Directed by Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy
Written by Conor Sweeney, Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy
Over the past few years, we’ve seen a number of homages to the giallo genre including Peter Strickland’s clever, slightly bizarre and altogether mesmerizing thriller Berberian Sound Studio, a movie that pays tribute to the old-school cinematic craftsmanship of sound mixing and sound effects. The Editor, like Berberian Sound Studio, features a movie-within-a-movie only this time it’s the editor, not the foley artist, who gets the spotlight. Set in an Italian movie studio plagued by death, the film’s deceptively simple plot involves Rey Ciso (co-director Adam Brooks), a once prominent film editor who accidentally chopped off four of his fingers and is now forced to edit with one hand. Cisco becomes the prime suspect in a series of gruesome murders perpetrated upon the film’s cast. Certainly, there is far more plot to be found here, but to say more would be giving away the many, unexpected twists and turns.
The film comes from Astron-6, a Canadian film company founded in 2007 by Adam Brooks and Jeremy Gillespie. They later expanded to include Matt Kennedy, Conor Sweeney and Steven Kostanski, who are now equal partners in the company. Taking cues from low-budget, high-concept horror of yesteryear, the crew has amassed an ardent following with such films as Manborg and Father’s Day. With The Editor, it helps that Brooks and Kennedy are given a bigger budget than Astron-6’s previous films and it shows. Filmmakers Matthew Kennedy and Adam Brooks have flawlessly captured the low-budget, amateurish look and feel of giallo, a unique sub-genre of Italian horror that became popular in the 70’s and proved to be a major influence on the American slasher films of the 1980’s. The Editor boasts stylish cinematography which captures the garish lighting schemes, quick zooms and bright fluorescent colours associated with the genre. Fans of the giallo will appreciate the awkward jump cuts and not-so-convincing 80s-style practical effects where dummies and props were obviously used. There’s even a sumptuous synth-driven score composed by Claudio Simonetti of Goblin, the Italian progressive rock band best known for their soundtrack work on Dario Argento’s films. Those who are familiar with the genre will recognize the clear homages to iconic scenes from films like Suspiria, Inferno, City of the Living Dead, Eyeball, Opera, The House by the Cemetery, Murder Rock and a number of other non-giallo pics including David Cronenberg’s Videodrome. Stylistically, the pic does a great job of reproducing the genre’s unique cinematic language, from the stylistic set-pieces, the masked killers, the gratuitous nudity (including a fair amount of full-frontal) and the over-the-top gore. The Editor has all the makings of a horror classic but one major flaw…
The biggest disappointment with The Editor (in this critic’s eyes), is that The Editor acts as nothing more than a parody of giallo. Kennedy and Brooks’ ongoing barrage of cheap jokes and gags delivered in deadpan fashion, almost always, fall completely flat. Whoever it was that said, “Dying is easy — comedy is hard” knew what he or she was talking about. Genre parodies can be funny, but there are many elements that must be present in order for the parody to be a success. Unfortunately, The Editor is missing a few of the key ingredients to make it work. And although it’s crafted with tons of style, it runs out of steam almost as quickly as it starts. The filmmakers of The Editor bring a level of outlandish gore to their project, and pile on the mandatory body count, but mixing horror and humor is no easy feat, and The Editor struggles to get it right, often getting lost in a series of random scenes that never amount to anything more than style over substance.
– Ricky D