The Movie Image

The Movie

By Michael Talbot-Haynes | October 3, 2022

Bravely spelunking the darkness for the unmined comedic potential of torturing women, we have writer/director Michael Mandell’s controversial feature debut, The Movie. The film follows Janet (Bonnie Root), an award-winning actress whose career has been on the wane. Ding-dong, someone’s at the door, Janet! It’s a special delivery of a huge oversized package being dropped off by Walter (Jarrod Pistilli). Walter keeps offering to push the package in on his dolly. Once inside, Walter doesn’t want to leave as he is a big fan of Janet and wants her to read his screenplay, as he is an up-and-coming filmmaker. She barely tolerates him and keeps asking him to leave. Instead, Walter locks Janet in a dark closet to consider being in his movie.

When he pulls her out, Walter ties Janet to the dolly and proceeds to film his script right there in Janet’s house. It is a romantic comedy about a woman who falls in love with a Scandinavian refrigerator repairman. It will be shot POV as Walter has cameras strapped on his head and torso, and lucky Janet is the lead. Her character, Claudia, flirts and cooks dinner for Walter’s character, Gustave, all while tied up to the dolly. The story has Claudia give Gustave all her money and jewelry. Then Claudia must offer Gustave her car. When Janet complains, Walter blames the robberies on the script. Walter explains it’s Gustave doing all these awful things, not him. What vile things will come up next in the screenplay that won’t be Walter’s fault? Is mutilation on the horizon, and if so, whose?

“…Walter ties Janet to the dolly and proceeds to film his script right there…”

If the above synopsis seems a rather light tone for such grisly subject matter, that is exactly how it is presented in The Movie. Mandell gives the production an atmosphere of a Daffy Duck vs. Porky Pig cartoon, except with the duck tying the pig up and then performing horrid acts. It feels awkward in the beginning as Walter is obviously up to no good, and we wish Janet could find a way to make him leave. When things start getting rough, we start to get interesting friction between the light tone and the heavy s**t going down.

When the film within the film begins shooting, things switch from uneasy to genuinely funny. Walter’s flick is truly horrible, with the worst exposition and dialogue ever written. This hilarious idiocy is enhanced by Janet acting her part while tied down. The stupidity of the project is well laid out by Janet, and how do you think that goes? Mandell gets laughs off of Walter’s buffoonery and ineptitude, all the while piling up the hate points against him.

The Movie (2022)

Directed and Written: Michael Mandell

Starring: Bonnie Root, Jarrod Pistilli, etc.

Movie score: 6.5/10

The Movie Image

"…a surprise event halfway through that freshens up the viewing experience..."

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Join our Film Threat Newsletter

Newsletter Icon