Oh, how I love discovering fantastic no-name, no-budget films. It's always a treat I can truly appreciate, for it's a rarity on par with Chupacabra sightings; the infrequency of these events bums me out, but it makes their occurrence that much more special, I suppose. And no, I'm not claiming I've ever seen a Chupacabra, but I'd much rather live in a world where it's a possibility than a world where it isn't. I mean...which is more fun? The truth is out there! Trust no one! Don't be such a Scully!
The fantastic no-name, no-budget film I discovered last night is Dan Mintz's 2001 paranoia-infused drug-ladened Cookers, a film that proves how much can be done with very little when capable hands are at work.
Hector (Brad Hunt) and Dorena (Cyia Batten) have just stolen a huge shitload of pseudoephedrine with the intent on making a mother lode of crystal meth; they vaguely dream of using the profits to fund a Caribbean-island style retirement from drugs. They hole up in an abandoned farmhouse procured by Hector's mulleted ol' juvie pal Merle (Patrick McGaw) and set about cooking up batches and shooting, snorting, and smoking as much meth as possible.
The more drugs they ingest and the longer they stay awake, the more paranoid they become. Hector puts padlocks on all the doors and blacks out all the windows; eventually Merle relates a local urban legend/ghost story that sets the gang completely over the edge. They begin to see shapes lurking around corners and hearing noises all over the house, and neither they nor the audience can discern hallucinations from reality. Are they alone in the house? Can they trust each other, even? Oops! Dorena lost a tooth! Isn't crystal meth awesome?
Cookers was made on a shoestring budget, but that's irrelevant if, as I said earlier, a filmmakers can use the budget to maximum effect by featuring a great location and hiring a capable cast- and director Mintz and crew really deliver with Cookers.
The abandoned farmhouse where a majority of the movie takes place sets the mood perfectly- there are corners everywhere, hidden doorways, and the structure is rotting and dark. Once Hector covers all the windows, the only available light comes from candles and lanterns, there are shadows upon shadows, and it's all a creepy affair.
I can't say enough good things about the cast- all of them were fantastic, in particular Brad Hunt as Hector. By all accounts his portrayal of a paranoid, potentially violent tweaker is indeed accurate- and again, I say, isn't meth awesome? We eventually get glimpses into Dorena's past that show how vulnerable people can get caught up in the lifestyle and become hardcore druggies, and again- we get a great performance by Cyia Batten. After I finished the movie, I wondered about the three actors- they were all good enough that I'd like to see them again- and I was blown away by the fact that Cyia Batten is a founding member of the fucking Pussycat Dolls. I don't know if it was the late hour, but when I read that tidbit on imdb, something about that trivia kind of turned my world upside down for just a minute. It's like finding an actor intriguing in a good film and then the actor turns out to be Baby Spice...not that her performance in Spice World was anything less than astonishing, mind you, but it just goes to show you something something.
Give Cookers a try- you might be as pleasantly surprised as I was; I really liked this film. But remember kids- hugs, not drugs!