Twisted Minds - Underground Reviews

onsdag 7 mars 2018


Directed by: Douglas Buck
Written by: Douglas Buck
Stars: Jared Barsky, Gary Betsworth, Ray Bland... read more

Country: USA
Style: Drama
Runtime: 1h 43min

Family Portraits: A Trilogy of America is a trilogy based on director Douglas Buck's first short films shooted between 1997-2003. This is Douglas's most controversial work from his filmography. The movies represents the miserable, dramatic and sometimes extremely absurd and surrealistic events that can happen in a family relationship when something feels real strange. One thing can lead to the next when you least expect it and a proof that life is on a fragile thread. Cutting Moments at Home, performed in a single long Prologue.

Cutting Moments (1997)

Cutting Moments really is one of the most important extreme horror shorts. Everything about it is on point. The cast, cinematography, tone, fx, everything about it. It’s just perfect. I haven’t seen this film in probably fifteen years. I picked up on the weird father-son relationship but I didn’t really put together that that was the actual catalyst of the film. I was probably just focused more on the gore back then. That being said, if this film was poorly put together it would probably get a pass because of how on point the gore/fx are. But man, the entire tone of the film was dismal, the 20 minute lack of score, the awkward silences. It all really gets to you. There’s so much tension between everyone. It makes you feel like you’re in the room while your married friends are fighting. It’s awkward and uncomfortable. And if you took out the mutilation, it would still be brutally emotional.

From the beginning until the end credits, the entire film is great. It’s rare that something as powerful as this short is exists. Honestly, if you haven’t seen this film in forever you really should revisit it. I picked up on so much more than I did fifteen years ago and it made the film so much better.

Home (1998)

Doug Buck’s less effective follow up to Cutting Moments. Has a very similar feel to Cutting Moments, it just doesn’t pack as much of a punch. The overall theme here is miserable patriarchal figures and how their misery effects their families. The ending is just as rough as Cutting Moments, you just don’t get to experience as much on screen. You’re limited to the aftermath. Which is still pretty rugged. There’s a dismal tone that maintains its dreariness from start to finish and it seems that that was the main focus. It’s slow and kind of teeters on the edge of boring and just strange enough to keep it interesting, until it gets to where it’s going. It is unfortunate that this follows Cutting Moments on the Family Portrait compilation as once you’ve seen Cutting Moments you’ve probably got high hopes for what Buck has to offer as far as “extreme cinema” goes.

This is definitely a dark little short and the subject matter is “extreme,” don’t get me wrong. But in the end I wanted more from it that I wasn’t going to get. Worth a watch for anyone who really liked Cutting Moments. It really made for a good companion piece to that one. But it definitely should’ve came before Cutting Moments on the compilation, I think even then it would’ve been too slow of a build up for what Cutting Moments had to offer. This film really might have done well as a stand-alone piece. The end was good and worth the wait, just getting to the end was a little painful.

Prologue (2003)

This was just boring and not entertaining at all. Super slow and moody, the final entry in the Family Portrait collection was the longest and hardest to get through for me. I felt like turning it off and finding something else to watch several times. It seems like it might have been the most ambitious effort from Buck at the time, it was really well shot and there was a lot of production value to it. It just wasn’t fun. It felt like a short lifetime film. It was slow and miserable. It just wasn’t as good as the other two films on the disc and honestly felt out of place to me. The other two shorts were mean and bloody and this one was like a bummed out drama. Do yourself a favor and don’t bother.

Basically Cutting Moments is a legendary gore film, not much compares. Home was decent but was sort of a sign that things were going down hill. And lastly there was Prologue. A real stinker. Boring with not much to offer. This gets 4 stars based on Cutting Moments being as incredible as it was. It doesn’t get five stars because I feel like Prologue was a robbery of my time and attention. It’s great that Buck continued making content after this because it would be a shame for Prologue to be his final filmmaking venture.


Produced by: Douglas Buck, Rita Romagnino
Cinematography by: Nicola Saraval
Editing by: Douglas Buck
Special Effects by: Tom Savini (Cutting Moments)
Music by: Edward Dzubak, David Kristian
Language: English
Color: Color

DistributorVoice in the Head Productions


Writer for Twisted Minds. Crazy American guy, collaborates together with his homebro Crack Sizzlack and Four Twenty Film Reviews. Have a great knowledge about movies and music and has been on the track as long as he can remember. He has a huge VHS-collection and is responsible owner of the underground movie distribution label King of the Witches and has written and directed the feature film In Furs (2016).