'Roid Rage': Film Review

Roid Rage Graphic Image

Review by Mike Pickle, MoreHorror.com

"They're coming after you Sammy" "Who's coming after me?" "Everyone". A mysterious female voice whispers an ominous warning on the other line as Sammy tries to make sense of his strange (and very gross) affliction. One of the many strangely captivating scenes in Roid Rage. A beautifully shot Horror / Comedy short film from Cinematographer Ryan Lightbourn who also produced, wrote, directed and edited this nasty little gem.

This gory, zany, but very well made 14-minute Horror ride centers around Sammy (Zach Canfield). A down on his luck, loveable loser who works at a nuclear power plant. His humdrum life is turned upside down when he develops an itchy and mutating deformity. A giant killer hemorrhoid growing out of his ass! Now FBI Agent Jenkins (John Russo) and Agent Munroe (Ben Evans) are after him in connection with the murders of a bunch of local hookers. To make matters worse, he's being hunted down by the very men who are responsible for his butt mutation. Sammy's only chance of survival is to use his monster anus to wreak havoc on those who seek to destroy him, and show that there ARE two guarantees in life - but it isn't tax season!

Roid Rage was shot & edited entirely by Ryan Lightbour with no crew whatsoever, but you wouldn't know it by watching it. Every shot is vibrant with a gloss that looks like he needed a full crew to achieve it. The editing and pacing is so well crafted that the 14 minutes fly by and feels more like 5. It seems almost too polished for the ridiculous, off-kilter material, but it works. Zach Canfield carries the film quite well as the haggard protagonist Sammy and manages to maintain a boyish charm while still being a bad-ass leading man.

John Archer Lundgren shines as the ambiguously creepy Ass-doctor who is one of the many colorful cast of characters that brings both depth and silliness to the film. The pair of FBI agents, John Russo and Ben Evans, bring the typical hard-nose cop element to the piece, but have a dynamic that's all their own. John Russo playing the seasoned veteran with all his one-liners and colorful commentary and Ben Evans as the young rookie upstart who acts like he has something to prove. What they lack as individual characters they make up for as an unlikely team with Russo being the most memorable of the two.

Ben Evans' acting was a little dry at times and his ADR voice-over left something to be desired, but it wasn't bad enough to be distracting. If I had any other complaints they would be small and none that stood out as a major flaw. I'm not too fond of computer generated gunshots and blood splatters, but with no FX crew (or any crew for that matter), a lot of practical effects are not an option. Luckily the digital effects are used somewhat sparingly and as a tool to beef up the production value.

I don't want to paint this film into a corner and give it a label because there are a lot of things to enjoy here. Think Grindhouse meets Troma, but with much more attention to shot composition and a clear sense of style and originality.

Ryan Lightbour could have expanded on any of the many entertaining elements of this film. That's what makes it so much more fun than just another silly gross-out movie. Sure it's gross with tons of blood, pubic hair, slime and ass-play, but it doesn't lean on those elements. It embraces them and combines them in an almost effortless fashion. Low brow comedy with a high brow look and tons of imagination.

The film ends too soon with a faux trailer of Roid Rage 3D which looks promising as a feature. If this does turn out to be a feature I'll be the first in line. Lightbour left himself a lot of room to play and I for one would like to be there to see what he does with it.

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"Roid Rage" (2011) - Official Full Length Trailer from Ryan Lightbourn on Vimeo.

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