I’ve been a fan of John Schneider‘s work since I was a little kid and I saw him and his brother crazily jumping an orange car all around Hazzard County. I followed his career as I grew up and Schneider went from tv series to tv series until he got more steady work on Smallville. I had seen his role on Nip/Tuck as Ram Peters, but as Jonathan Kent; I think he really got to flex his acting chops, as well as taking on roles behind the scenes directing an episode.
Schneider had dabbled in directing throughout his career, but his first feature-length film is Smothered. The film where he takes his love for horrors biggest icons by putting them all in a movie and turning the typical slasher film conventions on its head. You can see a passion for the genre on the screen, I only wish the end result was a little better than what I witnessed for an hour and a half.
I’m all about giving shout-outs to the heroes of our past. What Sylvester Stallone has done with The Expendables is admirable, albeit I’ve found myself bored with both movies; but you can’t deny the chemistry between the stars and just how cool it is to see everyone on the screen at once. In the same vein, is John Schneider’s Smothered. Taking Jason (Kane Hodder), Leatherface (R.A. Mihailoff) , Michael Myers (Don Shanks), Otis (Bill Moseley) from Devil’s Rejects, and putting them all together is something I’ve always geek-dreamed about.
The premise of the film is that these stars, who play themselves, aren’t making any money at conventions anymore and get an invitation to make some big bucks if they haunt a trailer park. The narrative of the film is told in a disjointed manner, so it takes a bit to really figure out what’s going on with one minute someone getting killed, and next they are alive and chumming about. At first I was confused, but when it all came together it actually turned out to be a pretty cool way to tell our hero’s journey.
Along the way of getting to this trailer park, they meet their benefactor, Agness (Amy Brassette) and her voluptuous daughter, DeeDee (Brea Grant). Grant is really the star of the film as she switches between innocent southern girl and tempestuous siren. The other great stand out for me was Don Shanks. He was pretty hilarious as the swarthy tough guy and you could tell that he really languished being in the role. Everyone seemed to be having a good time on-screen and it added to the enjoyment.
Being that this was a horror film, there were a lot of deaths as well. I won’t give any away as they are pretty inventive; but I will tell you that there’s a reason that this film is called Smothered, and it definitely plays into one of the gruesome murders.
- An accurate depiction of Horror conventions
- Kane Hodder living to go on to become another great Horror Icon, and getting the girl
- Andrew Bowen and John Kassir‘s cameos
- I didn’t like how the introduction of the characters had a typed out Name and Movie that they starred in, yet when it’s mentioned what movies there were in, in the actual film, it was something different.
- I couldn’t understand anything that Agness said, I’m not sure if it was intentional or not
I give Smothered a 3.5 outta 5 stars. I enjoyed Schneider’s throwback to the icons of the past and his unique narrative. I hope the film gets picked up for distribution soon because it would be really great to see what Schneider will do with his next film. Personally, I think it would be pretty great if he did an action/adventure film, given his rich background in action and comic roles with Smallville and Dukes of Hazzard.
Smothered is directed by John Schneider and stars: Bill Moseley, Kane Hodder, R.A. Mihailoff, Dane Rhodes, Malcolm Danare, Don Shanks, Brea Grant, John Kassir, Amy Brassette, Rachel Alana Handler, Michael Berryman, and Shanna Forrestall.