Definition of Snuff according to Google: a movie in a purported genre of movies in which a person is actually murdered or commits suicide.
I can’t say that snuff films are my forte or that I have any knowledge about the genre, so reviewing a movie called A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff was a daunting task at first. Luckily, the film is a horror-comedy narrative more than it’s a showcase of real death, though it does purport to be based on true events. This means that a casual viewer such as myself can pick up this flick and follow the story without being confused. Really, anyone who enjoys scenes of torture and gore and anyone who looks for comedy mixed in with their mayhem will get a kick out of A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff. Somehow it’s got a sustainable allure to because of its retro horror elements and screw-ball antics.
Two brothers (Joey Kern and Luke Edwards) are typical struggling actors in Hollywood. After more failed auditions and attempts to launch projects, they come up with the idea to make their own snuff film in hopes of making it become a viral sensation. They interview a handful of less than stellar actresses before deciding one woman (Bree Williamson) is the victim for the job. They break into her house one night, kidnap her, and take her to a dark warehouse before they begin to torture her. Filming doesn’t go as planned, of course, as the woman quickly goes from a helpless victim to a sadistic mind-freak. When the shackles come off, it’s a game of cat and mouse, where neither party knows which role they’re truly playing. Welcome to The Butcher Brothers’ A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff where nothing is ever as it seems.
Although I enjoyed A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff, it’s hard for me to give it a full review because… I just liked it. I’m not even sure why or what I liked most about it. I just know I did. I’m trying to come up with negatives, but I can’t find any. The movie reads like a homage to 80’s horror flicks while becoming modern due to the crude and sarcastic humor. It had a wild opening and remained strong throughout the entire story before finishing things off with a bang and more laughs. It’s all encompassing when it comes to other horror genres due to its themes of torture, revenge and suspense. These themes are also toned down as to not scare away casual viewers. The body count is basically non-existent, but I don’t think A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff was ever conceived to be a slasher. It was made to be entertaining and it certainly delivers on that. And I found several moments to be slightly homo-erotic. It adds an extra level of crazy to a movie that was already bat-shit insane to begin with. I think this one’s going to surprise you if you give it a chance. It’s going to sneak up on you and make you smile. A flawless production with genuine laughs and an original story, there’s not much else to desire. A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff is the horror-comedy fans need in 2017.
A Beginner’s Guide to Snuff is written and directed by Mitchell Altieri with co-writers and producers Phil Flores and Cory Knauf. It stars Joey Kern (Cabin Fever), Luke Edwards (Jeepers Creepers 2), Bree Williamson (“One Life to Live”), Brad Greenquist (Pet Sematary), Carter MacIntyre (“Drop Dead Diva”), Kimberley Crossman (Deathgasm) and Perry Laylon Ojeda. It’s currently in select theaters in Los Angeles with a VOD release happening in a few weeks. I’d actually recommend this one to horror-comedy fans and I’d recommend seeing it on the big screen if you can. I’m sure it makes the hijinx and blood splatters all the more spectacular in larger than life quality. Final Score: 7 out of 10.