Make-Out with Violence - DVD Review (Factory 25) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Make-Out with Violence - DVD Review (Factory 25)

Make Out with Violence - DVD Review (Factory 25)Make-Out with Violence is the first full-length film by the Nashville director-duo the Deagol Brothers (aka Andy Duensing and Chris Doyle). The film is a low-fi ‘coming of age’ story that follows two twin brothers, Carol and Patrick Darling, and their young brother Beetle during the twins’ summer after high school graduation. The story starts at a memorial service for Patrick and Carol’s missing classmate Wendy Hearst and, shortly thereafter, the three brothers finding Wendy’s re-animated corpse. The off-beat storyline is both tragic and charming and comes across like a John Hughes film filtered through lens of Sofia Coppola's “The Virgin Suicides”.

The film premiered at SXSW and a number of other film festivals in 2009. In an interview with ReviewsFromtheCouch, the Deagol Brothers described the backdrop for the film as:

DB: We all went to high school together and have always been interested in making films, music, painting and art in general. We started to conceive of the film in the early 2000s. We wanted to make a film about our shared experiences in high school and we thought that making a high school movie also made sense from the stand point of working on a small budget with our high school and college aged friends as our talent. It was not originally conceived of as a horror film but we saw the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre and wanted to try the horror genre. We are not huge horror fans but we liked the idea of exploring the genre from a very sincere John Hughes angle. The idea of the teenage boy consumed by unrequited love also made sense to us in the context of a girl who is very physically present but may not be who or what you think she is.

The brothers decide to take Wendy’s re-animated corpse to their friend Rody’s house, which they are house-sitting for the summer, as they hope to restore her back to health. The movie focuses on the brothers’ attempts which are complicated by many crossed-threads of unrequited love. Most importantly, Patrick’s love for Wendy grows as he takes care of her living corpse and this out-of-control crush-turned-obsession prevents him from noticing that Wendy’s friend Anne Harran is interested in him. Adding to the drama, Carol pines for Wendy’s best friend Addy who is interested in Wendy’s boyfriend Brian. All of this sounds complicated but so was high school.

The brothers tie Wendy in Rody’s bathtub as her re-animated corpse moves around with a slow, purposeful, spasmodic creepiness. One of the brothers’ initial concerns is making sure Wendy has something to eat but the food they try to feed her dribbles out of her mouth as she lays still in the tub. The brothers realize that Wendy, now a zombie, may need live food and I had to look away as Wendy bit the head off a live rat that the brothers purchased for her.

Over the next few months, Wendy’s corpse continues to decompose which seems to increase Patrick’s urgency for a relationship of any kind. He bathes and clips her nails and, as the obsession/madness takes complete hold, dresses her up for her birthday and even gets her a cake. If this were a true story, one would wonder if necrophilia isn’t going on outside of the camera’s lens. Patrick’s relationship isn’t the only one that changes over the summer – the love triangles continue to evolve and there is even some sibling rivalry thrown in on the side (with gruesome consequences).

There is an element of sadness and melancholy throughout the film and all parties are changed by the end of the Summer, regardless of whether they were able to let go out of their past. I’ll stop here as going further would turn this review into a spoiler.

The soundtrack has been getting some recognition and is available separately on CD and limited edition LP. The Eno-influenced, keyboard-driven pop songs were predominately written by the The Non-Commissioned Officers (aka Jordan (Rody) and Eric Lehning (Patrick)) and Nashville artists The Glib, Tristen, Leah High, Vicki Mead, The Ostrich Boys, and Amanda Crawford.

DVD Extras:

- Deleted and extended scenes,

- Deleted score (from the band How I Became the Bomb),

- Cast & crew commentary,

- “The Fugitive Brain” - behind the scenes 30+ minute featurette of the formation of Limerent Pictures including screen tests and auditions,

- “Saturday is Now Ruined “- a look at the process of designing the film’s poster by graphic designer Ed O'Brien

- Eric Lehning's radio spots advertising the film and raising money for its completion,

- Interview and videos by The Non-Commissioned Officers,

- Essays by filmmaker Craig Zobel & journalist James Rocchi

Make-Out With Violence