Saint Bernard - Severin Films
Written by Chris Mayo   
Thursday, 09 May 2019

SEVERED CINEMA REVIEW OF SAINT BERNARD FROM SEVERIN FILMS

Review of Saint Bernard from Severin Films
BUY SAINT BERNARD FROM AMAZON

Directed by: Gabriel Bartalos
Written by: Gabriel Bartalos
Produced by: Gabriel Bartalos
Cinematography by: Gabriel Bartalos, Roy Kurtluyan
Editing by: Christopher Seguine
Music by: Dave Klotz
Special Effects by: Atlantic West Effects
Cast: Jason Dugre, Katy Sullivan, Peter Iasillo Jr., Jack Doroshow, Bob Zmuda, Warwick Davis
Year: 2013
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1h 37min

Studio: Center Ring Entertainment
Distributor: Severin Films
 

The name Gabe Bartalos, might resonate with horror fans when it comes to the ghoulish special FX creations in such films as Gremlins 2, Texas Chain Saw Massacre 2, Leprechaun, Dolls, and Darkman. Not only is Bartalos an accomplished makeup FX man, but he also had a couple forays in directing Ė his first feature being Skinned Deep, a Texas Chain Saw Massacre-style horror comedy. This time around his sophomore effort, Saint Bernard, is finally seeing the light of day via Severin Films. The IMDb page for the film lists 2013 as the filmmaking year. Did it take six years to find a distributor? Or did it take six years to create? There is very little info out there. However, after trudging through the film, the answer could be either. Itís a special makeup FX dream, but also an insufferable nightmare.

I hated Saint Bernard. The film is a chore. The first third of the movie is so irritating, that it was physically and mentally painful to sit through. The upcoming Severin release should have an Ativan attached to the packaging. That said, even though I reviled the movie, it is ripe with merit, in the way of FX work, if you have the fortitude to endure it.

Saint Bernard is a non-linear surrealist experimental film that is weird for weird sake. Perhaps more acute viewers can ponder up some symbolism and meaning throughout, but unfortunately this viewer could not. The premise follows Bernard (Jason Dugre), a wannabe music conductor who literally runs around town adorned in a dishevelled white suite. For the entire 97-minute runtime, thatís all he does. Thatís it. Thatís what our hero does -- just run around a city, meeting random weirdos, being immersed in bizarre happenings. Aside from giving a complete plot synopsis of this non-linear story, Iíll instead mention some weirdness, highlights, and lowlights Ė all subjective of course.

So the title relates to the fact that our main character is named Bernard, and he carries around a severed Saint Bernard head in a sack during his cityscape running routine. In one scene he runs to a church where he finds a hippie priest is collecting dollars from his congregation. ďSon would you like to contribute to the lord?Ē asks the priest of our white suited robot. ďOh, no. Thank you very much though.Ē They discuss his dog head and then the priest goes nuts with dollar signs for eyes and then buddy all of a sudden has a suit of currency. When Bernard escapes he is outside in a city and people surround him and rip the bills from his body. After that he confronts the presidents on the bills. Bla, bla, bla. They wrestle, or rather, jostle, and scream in slow motion. Kill me.

He continues running around the fucking city. In one scene he calls out the name ďStatic BoyĒ like a dog. A big hairy potato-like creature with television static eyes appears and sprays liquid shit all over the ground. Then a caveman chick sees his severed dog head and jumps his bones, literally. Shortly after, is when we get to the greatest sequence in the movie. The caveman chick tries to steal his dog head, and meets karma by way of a cripple driving a van, running over her legs in a brutally gory and awesome showing of practical FX work. The cripple hops over to her on his legless stumps and punches her in the face a couple times. He scoops her tears with a spoon and pours the tears on her mangled legs. He then covers her in a Costco-sized bag of table salt. ďThisíll wake you up. Fuckiní bitch. Walkiní in traffic anymore will ya?Ē (Yes, thatís what he said, there wasnít a Ďwonítí in the sentence). He climbs up into his van and drives off.

Warwick Davis (Lifeís Too Short, Leprechaun) later makes an appearance as a dude manning a lumber yard. Thereís a bunch of drug paraphernalia imagery. Thereís wet keys and coins. There are hairy stickmen. There are parachuting raw chicken carcasses. Then, more running.

Touted as being shot of 16mm and 35mm it is competently shot with impressive set-pieces and top-notch makeup FX work. For the little bursts that our hero stops running there are some absolutely awesome creatures and monsters and gore. Sadly, this would have worked much better as a short film. A really short film, mainly highlighting the makeup FX. But alas, its over 90-minute runtime feels even longer.

Surely Saint Bernard will find an audience with Severinís new release. Many will find it charming, and not just weird for weird sake. I canít say Iím glad I watched the film. However. I am glad that I witnessed some of the FX work. I guess, for viewers like myself, itís your cross to bear. You have to wade through trash to find some shining moments. Unfortunately the film gets a low rating for being a miserable experience aside from some killer FX.

 

 

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 RATING:
 MOVIE: 1 
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3.22 Copyright (C) 2007 Alain Georgette / Copyright (C) 2006 Frantisek Hliva. All rights reserved."

Last Updated ( Thursday, 09 May 2019 )