Baghead
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Though I pretend to be pretty tough, I’m often a big baby when it comes to horror movies. At home, I have what I call my Scary Movie Pillow, which I can hide behind (or bury my face in) during the scary parts. In the theater, however, there’s no pillow, so I have to settle for hiding behind my hands. And that’s what I did through most of Baghead. Unfortunately, though, it wasn’t because I was scared; I was just trying to keep myself from throwing up.

Baghead follows four Hollywood hopefuls who—inspired by a friend’s low-low budget movie (as well as their inability to get any real acting jobs)—decide to hole themselves up in a friend’s cabin in the woods for the weekend to make their own movie.

The weekend is rife with drama. Catherine (Elise Muller) is still in love with her ex, Matt (Ross Partridge), and funnyman Chad (Steve Zissis) is in love with his friend, Michelle (Greta Gerwig), who’s much more interested in Matt. And as they talk and drink, the movie takes a back seat.

  
 
On the first night at the cabin, though, Michelle dreams of a silent man who stalks the woods with a bag over his head—and Matt decides to use it for their movie. But as they begin to work on the script, they start to wonder if Michelle’s dream really was just a dream.

Though the story isn’t necessarily original, I loved the idea of Baghead. I figured that the low-budget indie about something that may or may not lurk in the woods would prove to be either psychologically terrifying or pleasantly campy. But as I watched Baghead (all the while willing my last meal to please, please, please stay down), I just kept waiting for something really scary to happen—but it never did.

Actually, Baghead is surprisingly uninteresting. The setup is long and drawn-out and completely unconvincing, and the short, 80-minute movie has so many false starts that it’s practically over before it really even begins. And other than a few cheap scares and a few mildly suspenseful moments in the end, there’s very little to hold the audience’s attention.

Filmmaking brothers Jay and Mark Duplass are known members of the “mumblecore” film movement—indie filmmakers who produce ultra-low-budget films that are mostly improvised. And it’s pretty clear that they came up with the idea for Baghead and decided to improvise the rest. As a result, the characters are cliché, the romantic drama isn’t especially interesting, and the dialogue is awkward and filled with uncomfortable pauses. Add that to the fact that the shaky camerawork feels like the result of an unholy union between Bourne director Paul Greengrass and the Blair Witch, and you’ve got yourself a painfully dull yet vomit-inducing film.

If a movie’s going to make me violently ill, I figure that I should at least have a little bit of fun in the process. But Baghead definitely isn’t worth the nausea.

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