Today's film was sent to me by a director by the name of Peter Podgursky, and this just happens to be his thesis film for the University of Southern California. Peter is currently the office manager for J J Abrams production company Bad Robot, and he counts, as mentors, such genre greats as John Carpenter, Joe Dante, Mick Garris, Stuart Gordon, and Chris Carter, as well as others.
Let's get on with the review, shall we?
Genre - Horror/Short
Year Released - 2008
Running Time - 11 minutes
Directed by Peter Podgursky (who previously directed another short film by the name of Surrogate, which I have not yet seen)
Written by Peter Podgursky (who also wrote his prior film, Surrogate)
Cast Includes Laurel Vail (who was also in Podgursky's previous short, Surrogate) and Wyatt Fenner
Rating: 4 Skulls
Penny and Devon, a pair of highschool outcasts, are best friends in their isolation in the small town of Blackfoot, Idaho. But things take a turn for the worst when Penny inadvertently turns Devon into an unspeakable evil. . . the most popular boy in school!
The film starts off in Thebes, Greece - the year is 1933 - where we see an urn being secreted away. . . the film then jumps to the present day - the location is Blackfoot Highschool, in Idaho.
Here we meet Penny - the least popular girl in school - and her one and only friend Devon.
[these two are the misfits of the school, and are looked on with disdain by the other students]
Penny ends up showing Devon a mysterious urn that belonged to her great-grandfather. She tells him that it was found in his office, right after the locals had killed him. . .
Turns out that Penny is going to use the urn [and Devon] for a project in her history class.
While giving her report, in front of the history class, Devon is laying on his back, and Penny is acting out a ritual that was used by the Cult of Dionysus. [if I remember correctly, Dionysus was the Greek god of madness, or some such thing - I vaguely remember an episode or two of Dionysus showing up in Hercules: The Legendary Journeys] :-)
Where did Penny learn this ritual, you may ask? Why from the book "Cult of Myth" of course!
After Penny is through with her report, a jock walks up and takes the urn, and pours its contents [thick, black, viscous sludge] all over Devon's face. . .
Turns out that Devon has somehow changed. When he walks by the girls in school, they immediately become infatuated by him. Once Devon realizes that these girls will do anything for him [including some rather humorous scenes] he soon comes to enjoy his new found popularity, seemingly ignoring Penny.
Of course Penny is not too happy about this, and upon doing some further research, she discovers that eventually Devon is going to lose control over the girls who are in his thrall.
This perfectly coincides with the fact that the school's homecoming football game is about to happen and Devon is planning some sort of blood orgy, which causes the enthralled girls to become demonically possessed - during their blood frenzy, they end up [literally] ripping the football team to shreds. [meanwhile everyone else is just standing by, watching nonchalantly!] :-)
Knowing that this isn't going to end well, Penny once more tries to talk some sense into Devon. When Devon asks her just who she thinks she is, she simply replies, "the least popular girl in school". Realizing that Devon is too blind to see what is happening, Penny decides to take matters into her own hands. . .
To see a trailer for the film, visit http://www.cheerbleeders.com/
For an 11-minute film, this one was perfectly paced and I thought that it was well written and well directed. It also had a very complimentary soundtrack to it, some of the music I will definitely be checking out myself! [for instance a band by the name of Teen Meanies - their song, Face Against the Wall played during the credits - very cool!
Thank you Peter, for sending me a screener of your film, and I will definitely be looking to see what you send our way next!