Sunday, February 3, 2013
Dear God No! (2011)
At this point, I think it's time to put a moratorium on Neo-Grindhouse movement. It was fun for a while, and we got some enjoyable movies out of it ("Grindhouse", "Drive Angry" and "Black Dynamite" for example), but there are more bad movies in this thing ("Cherry Bomb", "The Bleeding", "Bitch Slap" and "Black Devil Doll" for example) to make me think this needs to end.
Granted, one could argue "But Joe, these are supposed to be bad!", and I would say "That's no excuse." Many of the old Grindhouse movies weren't supposed to be bad. The fact that they were and weren't supposed to be can add to the charm. Trying to be a bad movie usually results in something that's not just bad, but hard to sit through. Such is the case for James Bickert's everything but the kitchen sink movie "Dear God No!"
The Impalers are a Satan loving biker gang on a rape and murder spree across the tri-state. After a bloody battle with a rival gang Satan's Own, they take refuge in a cabin in the backwoods of Northern Georgia that's owned by a disgraced Anthropologist. However, what they though would be another home invasion soon turns into something else entirely, because the good doctor has a hairy secret locked in his basement.
Shot on 16mm, "Dear God No!" clearly wants to be a lot of things. It wants to be a throwback to the days of hard drinking, testosterone driven biker movies. It wants to bring to mind the kind of offbeat, forgotten exploitation movies companies like Something Weird and Retromedia put out. It wants to remind you of movies like "Night of the Demon" and other Bigfoot movies. In short, it wants to be one big tribute to the glory days of 70's and early 80's exploitation.
That would be fine and all, but Bickert doesn't seem to fully realize what made those movies work. Sure, it's got gore, sadism and low budget how to, but in the process of trying to shock, it just comes off as tawdry instead of offensive. This is a movie that wants to offend with gleeful abandon, throwing in plenty of rape, boobs, gore, nun's being slaughtered and pregnant women being killed. However, it's attempts to shock and offend feel forced instead of inspired. Joe Harley at HorrorTalk said it best by comparing it to something like "Family Guy." It likes to think of itself as shocking and offensive, but in reality it's nothing but desperate.
One could argue "But Joe, it's exploitation!" You could make that argument, yes. However, older exploitation movies knew what their audiences wanted, and didn't come off as trying way too hard. Many of them pulled it off with ease. This is a cheap pretender to the throne that wants to earn it's exploitation stripes, but doesn't know how good exploitation movies work.