Directed by: G. Cameron Romero
‘Auteur’ is by George Romero’s son. This is an important fact during the closing scene of the movie, as the camera pans around a video store; it zooms past a section devoted to George Romero. It’s as if George’s son Cameron is acknowledging his position, like Stephen King’s son, John Lennon’s son and any other son who’s had to follow a successful Father, he’s had a difficult act to follow. But good on him for trying to step out of those giant foot prints.
Cameron Romero first came to our attention with 2009’s ‘Staunton Hill’, which was a patchy cliché ridden horror. The film had a notoriously weak plot. With ‘Auteur’ Romero has at least rectified this problem, and the story is actually pretty strong. What lets the movie down is the string shot budget, if the film had any money behind it then most of which was probably given to Tom Sizemore. More on him later.
‘Auteur’ explores the myth behind reclusive director Charlie Buckwall and a fictional unreleased horror movie titled Demonic. A number of legendary horror movies have spooky behind-the-scenes stories and talk of curses, for example ‘The Omen’ and ‘The Exorcist’, and ‘Auteur’ plays upon this, but it can’t quite get the balance right between whether it wants to be a found footage film or a mockumentary.
‘Auteur’ is about an aspiring documentary maker called Jack Humphreys, whose Father works in the film industry. Jack is keen to make a name for himself in the biz. He is obsessed by the story behind Demonic and interviews a number of people who were involved in the project. There a few talking heads, but this approach is used more to set the story. Most of the action follows the eager Jack as he runs around Hollywood trying to get the big interview with Charlie Buckwall that will be the centre piece of his documentary.
What exactly is Tom Sizemore’s role here? He plays himself, one of the talking heads, an actor talking about Demonic, but Sizemore does so in such a half-arsed way which gives the impression that he probably granted Romero and co half an hour of his time for a ridiculous appearance fee. Sizemore seems to be talking about a different film and different actors to the film he is supposed to be talking about, and towards the end decides to give up, and just talk about himself for a couple of minutes.
The film builds up to what is referred to by all the talking heads as its “ground zero” moment, which is the exorcism scene. The exorcism scene is pitiful, and plays out like it was directed by Ed Wood. This really counteracts the movies’ insistence that Charlie Buckwall was a misunderstood genius. Ian Hutton, who plays Buckwall, actually isn’t that bad as the wayward director, but Christ when it comes to this pivotal scene, we have dubious levitation, polystyrene concrete blocks, and all the usual guttural devilish growls and latin gibberish sound tracked by the most generic of spooky sound track music.
‘Auteur’ is a baffling B Movie, which in a weird way is quite gripping, but whenever something scary happens in the film we are left with a wet fart moment. I suppose a better way of explaining this is to imagine yourself being held hostage by a gun man. After an hour and fifteen minutes the gun man decides to shoot you. When he fires the gun a little flag pops out with the word ‘bang’ written on it. He decides to shoot you with the gun half a dozen times.