Video X

"Good"

Video X Review


It can be described simply and completely as The Blair Witch Project meets Natural Born Killers. Think I'm exaggerating? It's got two Southern kids (Dwayne and his underage girlfriend Darla Jean) who videotape their impromptu vacation, only to watch it turn into a crime spree.

Unlike Killers, the spree isn't really their fault: First their stuff gets stolen, so they have to resort to shoplifting to survive, which turns into an accidental killing. Then the people who stole their stuff get found, and they too "accidentally" end up dead. And so on and so forth. Why, there are enough shots fired by mistake in this film to make for a better argument for gun control than Bowling for Columbine. And they videotape everything they do.

There's not much more to it than that. There's apparently a companion film that came out a few months ago called Murder in the Heartland: The Search for Video X, which involves a film crew's "search for the Video X tape." But this one is just like Blair Witch: "raw footage" presented without comment aside from a title card at the beginning alerting us to the supposed factual nature of the tape. Of course, anyone who falls for the stunt deserves to be committed, but stranger things have happened. (I'll admit the idea of having snippets of a birthday party that appear ever now and then -- over which the video is ostensibly taped -- is pretty ingenious. So is the marketing ploy that is really trying to sell this footage as genuine "lost evidence.")

The girl who plays Darla Jean (no, I don't know her name -- there's no credits of any kind on the film) gives the most interesting and bravest performance as Darla-Jeane, a naive girl who pretty much cries her way through the entire film, but ends up as the only empathetic character in the picture. The "direction," if you can call it that, fits the crime -- though the shaky-cam work is so nauseating that it's difficult to sit through in one bite.

I'll add that the film is possibly based on the same true story that inspired Natural Born Killers, of Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate, who marauded their way across Nebraska in the 1950s. I can't find much more info about this film (even on Vanguard's web site) so I leave the real back story as an exercise for the reader.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Friday 31st October 2003

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3 / 5

IMDB: 6.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: James Mortellaro

Starring: as Billy Epp, Michelle Moretti as Darla-Jean Stanton, Joe Ward as Dwayne Foote

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