Director: Gregory Mandry (2008)
Starring: Hiram Bleetman, Carrie Cohen, Nigel Croft-Adams
Find it: IMDB, Amazon

Just like The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, only set in Suffolk, England. Watching Gnaw is an odd experience. It's like watching a movie made up of clips from other movies. And I'm not even hyping y'all. Due to the style of this review, there are massive spoilers within. But don't worry, you've already seen Gnaw, in a manner of speaking.

Gnaw opens with a girl running through the forest barefoot and in her underwear, pursued by an unseen force (Severance). Then she is captured, tied to a bed and menaced - sort of sexually - with a knife (Wrong Turn/The Hills Have Eyes 2). Cut to the opening credits, which is made up of newspaper clippings for missing persons (Wrong Turn).

Then we meet a group of friends and couples, none of whom seem to like each other very much. A small creature is accidentally run over (Leatherface) and then someone actually says "we've taken a wrong turn" (um, Wrong Turn). Eventually they reach their destination - a country lodge (Severance) where someone has baked a pie (Severance) for their delectation. Said pie is made of human (Severance) but the sympathetic Final Girl doesn't eat any, because she's a vegetarian (Severance). Then one of the characters finds a human tooth amongst the gravy (Severance). But continues eating anyway. This bit is not like Severance, because Severance characters stopped eating the pie at that point. The characters in Gnaw are actually stupider than characters in a Danny Dyer movie.

One by one, their numbers are relieved (Wrong Turn). One of the kids is caught in a bear trap (Severance/Backwoods/Dying Breed/The Hills Run Red) and the others are alternately murdered outright with a chainsaw (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre) or strapped down to a table and murdered with a chainsaw (TCM: The Beginning). An innocuous old lady character turns out to be in kahoots with the killer (The Texas Chain Saw Massacre/Wrong Turn 2/The Have Eyes 2). Final Girl jumps in a car and thinks she's escaped. But oh noes, the killer is sitting on the back seat (TCM: The Beginning). The end.

Gnaw is, if you've never seen any other movie in your life, possibly the only backwoods horror movie you'll ever need to see. The only thing it's missing is a bit in a service station. Not all of this is the movie's fault; the backwoods horror subgenre has been done, done and redone endlessly. I suppose there's only so many variations on the theme out there. And I'm glad someone is still bothering to try. The pull here is in seeing it all done with British accents and in the middle of Suffolk. Which, admittedly, isn't much of a pull.

But it's done with admirable skill, just as good as any American production. The acting is better than you'd expect from a cast of unknowns, and the kill scenes are fine. I had problems with the horrible characters (there's Jack, who brings his girlfriend and bit-on-the-side on holiday together) and the stupid decisions they make. They're such a band of thickies that they already come tied up - and in one case, blindfolded - for the killers' convenience.

Gnaw isn't a properly bad movie by any means. I've seen far worse. It's simply run of the mill. If you can cope with that - or you haven't seen many backwoods slashers in your time - then ignaw everything I've said here (sorry) and wrap your teeth around a meaty piece of homecooked horror.

1 comment:

  1. saw this last year and it almost bored me to death