When it comes to mixing horror with just about anything other than blood and guts things can get a little difficult. When it comes to Star Leaf, not only did Titan Sky Entertainment mix horror with scifi but the company also added in some legendary, top of the line bud which always leads to fun trips and wacky hijinks. If you look at it with an outside perspective, it can kind of look like a clusterfuck of different elements, a mix that may not suit the certain buzz you’re looking for. So, how did Star Leaf handle all the contributing factors that made it more than just a film about pot? Read my review to find out.
Star Leaf is written and directed by Richard Cranor with co-writer and producer Hugh Berry. Cast members include Julian Gavilanes, Tyler Trerise, Shelby Truax, Russell Hodgkinson (Doc on “Z Nation”), Svetlana Soutirina, Dylan Thome, Kiki Yeung and Cranor as Ranger Dave.
Star Leaf follows, “A group of friends who set off to find a secret forest of marijuana hidden deep in the Olympic Mountains. Legend has it the plants are of extra-terrestrial origin, and two ex-Marines among the group hope it will cure their PTSD born from hard combat in Afghanistan. They soon find themselves in the fight of their lives when one of them steals the Star Leaf, accidentally opening up the trio to attack by alien entities who use demons, both interpersonal and real, to unleash hell upon them all.”
First of all, I think the most important thing that I want to say is that Star Leaf is a product that fully understands itself and doesn’t go overboard in any direction. When it comes to dealing with aliens AND weed, it’s easy to go off the rails and into cheesy, stupid, way overdone territory. Luckily, Star Leaf always handled matters with a subtle approach, whether it was trippy lights in the forest, alien chases or sexuality. All the ingredients that make up a great scifi-comedy are in place but they’re not beating you over the head like, “Look we have bud! Look we have aliens! We’re funny and we like nudity!” Expert writing from Cranor and Berry really saved this title. Had the concept been handled by anyone else I don’t think it would have been as good.
Also, I thoroughly enjoyed the acting from everyone who appeared in this picture. Julian Gavilanes was fantastic as the soldier with PTSD, he was strong yet fragile at the same time. Tyler Trerise was a great tour guide and fun as a master adventurer. Shelby Truax filled in the spot of the spontaneous, sexy, female lead with ease and, yes, she does remind me of Kristen Stewart. Russell Hodgkinson is always a riot on screen, but my only fear is that he may start getting typecast. I think that all of the characters were fleshed out and well developed; however, the aliens could have benefited from a little more of a backstory than what I saw. I thought the concept of extra-terrestrial weed was genius, but I would have liked to know a little more about where it came from. And a little more about Ranger Dave! There’s definitely more to him than meets the eye. I’m going to need a sequel, guys. So… get on that.
Cohesively, Star Leaf was an extremely enjoyable ride. Well shot. Well executed. Well acted. Those are the basics that you need with any good title, but then you add in comedy, aliens, bud and two twists you will NOT see coming… and you’re left with a movie that has tremendous rewatchability. That means that Star Leaf is totally worth the price of purchase whenever it hits DVD. I’d recommend it mostly to males between the ages of 16 and 27, although any fans of science fiction will get a kick out of this, too.
Forget Evil Bong. Forget Pot Zombies. If you need a horror or scifi flick heavily revolved around marijuana, then Star Leaf is the one for you! It’s the Half Baked of science fiction films! I loved it. FINAL SCORE: 8.5 out of 10