Dear God No! DVD Review - Mania.com



Dear God No! DVD Review

Mania Grade: D-

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Info:

  • Starring: Jett Bryant, Madeline Brumby, Paul McComisky, Olivia LaCroix
  • Written By: James Bickert
  • Directed By: James Bickert
  • Original Year of Release: 2012
  • Distributor: Big World Pictures
  • Series:

Dear God No! DVD Review

Neo-faux exploitation doesn't get it

By Chuck Francisco     June 04, 2012
Source: Mania.com

You have to be a special brand of film buff to dig on exploitation films. That's not a slight on anyone who doesn't see the appeal; it's reality ripping out through the seedy under belly of a shameless subtype of cinema. Some people get it and some simply don't. The trouble of it all comes along when some of those that don't understand exploitation happen to be film makers. The genre wave we're currently surfing is largely thanks to Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino, whose Grindhouse was a love letter to bygone film going era, and suffered only slightly from too high a budget to feel authentic. Still it was an awesome time and led into Rodriguez's delightfully sleazy Machete, which would finally give Danny Trejo leading man status and confirm everything we ever suspected about Lindsey Lohan. The only disappointment to be spawned directly by their excellent tribute was Hobo with a Shotgun, which failed directly because it wasn't an earnest effort; it didn't have heart and it wasn't a serious attempted by an auteur director who was severely constrained by budget and talent.

And now we have Dear God No! which really very much wants you to think of it in the same vein as biker flicks from the 60's and 70's; the days they co-ruled the drive-in format along with Sexsploitation gems. It's evident right from the start that this picture doesn't grasp the entirety of the exploitation concept right from the get go: as the film opens there's an incredibly heavy over usage of a film grain damage filter. I'd like to qualify this a bit by saying that I cohost repertoire horror film screenings in 35mm and love when a print has "character" and still the amount of filtering used in Dear God No! Made my mind flash right to thinking "really?". As quickly as it's an ingrained part of the film, the over texturing is gone and doesn't really show up again until much later in the film. It isn't subtle either and took me right out when it suddenly reappears out of nowhere. It's jarring.

The amount of absurdities contained here read like a laundry list:  nuns raped, strippers in Richard Nixon masks, Sasquatch, children shot, mad scientist, nazis, gun fights, revenge murders and pregnant women raped (oh my!). Take any two of those for the plot of your film and you're probably golden but it seems like the writers here literally said "how can we make our movie more outrageous?" over and over again (I'm imagining it in a Jerry Lewis voice). Sooner or later that breaks the film and the viewers of their ability not to roll their eyes. When the seesaw tips from movie makers trying their best to tell you a story (sensationally exploitative or not) to simply being outrageous for the sake of added layers of perceived crazy then the line's been crossed into Troma territory. There's no returning from that. You can't un-wink and nod at the audience.

The list of faults also reads like a laundry list: our main biker clearly has beard extensions on, groan worthy acting, weak gun wound effects, odd character motivations and the aforementioned shoehorn approach intended to shock audiences. What does Oh God No! have going in it's favor? Tits. Loads of tits. Extended stripper dance scenes and a topless strip club gun fight which is (sadly) not nearly as awesome in it's execution as it sounds.

There's a market for this film among the faux exploitation fans out there and fans of Troma. If you really enjoyed the shit out of Zombie Strippers, Hobo with a Shotgun or Chillerama then this overwrought excursion is likely right up your alley. If you enjoy actual exploitation films I'd recommend you steer clear. The beauty of those classics is that they were earnestly trying, they had heart. This film just has a list of crazy-zany topics which it parades before you like a broken YouTube channel minus the funny.
 

Chuck Francisco is a columnist for Mania writing Saturday Shock-O-Rama, the weekly look into classic cult, horror and sci-fi. He is a horror co-host of two monthly film series at the world famous Colonial Theatre in Phoenixville, PA (home of 1958's 'The Blob'): First Friday Fright Nights and Colonial Cult Cinema.You can delve further into his love of all things weird and campy on his blog, The Midnight Cheese or hear him occasionally guesting on eminent podcast You've Got Geek. 

