Nov 20, 2022
Andrew Medeiros and Colby Cyrus
Andrew Medeiros and Colby Cyrus
Sarah Hirsch, Colby Cyrus, Andrew Medeiros, Taylor Carter
You may well ask yourself, does the world need another dumb slasher flick? And you would be right to do so. Even Mark Kermode – the Doctor of Horror – has said recently that he sincerely hopes the most recent iteration of the classic John Carpenter Halloween franchise, Halloween Ends(2022) really will be the end of it, with the film being a super dumb, shock free, scare free, horror lite version of the original with nothing new or good happening in it at all.
And so now we come to Exitus, named alongside another fifteen or so pieces of nonsense which have used this title to invoke some sort of fear or horror. Buddied up writers and directors, Andrew Medeiros and Colby Cyrus seem to believe, much like many other juvenile film-makers, that if you are just starting out making films and have a seriously low budget, then you have to go out and make a dumb slasher flick – to them it just makes sense. It means that you get to have blood and gore, you can promote sexual promiscuity, you can have your characters spout any old tripe that is just a thinly veiled excuse for you to air your own deep seated thoughts and beliefs, and you don't have to worry too much about plot because who really cares anyway? So this is what we've got.
After a couple of quick scenes and even quicker murders to provide some sort of context, we catch up with Don (Medeiros) and his pals as they rock up to his parents' winter house during a short break from university life. Along with him are his girlfriend Mary (Carter), his sister Lizzie (Hirsch) and her new boyfriend River (Cyrus), and a couple of other friends who are bisexual and who are therefore labelled for some reason as the most sexually promiscuous of the bunch in some truly diabolical scripting. Don quickly makes himself out to be a total asshole, although everyone seems fine with that because he has money, and he and Lizzie air each other's most personal family secrets in what is their first exchange of the film. The cliches are moving thick and fast.
It doesn't stop there though, as the rest of the thirty minute short film is just a series of slasher tropes which don't even have the courtesy of any preamble or lead in to build up tension, along with a bunch of Scream (1996) rip-offs and an angling at Bodies, Bodies, Bodies (2022). Medeiros and Cyrus even have Don give River the nickname of Dawson's Creek, presumably feeling the need to give some sort of nod to Kevin Williamson after stealing so much of his stuff.
Almost across the entire board the acting is awful with most of the main group just being bad but a few of the bit part actors, most notably Mayor Gibson and his wife, being truly terrible in their performance. The only person acting in there is Sarah Hirsch as Lizzie, who actually manages to deliver her lines as well as put across some sense of true emotion. The sound recording, too, seems to whimper out for large chunks of the movie, first at the beach, then at the table, where dialogue is barely audible and the ripped-off again Halloweenesque score is given preference. There is some saving grace in the cinematography and direction, which do produce a few nice shots, but these are mainly in the non-acted scenes and are therefore only background to the gory mess up front.
Exitus is a bad attempt at a bad movie – and no, that doesn't make it any good. Things start to make a lot more sense at the end when the credits roll and we see that Medeiros and Cyrus themselves have been playing the two main male parts all along, the two biggest roles in the film, and that they've written themselves into something they wanted to see. Judging by what they've produced though, they're likely to be the only ones.