As a lover of all things Troma Entertainment, you can pretty much imagine my glee with Sean Cranston's low-budget indie Redville crossed my desk with the announcement that the film had been picked up by my beloved Troma Entertainment for distribution on their Troma Now! channel.
I'm all in.
Indeed, Redville is an off-kilter, ultra-low budgeted indie flick centered around one adult, Tony (Anthony Mucci when younger; Paul Sacchetti as an adult), with a short fuse, a volatile personality, and the ability to hold a grudge for a very long time.
In this case, Tony gets the grudge when a graduation party goes awry and his girl is kissed by one of his "friends."
Let's just say it doesn't end well.
Twenty years later, Tony is happily married until that happy marriage comes to a screeching halt when metal meets guardrail and his beloved wife perishes. While Tony and his friends have been apart for 20 years, led by Julian (Gabe Romano when younger; Scott Thomson as an adult) they opt to return to town to support Tony in his time of need.
They have no idea what they're getting themselves into.
If you've ever watched a Troma flick, you have a pretty good idea of what to expect from a film like Redville. It's a wildly uneven thriller with moments of comedy, moments of drama, and a few rather horrific twists and turns. There's never any doubt that we're dealing with a low-budget flick here, but Cranston directs the story by Scott Thomson creatively and adds just enough twists to keep us invested throughout the film's 75-minute running time.
Cranston does his own lensing here and there's no denying that even low-budget lensing has improved dramatically since the earliest days of Troma. The vast majority of the imaging is pristine and even the low-light set-ups are surprisingly strong.
Filmed in upstate New York, Cranston capitalizes wisely on the dreary, wintry scenes and infuses the film with an immersive sense of melancholy with hints of dread. Yet, as well, Cranston handles the film's rather "normal" scenes quite nicely and despite being uneven this is a film that's easy to invest in.
You're definitely not going to confuse Redville with a major studio motion picture. If you require flawless cinematography, sound, and even acting, you'll likely find the fuel you need to dismiss the film. However, if you're an indie devotee like me the film will definitely be worth your time.
Sacchetti is strong here as the adult Tony. He drives homes the film's multitude of themes including friendship, revenge, tragedy and, of course, murder. Tony has a short few, but Sacchetti makes it so you can't help but want to watch when that fuse gets lit. Joe Reilly and Brian Kurtz are also strong as supporting players among others.
It's easy to see why Troma was drawn to the film. At times, it's a sort of paint-by-number thriller with hints of horror but occasionally lightning really strikes and Redville has definite moments of being a truly special film.
You can check out Redville for yourself on Troma Now!
Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic