Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Video X (2001)

Video X

Written by James D. Mortellaro & Steve Longmuir
Directed by James D. Mortellaro

Joey Gibson...Dwayne Foote
Michelle Moretti...Darla Jean Stanton
Jack Kyle...Billy Epp

In October 2002, two young lovers left their trailer park in search of themselves. The tape you are about to see has been slated by the authorities as “Video X.” “Video X” is recovered footage taken directly from the home video camera of Dwayne Foote and Darla Jean Stanton.

Well, it's not actually their video camera. It's stolen from Dwayne's neighbor and they use it to record their adventure, which starts off innocently enough. The two of them are running away from their lives to start fresh in Little River.

They stop for the night at a campground and come back to their car the next morning to find that they've been robbed of all their cash and belongings (minus the video camera, of course.) They're forced to shoplift food from a mini-mart and things go wrong, ending with the accidental shooting death of the shopkeeper. Deciding to make the best of a bad situation, Dwayne takes the money from the register and they start their trip down a dark criminal road.

Coincidence has it that Dwayne and Darla Jean stumble upon the family they suspect robbed them, and Dwayne believes that if they can get their belongings back they can return their lives to some state of normalcy. Instead it leads them in too deep to escape.

Things just keep looking bleaker for the couple, especially once they pick up an ex-con hitchhiker, but through it all they maintain the hope of a regular life and that hope keeps them moving and smiling and loving each other.

As far as cinema goes, Video X isn't going to be winning any awards, but it's not supposed to. I mean, if you thought The Blair Witch Project was shaky, you obviously haven't seen this. For the most part, it looks like an authentic home movie, which is much more difficult than you might think. The amateur actors here actually seem like real people as opposed to amateur actors who seem like amateur actors trying to seem like real people. (Think about it.) Darla Jean and Dwayne appear to genuinely be in love, which is a rare feat in and of itself.

Dwayne is the most complex character. Even before his first kill, it's apparent that he has the hatred and violence seething beneath the surface that would make such an act possible. All he does is unleash it and he doesn't change so much as our perception of him does. Very rapidly he goes from a country boy that we instinctively find annoying to a guy we can't help but like and finally a criminal that we don't know how to feel about.

Video X is a bleak, startling and ultimately believable look at the dark side and comes highly recommended to those who have grown tired of the usual slasher fare and Hollywood moneymakers.

BE ON THE LOOKOUT FOR: Hole in the bottom of the sea; Almost porn; Nice legs; R.V. bandits; Two shots and a heart attack; Air conditioned television; Fuckstick cowboy;

101 Minutes
United States

Video X is currently ranked #138,730 in DVDs at Read more about it at the IMDB, rent it at Netflix, or buy it today!


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