Today’s film is the 2016 Comedy Horror film The Procedure by director Calvin Reeder and produced by and starring Christian Palmer, also starring Frank Mosley. It is currently being featured in the winter 2017 award festival at Fandependent Films.
The Procedure tells the tale of a man who is on his way home when he is suddenly hit by a tranquilizer dart from a blow gun. As the man comes to he finds he is tied down and one of his eyes has been forced open by clamps. As he struggles in his bindings and yells for help the only sound is a loud buzzer every time he screams and a message saying Queit Please. He soon discovers he is in for a horrific experiment that he will likely never forget in his lifetime.
Before we start let me just say that this film is very Not Safe For Work and should not be watched by younger audiences or people with delicate dispositions. The Procedure is a strange little dark comedy horror film that absolutely doesn’t take itself very seriously in any way. The one punchline which is the entire plot of the movie is simply a fart joke. This sort of juvenile humor is common in low brow pieces and the only thing sitting it apart is the bondage element and the close up of a bare naked anus, I’m not talking about the cheeks mind you but the actual orifice itself. I have never been a fan of low brow humor personally and I have to say it really jaded my opinion of the film at first but then I took a step back and critically analyzed the film. The first thing I noticed once I got pass the glaring picture of a anus was the fact Christian Palmer not only put a great deal of effort maintaining the quality of the film but offered up a very convincing performance as the title character. He comes across as frightened and believable even when the mask man is lowed down from a hole in the ceiling and does his business in his face. It takes a lot of moxie to be able to pull of a straight laced performance in the face of such a ridiculous situation and this young man pulls it off very well.
The Production value of the film was quite impressive considering the content of the movie. The cinematography was flawlessly executed and handled very professionally. The picture quality of the camera was crystal clear and despite it’s low budget managed to have a steady fixed camera that kept the action front and center. It used several lower angle shots which is a film technique used to make the viewers claustrophobic and feel small, this sort of imagery is used to remove the empowering effect that normal camera shots use help the audience relate with the protagonist. This speaks to a very high degree of knowledge not only in cinematography but also basic psychology that is rare in an independent film. Each scene is carefully shot to bring a complete story (Even if the story is silly and cringe worthy) and really is exceptionally well done.
The Audio work of the film is just as good as the visual production. while having only very limited dialog is heard perfectly throughout the entire film and never once does it go to high nor to low during the scenes. This is one of the rare films that doesn’t use any background music nor any Musical score at all and really pulls it off. It helps set the unsettling tone for the film but cause we as viewers are trained to listen for dramatic music or even happy go lucky tunes in a comedy and when it is missing you can feel it even if you don’t at first understand why it is odd. If the sound had one issue it would be that the microphone picks up absolutely every sound around them on the stage, from the clicking of the actor’s heels on the sidewalks to the sounds of cars passing by. With this comes the slight hiss that is all to common with open air microphones but in The Procedure’s case it was intended instead of a mistake by the audio department so can be overlooked.
The limited props used in the film were quite well made and nothing was unrealistic or cheaply produced. While you only see the blowgun briefly and just the tip of it you can tell how much detail they put into it making it seem like a legitimate weapon. The Dart was also up to par with it’s brightly colored feathers and steel shaft and the special effect of it landing in his throat was done as well as any Hollywood film that used the item in the past. The only really cheap looking prop was the rig used to lower the masked man (Frank Mosley) down from the drop ceiling but I can understand their reasoning with this. It was a actual harness used in film making to raise and lower actors and they couldn’t afford to set dress it to make it more ominous or comical when the safety of both actors were at stake. While the indoor set was very plain and basic it was still decently made and had a clinical feel to it as was intended, even down to the cheap drop ceilings you find in hospitals and clinics in the southern states.
When all is said and done The Procedure is a strange little movie that truly boils down to a fart joke with some rather explicit shots of a male humans hairy anus shoved right into your face. If you have a very low brow sense of humor and are not offended by very bare body parts then at four minutes this film might give you a chuckle, or scar you for life. That said however on the technical side this film really shines and is an example of what you can do with no budget and limited gear.
Justin’s Notes – Um. Okay? The film makes no sense, but it isn’t supposed to. I loved the use of the Arri Alexa, the visuals were amazing, the audio was great. Everything about this film was well executed. When all is said and done, I wanted to watch the film a few times (like I always do) to get every little nuance of the process but … well, I didn’t want to see “that” again, so I decided not to. 🙂
Check out The Procedure on FandependentFilms