Anderson Falls is a thriller following Detective Jeff Anderson who, after his wife's suicide, becomes convinced that she has been murdered. Obsessed with his investigation, he finds out that his wife was the victim of a team of father-and-son serial killers and sets out to stop them.
I've officially found 2020's answer to The Room. Anderson Falls contains raspberry blowing, lots of snot, plenty of out of focus shots and gloriously awful acting; this is immediately trash royalty. Upon seeing the poster, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect but I knew my expectations weren't very high and after the film had to be rearranged to the end of the day due to a corrupt file meaning it had to be streamed via a private link on Vimeo. All of the latter was shown on the main screen whilst they were trying to get it to work and the audience was in the room. The lack of professionalism lowered my expectations even more. The final nail in the coffin was director Julien Seri introducing the film with a very Tommy Wiseau-like speech and describing Lin Shaye as "gorgeous but she doesn't have a lot of energy". Little did I know, nothing could prepare me for the next 84 minute trashterpiece that was to follow. I watch a lot of bad movies, I love a so bad it's good film and every once in a while a film like this comes along that is just so terrible that it has countless rewatch value. This genuinely is up there with the likes of The Room, Troll 2 and Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2. Right from the get go, the script is so badly written to the point that no one actually talks like real human beings in this movie. This is also thanks to the horrendous line delivery by each actor in this film.
X-Men star, Shawn Ashmore is an absolute scene stealer as lead character Detective John Anderson but, of course, a scene stealer for all the wrong reasons. Ashmore quite frequently goes from providing a half hearted performance and looking like he doesn't want to be there to providing a performance so over the top to the point that it looked like his character was about to explode at any given second. My best example of the latter is a scene in which he pins loads of photos up to a wall in his old apartment, starts writing on them and starts screaming "I hate you" at them. This is then followed by a strange edit with multiple versions of Ashmore pulling stupid faces in black and white. Even his more subtle scenes, including him sitting in his car for five minutes whilst the background regularly changes or having a full conversation with his 8/9 year old son about the suspects of his wife's death and then telling his mother that he didn't know he was speaking to his son because he didn't check his caller ID, are an absolute blast to watch because of how awful the performance is. Poor Lin Shaye gets dragged into this disaster too as Jeff's mother. Shaye gives one of the better performances but it's moments like a terrible dub of her shouting "Yeah! Go on! Go get that boy!" at her grandson in the park that demonstrate she's also no exception when it comes to this movie's dreadful performances. Gary Cole and Richard Harmon play the movie's big bad guys and their performances are almost just as bad as Ashmore's performance. Neither are intimidating and that's hardly surprising considering their motives are dumb and a lot of the scenes of them "suiciding women" (yes, an actual term used in the movie) are just the same scenes being shown over and over again.
As much as a lot of the issues come from the acting and writing, there are also huge issues with the filmmaking skills. The opening credits use the most boring and basic font you could possibly use for a movie. The editing is so strange and ham fisted to the point it's quite jarring. The camera work is an absolute mess with some of it being so lazy that it contains extended sequences of the camera being left in just one place, making it feel like someone accidentally left it there during a shot rehearsal, and far too many out of focus shots to the point it started to look like no one on set knew how to focus a camera. A lot of the time, it comes across as though no one actually paid any attention to this film before saying it was okay to be released. It was the out of focus scenes, the random fart noise that may have been Ashmore blowing a raspberry or just a random fart that was left in and multiple scenes of big bits of snot flying from Ashmore's nose that had me questioning why on earth the director thought this was okay. Even Jeff's wife's paintings (that were described as dark) look like a child had painted them for a school project. Usually with bad movies, it's easy to tell if the director's heart is in the right places but with this movie, I'm not even sure. It's incredibly rushed and incredibly messy.
Overall, Anderson Falls was one of the worst yet most entertaining movies I watched at Glasgow FrightFest this year. Everything about it was so terrible yet I laughed more than I've laughed at any comedy movie in such a long time. Congratulations Julien Seri, this is a milestone in so bad it's good filmmaking.