COMMENTS AND RESPONSES

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1 
InnerSanctum 6/4/2012 11:41:18 AM

 Where is a review for Monster Bash?  I saw the ridiculous trailer for that film and laughed out loud.  Your top monsters on a PFV fighting it out to the bitter end.  Doesn't even register on Netflix radar.  Must be so bad....gotta see it.  

Laffo 6/6/2012 6:38:13 AM

 

 You have to be a special brand of journalist to write something as preposterous as the words "beard extensions." In this day and age a simple Google search would have resulted in clearing up two, of the stupidest things I have read in a while. The first being that Jett Bryant or any of the rest of the cast had "beard extensions." Hell, I played Bigfoot and didn't glue any hair on. Secondly you are so sure that the film is shot on video and uses filters to make it look like old film stock. Well, I stood in freezing North Georgia waterfalls waiting to reload film magazines, so I guess the joke is on me. When shooting the first scenes blowing up the Nuns' Van at my DRIVE IN THEATER we waited to roll FILM while difficulties with the PRACTICAL effects were worked out. 

The encyclopedic knowledge of film, of all genres, that the main 20 people involved in this movie possess, makes us relish the bad reviews. We love them. We knew the acting was bad and the performances lousy. Why? BECAUSE WE SHOT THEM IN ONE TAKE. THAT WAS ALL THE TAKES WE COULD AFFORD, SHOOTING ON FILM.

I don't find sloppy research or laziness of opinion forgivable, bad acting, terrible dialog, lousy effects and giant beards I'll champion all my days though.

I'm proud some people don't like the movie, that means we made a real exploitation film, but do some research. Of any sort. Pictures of the entire cast and a list of the film stocks, equipment are so readily available on the Movies website, other well researched reviews and podcasts,  that your writing approaches a level of laziness that I haven't seen in quite a while.

 

CyanideRush 6/6/2012 8:40:57 AM

@Laffo - I appreciate the time you took in responding (seriously). If I'm wrong on some accounts, then I apologize to you. Regarding your first point about research, the simple fact is I'm giving a rating to the experience of watching the film itself; not to that coupled with copious reading about it on the web.I didn't follow the development of Dear God No! at all and picked it up based on the recommendation of someone else. So I watch the flick (which I very much wanted to like) and write about what I viewed.
 

To your point regarding "beard extensions"- dude it really kinda looked like it. If they aren't, no hard/no foul. I don't know that I'd necessarily call it "preposterous" when folks are getting feather extensions and other silly things, but that's your opinion. My sincere apologies to Jett Bryant for hating on his beard.


About shooting on film/aging filters: I did actually know that you guys shot on 16mm, it was on the back of the box, I believe. I thought that was cool. It was one of the reasons that I wanted so much to like this film. But shooting on film to begin with doesn't preclude the possibility of adding filters in post. Like I'd mentioned in the review, the initial scratches at the opening where so severe and then completely disappear (and reappear briefly as overly severe) that it's an easy conclusion to reach. I don't think it's a huge leap in logic, do you?


Laffo, bottom line man: There were so many reasons I wanted this film to knock my socks of and it was such a letdown for me that my disappointment is clear in the review. It sounds like you earnestly worked hard on this, which is yet another reason my bad review was reluctant. I've got to stand by my overall review (apologizing for insulting Mr. Bryant's beard, of course). But you shouldn't worry, it's my understanding that Dear God No! is selling like hotcakes, so maybe you guys will be able to make another film. And I didn't see any other negative reviews at all, so maybe I'm in the wrong. I can only call it like I'm seeing it, man. But I’ll tell you what; I’ll give it another honest go around and see if my opinion changes, taking into account what you’ve told me.


Thanks for the comments and good luck with future projects.
-Chuck
 

Laffo 6/6/2012 4:27:42 PM

 Don't know why this site won't let me post a longer comment than this.

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