011 )
 
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