How do you recreate a film that never existed?
That was the impending question looming over Cornerhouse Artist director Jamie Shovlin and pals as they attempted to build upon the imaginary teen-slasher film of fictitious exploitation director Jesus Rinzoli.
A puzzling concept to say the least, this self-described “metamentory” documents the highs and lows of low-budget filmmaking that is part community project and part ode to the exploitation films of the mid-1970s to mid-80s. Simulating pre-existing footage of earlier slasher movies (Evil Dead, Torso, etc), Shovlin and his team are able to create an abstract version of the mythical film Hiker Meat across three segments: the beginning, the end and a trailer. Filmed in the English Lake District over a harrowing seven-day shoot, Rough Cut is a master class in amateur filmmaking from the homemade (though brilliant) prosthetics and lighting effects to the in-house scoring and over dubbing.
Despite nature daring to hamper production, the team are able to capture some genuinely wonderful imagery, and the multi-screen editing creates a charming cut and paste vibe that the project reflects. The decision to overdub all the footage is arguably the most intriguing aspect of the film and one that grounds the vintage mood the team aim to execute. Here we see different actors mimicking American accents over the reconstructed footage, as well as the pleasant vision of the team at their most playful and amusing. They truly are enjoying their work, which makes for easy viewing.
For all its strong points, Rough Cut runs for a little too long to relate to the casual watcher. Aspiring filmmakers will relish this stripped down reveal of how to make a film but the lack of charisma from the makers and their monotonous delivery becomes a little off-putting and at times conceited. It may be harsh to judge as they are not performers, but as subjects for a full-length documentary they are not very captivating.
Rough Cut was released on 6th December 2013.
Watch the trailer for Rough Cut here: