There is a kernel of a good idea buried somewhere within the shitstorm that is the new horror-comedy It Cuts Deep. Unfortunately, writer-director Nicholas Santos, making his feature-film debut, has no idea how to extract it, resulting in an insulting and reductive film that paints men as commitment-phobe monsters and women as marriage-starved shrews. Sam (Charles Gould) and Ashley (Quinn Jackson) are a couple cut from the sitcom cloth: he is an overweight, bearded lay-about; she is thin, attractive, and likes to go on morning jogs. She desperately hopes he pops the question on their Christmas trip to his parent’s house, while he just wants to try “butt-stuff.” (Just to be very clear about the kind of film that It Cuts Deep is, “butt-stuff” is said roughly a dozen times within the film’s first 15 minutes.) They drink wine and eat some of the most unappealing food to ever feature onscreen. And once in a while, just to remind that this is indeed a horror film, a loud chord of music lights up the soundtrack. Oh, and the film opens with a brutal murder at the hands of what appears to be Michael Myers from the waist down, and Santos flashes back to this image whenever the film is in need of a jolt. Next, Sam’s childhood friend Nolan shows up — he is played by John Anderson, who performs as if retroactively auditioning for the titular role in The Cable Guy. Sam is threatened by him even though he is a bonafide whackjob, and his reasons for hating Nolan are never properly explained. Meanwhile, Ashley keeps forgiving his disgusting transgressions because no one in this film reacts like an actual human being. It’s almost impressive how a film that runs only 77 minutes can be so unfocused and constructed of such filler, especially when its true purpose is finally revealed: the threat of commitment and a family can drive some men insane — literally. Setting aside the absolutely abhorrent gender politics, It Cuts Deep doesn’t even have anything new to contribute to the regressive subject matter, thinking that a few bits of gore will somehow distract the viewer from its utter emptiness. The horror aspects are never scary, the comedic bits fail to inspire even a single laugh, the acting is inconsistent across the board, and the directing is tolerable at best. It cuts deep? This doesn’t even leave a mark.
Published as part of Nightstream 2020 — Dispatch 2.