Cross Bearer (2012)
Directed by: Adam Ahlbrandt
A Review by Mario Dominick
In the wake of the success and cult followings developed by such gore-soaked indie slashers like Marcus Koch’s 100 Tears and Matt Farnsworth’s The Orphan Killer, the trend for filmmakers to go back to the true roots of what makes the genre work appears to be alive and well and is going strong with the recent release of Cross Bearer, a micro budget gorefest from Adam Ahlbrandt and Adversary Films.
Cross Bearer introduces us to a twisted religious fanatic spouting about the “filth” and “whores” and how the world needs to be cleansed of the most undesirable among society.
A stripper named Heather (played by Natalie Jean) is stuck in an awful situation where she is poor and living with her drug addict friend Victoria and trying to get by with her lesbian lover Bunny who she hopes to escape with to a Greek island. Heather and her fellow strip club girls have to deal with a sleazy scumbag junkie boss who pushes them around and orders them to go out at night and make a score off an abusive pimp and his prostitutes at an old, dark abandoned building. Heather with Bunny and two of her fellow strippers and their wannabe-porn-filmmaker guy friend head out to the old warehouse hoping to make a big score (and Heather hoping to get enough to flee the country with Bunny). Things take a turn for the worst as the pimp and two girls making a porn video with him have their heads gorily mashed into a pile a blood, skull and brains by the hooded, hammer-wielding religious maniac out to cleanse the world of its trash. Heather and her friends fight for their lives as the psycho proceeds to off them with the aide of his claw hammer in a very brutal manner.
Cross Bearer delivers the gore, tits, sex, sleaze, and gritty atmosphere with a psycho exhibiting a delightfully depraved personality. Adam Ahlbrandt has the recipes for how to do horror at its most brutal and shocking on a shoestring budget and effectively showcases his skills as a director with the knowledge and the blood, sweat and tears to get it done. The film’s ending is very satisfying too. The gore effects (by Doug Sakmann) are nasty and convincing and include shattered skulls, spilled brains, a tongue cut out, hammer claw through a hand, etc. One death scene that’s particularly original involves a girl being smothered to death by cocaine being spilled out of a plastic baggy onto her face.
Currently awaiting official North American distribution, Cross Bearer is available as a “pre-release edition” DVD from Adversary Films. The DVD contains an extensive behind-the-scenes documentary that focuses on all the different aspects in the making of the picture with much detail for over 2 hours. This doc is a must-watch for aspiring filmmakers on the lookout for an in-depth glance into low budget filmmaking and the management of the craft and how to make best use of your creativity with limited time and funds. Other extras on the DVD include an audio commentary, the film’s trailer, and preview trailer for Adam Ahlbrandt’s upcoming film The Cemetery, which looks like it will deliver the goods for gorehounds.
Visit www.crossbearermovie.com for more info.