by Jason Coffman
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Making a movie is hard work. Even the worst, most inept film requires the dedication and effort of many people working together. When you watch a bad movie— one that’s just genuinely terrible, completely devoid of any entertainment value whatever— you can’t help but feel bad that somebody poured a lot of work into it. And so it goes with Exit 33: I felt absolutely terrible for all those people in the credits, because this is one of the worst films I have seen in recent memory. Often, that phrase is followed by the explanation that I also recommend the film in question, but not in this case.
Kane Hodder plays Ike, a hulking, quiet man who runs Ike’s Last Chance Gas. Ike clearly knew how to buy a location for his business, because literally every car that drives by the station has to stop for gas. This also works to Ike’s benefit because he likes to trick people into putting water in their gas tank, then go find them a little while later as they’re stranded by the side of the road. The ladies he knocks out and takes back to his rec room, the men he just murders outright. Ike collects women’s eyeballs and also turns ladies into beef jerky. He actually uses one woman’s entire body, which would probably make a hell of a lot of jerky, but he only seems to have a few bags on hand at any given time.
This is probably just as well, since he’s not smart enough to remove her jewelry before the jerkinating process. Ike does not make good decisions, and neither does anyone else in the film. For one thing, Ike knocks off about ten people over the course of two days. Seems pretty likely that, at that pace, someone would notice an awful lot of people going missing near Last Chance Gas. Thankfully, the unrelentingly grim storyline is given some late-game comic relief when a hunter sits down on a toilet with a porno mag and makes a lot of moaning sounds while some “hilarious” poop noises play on the soundtrack. How his feces makes a splashing noise in a dry toilet is just one more mystery to throw on the pile.
In fact, Exit 33 is about as inept as it gets without actually moving into accidental entertainment. The technical and story problems are just infuriating: every single scene opens with a fade in and ends with a fade to black, making the film feel like a particularly awful compilation of web shorts. It seems like everyone who stops to get gas— and there are a lot of people getting gas in this movie— is actually shown pumping their gas in real time. Probably about a third of the film’s slim 83-minute running time is spent watching people putting gas in their car. And, in what is a new blatant technical error to me, scenes of two characters in a car are shot with a completely different camera than the rest of the movie. Whenever it cuts back to them, it seems like the picture resolution and frame rate totally changes. Maybe they used a Flipcam to pick up those shots?
This new kind of technological error is probably the most interesting thing about Exit 33. The characters are utterly uninteresting and the gore effects are so bad that even I did not flinch when Ike removed a character’s eye with a spoon. I really hate seeing bad things happen to eyes in a movie— Fulci’s Zombie still gets me squirming every time— so when I say that I didn’t even blink at this, you can trust that it’s truly stunningly unrealistic. The only possible audience I can imagine for Exit 33 is hardcore fans of Kane Hodder, and it’s tough to believe even they would find this a worthwhile way to spend 83 minutes. Maybe the extra footage of someone cleaning a deer carcass over the end credits helps, as it is clinical enough that it may be educational. Exit 33 is direct-to-disc horror at its absolute worst, and I hope all the folks who worked on it can find better work soon and put this well behind them.
Breaking Glass Pictures and Vicious Circle Films release Exit 33 on DVD on Tuesday, August 2nd. Special features include a commentary and interview with Kane Hodder and deleted scenes.
Jason Coffman is a film writer living in Chicago. He writes reviews for Film Monthly and “The Crown International Files” for Criticplanet.org as well as contributing to Fine Print Magazine (www.fineprintmag.net).
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