A few months ago I talked about a movie called Porno, a comedy movie about a cursed porno film that summons a demon when played. It’s a brilliant idea that was just not quite done right so naturally I wanted to see if someone had done a serious version of this idea and it turns out that back in 2000, someone did the “Character from a film comes to life to kill people” idea in a little Australian slasher film called Cut. The film came out in 2000 and boasts an alarming 11% on Rotten Tomatoes, at the time barely making a half million at the Australian box office. This is partially due to bad marketing and just bad timing since a comedy slasher film in the year 2000 wasn’t exactly rare. This was also the point in the horror genre where we were up to the third Scream movie, self-aware horror had kind of been wrung dry and Cut got lost in the shuffle. It only just recently got re-released in a 4K restoration and that’s what I got to see so… does it get better with age? Not really, but I can appreciate its cheese a lot more.
While filming a low budget horror film called Hot Blooded, one of the cast goes a little crazy and murders the director Hilary Jacobs (Kylie Minogue). His murder spree is stopped quickly when his co-star Vanessa Turnbill (Molly Ringwald) stabs him against an electrical board which somehow allows him to put a curse on the film. This curse lingers over the unfinished film for decades until a bunch of film students decide they want to finish it. Lead by the new director, Raffy Carruthers (Jessica Napier), the ragtag band of misfits try to finish filming Hot Blooded but as they’re shooting, the killer from the film comes to life and starts picking them off one by one which is going to make it hard to finish this film on time.
Being a 2000’s Australian Horror film, I don’t expect much from the actors. Most of the people in this film are soap stars and you can definitely tell with the performances. There’s a lot of very hammy acting that never feels real and that would be a problem if this were a serious film… but it’s about a serial killer held in a film, we can allow for some ham. Honestly, the two best performances come from Molly and Kylie who both play the most unlikable characters ever and it’s kind of amazing seeing Kylie Minogue and Molly Ringwald, people kind of known for being insanely likable, getting to embrace such cruel unlikable characters. They’re easily the highlights of the movie and are given all the best lines while everyone else… well, horror movie villains need victims so they’ll do that job nicely.
It’s kind of hard to say anything about the other actors because none of their characters matters that much, they’re there to be victims of elaborate violent death scenes and they do that well. The effects used are pretty good, allowing the characters elaborate gory deaths to be quite fun and occasionally offer some chuckles. It’s all very standard slasher movie acting with standard slasher movie scenes, from “oh we’re having sex and now we’re dead” to a character going off for the bathroom and never coming back, things anyone who even has a cursory knowledge of the genre has seen in about a dozen of these.
What sets this one apart is the aspect of it being a killer from a cursed movie and that’s also where this film tends to stop making sense. Slashers do take a lot more suspension of disbelief than normal, since you have to be able to say things like “Sure, it makes sense that the weird kid that drowned in the first movie would be a 6-foot tall bodybuilder with a hockey mask and a machete right now” or “Yeah, you can totally kill people in their dreams… seems legit” to even go along with films in this genre but here it’s giving us absolutely nothing. This film doesn’t seem to know how its own curse works, it’s not like there was something cinematic like some blood got on the film and now the killer’s there. No, a guy tries to kill director, gets electrocuted and then suddenly there’s a curse. It kind of makes it hard to understand why this is happening in the way it does, and even harder to understand how they know the way to defeat the villain right at the end. It’s just not well thought out at all and while I normally don’t like when horror movies over-explain how a villain came to be, when they have magical concepts like this I at least want a visual clue.
Cut is aware of what it is and I want to like it more than I do because I love the concept, it’s a brilliant idea that’s just not executed as well as it could be. With soap opera level acting and a few effective scares, it’s par for the course regarding slasher films in a post-Scream world. It didn’t have the budget to be as slick as a lot of those films could be but it certainly has a few interesting moments up its sleeve. It’s middle of the road, but if you’re looking for something to round out a horror movie night you could do worse… if nothing else, there aren’t many Aussie slasher films so it’d add a little variety. Plus, again, bitchy Kylie Minogue is kind of the best thing.