2020 • USA • 77 min.
Director: Nicholas Payne Santos
Screenwriter: Nicholas Payne Santos
Cast: John Anderson, Charles Gould, Quinn Jackson
March 28, 2020 @ 7:00 pm
Sometimes a film comes along that makes you re-examine popular film tropes with newfound appreciation. It Cuts Deep is one of those films – opening on a recognizable set-up of a young angry murderer well on his way to becoming a psychopathic serial killer a la many an 80s slasher classic.
Cut to Sam and Ashley, a 30-something couple who have hit a crossroads in their relationship. Ashley is ready for marriage and children while Sam prefers to avoid the topic altogether. They take a holiday to an isolated cabin where Sam used to vacation with his family before the aforementioned tragedy struck. Soon, they run into Sam’s childhood friend Nolan – a strapping, charming family man who possesses everything Sam is lacking as far as traditional “husband material” goes. As you might expect, their little holiday rapidly descends into chaos.
While this may sound like a story we’ve heard before, It Cuts Deep takes several hard turns through different genres, constantly subverting audience expectations. First-time feature filmmaker Nicholas Santos shows a brilliant ability to balance many tones at once, veering between relationship drama, dark comedy, slasher, and psychological horror with agility rarely seen in even veteran filmmaking.
Even more brilliant is Santos’s script, in which each line of dialogue is loaded with double meaning: surface-level politeness and a teeth-gritting tension based on years of history, resentment, and secrets between the trio. Everyone delivers their dialogue with perfect control, allowing both meanings and a snappy but subtle sense of humor to shine.
A clever, economical, and effective send-off of the slasher film, It Cuts Deep aims to surprise and hits its mark at every turn.
Manny Serrano, USA, 10 min.
On Halloween night, a group of friends play a game, with a supposedly haunted Matryoshka doll, which unleashes more than a few tricks or treats.