10th May2019

‘Saint Bernard’ Blu-ray Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Jason Dugre, Katy Sullivan, Peter Iasillo Jr., Jack Doroshow, Bob Zmuda, Warwick Davis, George Clayton Johnson | Written and Directed by Gabe Bartalos

st-bernard-poster

Now I’m not silly enough to think that any movie that is completely original or, at least shows some originality, is going to be good. But I am in the camp that believes filmmakers should definitely be trying to make movies that no one else has or that they have never seen before. And if someone does that, they will at the very least, have my attention.

And from the first few minutes, Saint Bernard definitely grabbed my attention. But I had no idea the kind of craziness that would happen in the next ninety minutes.

Make no mistake about it, Saint Bernard is a crazy movie. By the time the credits roll I wondered if I understood anything that I had just watched but not in a way that I had wasted my time. More like a way that there was so much to take in and so much that is very very strange that it needed a re-watch to fully take it all in and understand.

We get to enter the mind of a composer. A man who from a young age, heard music differently from others and always knew what he wanted to be. But at some point from being a boy to becoming a man, his mind went in the ‘wrong’ direction and things got a little bit messed up. The film follows this messed up mind as we enter the head of a mad man. From this we get idea after idea from the director/writer (Gabriel Bartalos) that just gets more and more bizarre. Whether it’s cgi human/worm creations or wooden traps that appear from nowhere or practical effect-created monsters. And that is just scratching the surface!

What is clear is that Bartalos (whose previous work was on make-up and effects for films such as The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, Dolls, Frankenhooker and many more) and the film-makers had a vision and done everything in their power to make that. Even if the budget didn’t really help it. The set, props, creatures and world they have created is incredible. Less motivated directors would not put anywhere near this amount of effort into these things. Many things look ‘homemade’ – for want of a better term. This look definitely has a charm to it. It feels more like an odd indie film from the nineties than one that was made recently (this was originally made in 2012 But is only now getting a release). Little things like a case with numerous keys that needed turning to unlock it. Everything you see is very much a one-off made for Saint Bernard and that makes it feel a little bit special or a trapdoor-like sign for one character to answer a question. This aspect of the movie reminded me of the bizarre British comedy show The Mighty Boosh.

The practical effects do play a big part in the few moments of gore that no doubt will please horror fans. The highlight coming when one character has her legs run over leading to an explosion of blood and entrails while she seats there screaming and looking down at what was once a pair of functioning limbs but is now more like red tentacles. We also get a Scanners exploding head moment which is always great to see!

Movies like Saint Bernard will always have a place in my heart because they are made by people that want to make something that no one else will make – before or again – maybe because no one else wants to make something like this! But this doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. It’s clearly far from perfect, I wouldn’t argue too much with anyone that said it was a mess of a movie at times. But it’s an enjoyable mess and I loved how insane and strange Saint Bernard is.

*** 3/5

Saint Bernard premieres on Blu-ray, DVD and digital platforms on May 14th from Severin Films.

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