• A Review Page For Those Movies You Watch At Home!

    Couch Potato Movie Reviews is, obviously, a blog that exclusively reviews movies. What makes this blog different is the fact that all of the films we are reviewing are all movies that are available on home movie rental companies such as Redbox, Netflix, Blockbuster, and your quickly disappearing neighborhood rental store. This blog is designed to take a more detailed look at those movies that either were sent straight to DVD, received a very limited release in the theaters, or were distributed through the art house or film festival circuit. We will also review those big Hollywood films, but only after they are available for home viewing.

    All the reviews are written by fans of the great art of film making rather than some newspaper reviewer or stuffy film student. We don’t know everything about film but we do know what we like, and we are more than happy to share our opinions with you. What you do with those opinions are totally up to you, although comments are welcome and encouraged.

    Each film review has a one to five star rating at the end of the critique. Here is what those star ratings mean for you couch potatoes:

    * * * * * : Five stars: go and buy this one, don’t just rent it!

    * * * * : Four stars: put this at the top of your rental list.

    * * * : Three stars: average, not bad just not great either.

    * * : Two stars: only rent if you have to see everything.

    * : One star: don’t waste your time with this.

Scrapbook

TITLE: Scrapbook

YEAR: 2000

GENRE: Horror

If one reads reviews from fans at Netflix it would seem that there is no such thing as a good micro-budget film. Granted, finding actors with any notoriety that will work for free or using state of the art technology and special effects are greatly hindered when the wallet has nothing but dust and list as its contents. However, quality thespians and a storyline that captures the interest of the viewer can always raise a film above its financial limitations. Shock value and extreme situations does not hurt the cause either and may help create a buzz for the finished product. These factors fortunately combined in the torture horror film Scrapbook, which is a shocking expose on the evils that one person can inflict onto another.

Leonard (played by Tommy Biondo) is one disturbed young man whose childhood memories include being molested by his sister and anally raped by his big brother. Now 25, Leonard is a serial killer who has twelve kills under his belt. Rape, murder, and power over another are his mantra, and he chronicles his brutality in a scrapbook where he keeps pictures of his suffering victims, mementos of the individuals such as personal items and identification, and even writings from the victims about their captor and inevitable demises. Leonard’s new captive is Clara (Emily Haack), and he imprisons her in a run down, filthy mobile home and performs his usual raping of her body and pillaging of her soul. However Clara is a survivor and she uses Leonard’s precious scrapbook to her advantage.

Scrapbook does have its limitations in the production department: the sound at times is quite weak and almost hard to hear at times, and the filming periodically could use a few more camera angle. That being said, Scrapbook is a disturbing piece of torture horror that is very well made considering its financial limitations. The best aspect of this film is the selection of the two actors as both are excellent in their presentation and do not fall into overacting. Biondo plays the psychotic killer very well and is quite convincing in his role, but Haack is the story here as she is utterly fantastic as the plotting victim. Both performers were expected to act in unnerving situations such as graphic sexual positions and (mostly Haack) being covered with urine, blood and feces and they still executed their roles in an admirable and convincing fashion. Haack is not the best looking woman on film (maybe why she is mostly doing low budget films instead of more lucrative roles), but she is a finely tuned thespian with a great dramatic flair and I am looking forward to more roles from her. The tension and repulsion levels in Scrapbook are always turned to eleven from the beginning and include extremely graphic scenes of rape and torture, so people who can not turn off the morality button when watching a known disturbing film such as Scrapbook should dodge this like a barrel filled with disease-infected chimpanzees. The ending is also creative and fairly satisfying for the fans, and as expected it is violent and sadistic.

Biondo unfortunately had a short film career as he was accidentally killed during his next shoot and was never able to see the Scrapbook finished product. This is definitely not a film for everybody, but fans of extreme horror and torture-oriented films should put Scrapbook at the top of their Netflix queue. Nobody under 18 should even see Scrapbook because the sexual positions are about as close as rape porn as possible, but for those old enough and the ones that enjoy the Saw and Hostel franchises will find Scrapbook to be a quality albeit zero budget production that delivers the blood and violence at a breakneck pace.

* * * 1/2

–Mark

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