Wednesday, June 8, 2005


EI Independent Cinema's Shock-O-Rama label continues to be a mixed bag, quality wise, but I have to admit I rather enjoyed Jon Keeyes' low-key horror/black comedy, SUBURBAN NIGHTMARE (2004).

Shot on video, with a cast of about a half-dozen and taking place entirely in one location, the production makes no attempt to disguise its microscopic budget. In fact, the filmmakers endeavor nobly to make that low budget into an asset, by exploiting their limited resources to create a claustrophobic, tension-filled scenario.

The plot, such as it is, is simple: a husband and wife (who happen to be cannibalistic serial killers) decide, one fateful evening, that the romance is gone and it's time to end their marriage…in the best way they know how. That's it. A few other characters wander in and out during the course of the evening's festivities, but that's really all there is to the story. Fortunately, stars Trent Haaga and Brandy Little were able to keep my interest as they worked through their marital difficulties. A current of dark humor runs through the proceedings, and there's a halfway decent surprise or two in the course of events. Not a classic, but it's not bad, either. You may find it worth a rental.

EI's disc presents a full-frame transfer of the shot-on-tape feature, with a commentary track from director Keeyes, and the film's editor. The disc includes several behind-the-scenes featurettes, the usual slew of EI/Seduction Cinema/Shock-O-Rama trailers and fun Easter Egg that reveals some of the on-set shenanigans involving a large, black… well, you can check it out for yourself.

BUY: Suburban Nightmare