By Daulton Dickey | August 12, 2005

Taking a cue from Tobe Hooper’s “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Funhouse,” directors Andy Lalino and John Karliss have crafted a short film that, while traveling familiar territory, adopts the concept of psycho families as its own—as much as Rob Zombie did for “House of 1000 Corpses.”

Like its predecessors, “Filthy” throws a normal woman into a milieu inhabited by psychotic grandparents, their offspring, and their grandchildren—homicidal inbred yokels whose worldview is so warped that bloodshed is the norm and the highlight of their day involves such heartwarming activities as gutting a man and tearing women’s eyelids with a hole puncher.

The film follows Dana Diamond, a brash, cocky news reporter as she battles to scoop her rival reporter on the next big story. She finds herself in serious trouble when her eagerness to delve into the lowest depths to scoop her rival takes her into the world of a twisted family inbred family. Bound and held hostage, she is promptly married off and forced to endure heinous torture by a family so twisted it makes Leatherface and crew look like Jehovah’s Witnesses.

For every step forward, the film inevitably takes one step back. While there are tremendously creative violence and gross-out—a monster made of raw meat is the highlight of the film—it ultimately tries too hard to shock, and winds up coming off as a silly, almost absurd film.

The good news is that, while its concept may be familiar to any true horror fan, the film and its creators are so ingenious that they manage to turn a clichéd idea into a fun and surprisingly engaging story. The dialogue is the highlight of the script, and the performances are extremely high caliber—equaled by Zombie’s “House of 1000 Corpses” than, say, your average short film.

But the real surprise here is how well “Filthy” is made. This isn’t amateur hour here. Andy Lalino and John Karliss are the real deal; they show a keen eye for compositions and manipulate the lighting and color palates to create a strange and bizarre ambience, which truly enhances and even augments the film’s tone.

As for the DVD itself, this is a surprisingly large package for such a small film. Included here are three commentaries, an isolated music track, behind the scenes featurettes, a blooper reel, an alternate ending, deleted scenes, and more. This is certainly the most impressive package this reviewer has seen for such a short film.

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