Posts Tagged ‘G. Van Mills’

To quote this film’s own tagline : “What Happens When Four Crazy Men Kidnap One Crazy Girl?” And to take it one step further : “What Happens When You Only Have $10,000 To Tell The Story?”

You know we love ’em cheap and homemade around these parts, and it doesn’t come much cheaper or much more homemade than director/co-producer/co-writer James D. Froio’s early- 2017 effort, The Girl With No Name, a quickie out of Syracuse, New York, that has a pretty cool premise and has fun turning the tables on various “redneck horror” tropes. We’re all used to inbred country bumpkins kidnapping and torturing nubile young damsels in “Z-Grade” productions, sure, but this time out when Papa Lester (played with sneering OTT relish by G. Van Mills) and his boys Lloyd (Brandon Ferraro), Troy (Brandin Fennessy), and Markus (Issaiah Vergara) set their moonshine-blurred sights on an unnamed (but I guess you already knew that much) girl (Ashley Williams), they find they got more than they bargained for since it turns out she’s even crazier than they are. The hunters have become the hunted, indeed.

Williams scripted the film along with director Froio and co-producer Fatih Salim, so it’s no surprise that she’s given herself a fairly juicy and substantial role, and for an amateur actress she acquits herself pretty nicely, especially when it’s time to dial up the psychosis. You’ve probably gathered already that this flick’s tone is clearly tongue-in-cheek, and it’s just as well that it is given that when you’ve got low-grade production values and inexperienced performers, taking yourself too damn seriously is often a fatal flaw. Williams and her quartet of would-be pursuers certainly couldn’t be counted on to carry a heavy and somber narrative, but something like this? Well, shit — this they can, and do, sink their teeth into with obvious glee.

Which isn’t to say that the whole thing looks like shit, or anything of the sort — Froio has a pretty decent eye for composition and there are some shots that borderline on the artistic, with the overall look being, at the very least, competent. There are some minor sound quality problems, but nothing seasoned micro-budget viewers can’t overlook, and the score by one Sergio Valente is reasonably effective, as well, helping to mark and accentuate the story’s tonal shifts while only occasionally making a spectacle of itself and overpowering the proceedings. Again, if you’re the kind of person that’s a fan of the bottom of the movie barrel, trust me when I say you’ve endured far worse, and may even find yourself more than pleasantly surprised.

When it’s time for the red stuff to start gushing, this film’s practical FX work gets the job done, as well. Granted, it’s best viewed at a distance although not always shot at same, but shit — even up close, it doesn’t look too terribly unrealistic. Froio and co. have clearly been doing their homework and are probably old-school gorehounds, so what they lack in funds they make up for in sheer love of craft. That enthusiasm translates into all aspects of their budget-minded backwoods opus, and it’s more than a bit infectious. Of course this isn’t a great movie — but it’s damn sure a fun one, and what more can you really ask for from something like this than that?

So, yeah — next time you’re browsing through Amazon Prime’s streaming horror offerings, you could do a hell of a lot worse than The Girl With No Name. Its flaws are numerous but far from fatal, and pretty much everyone gets a well-deserved “A for effort.” It would be a big stretch to say that this flick blew me away, but it impressed me enough to give it a qualified (after all, it is what it is — and it can only be so much) recommendation.