Written and directed by Elias (I know, I know, many people distrust any director who only goes by one name but put that prejudice aside for the moment and hear me out), Gut is a low-budget, independent horror that works hard to make the most of its limited resources. Elias has written and directed a few shorts before this one but this is his first feature and he definitely deserves some praise for it.
The plot revolves around Tom (Jason Vail) and Dan (Nicholas Wilder). These two men work together but they used to be almost inseparable friends when younger, or so it is implied. Life has led them in different directions with Tom now attempting to create domestic bliss with his wife (Sarah Schoofs) and daughter (played by two young girls, Kirstianna and Kaitlyn Mueller) while Dan keeps doing what he's always done, he stays at home and watches lots of horror movies. Ideally, he wants to also spend time with his buddy and enjoy the movies with company but it will take something extra special to convince Tom to pop round. He finds something special but it's so dark and disturbing that neither man can shake it out of their minds once it's over. Is it actually real or just a very well-crafted slice of extreme cinema?
It's far from perfect but I have to say that Gut is one of the better low-budget, indie efforts that I've seen in recent years. Let's face it, any film that doesn't simply try to blend in with the oversaturated zombie or vampire movie market deserves a certain amount of goodwill for not just taking the easy option. Others have already mentioned that Gut is quite a Cronenbergian movie and that's a fair comparison to make. The modern classic Videodrome springs to mind. Gut may not have the body horror of that Cronenberg movie but it shares the theme of people stumbling upon extreme entertainment and finding their thoughts polluted by it.
Jason Vail and Nicholas Wilder aren't too bad in the lead roles but they're not great either. Wilder does better with his role but Vail is the one who has to bare himself, literally, and kudos to him for that. Sarah Schoofs is probably the weakest link but Angie Bullaro is a pleasure to watch as a waitress who Dan starts to flirt with, to the surprise of both himself and Tom.
It has a strange eroticism to it, even during the sequences shown on the mysterious tape itself, and this is the best aspect of the film. It's what makes the whole thing more than just a slow burn, more than just a tease. All of the minor failings (the pacing being just a bit too slow, the acting just falling short of something polished, the obvious limitations of the budget) add up, sadly, to drag the film down and it won't be one that people reared on a diet of mainstream cinema may be prepared to watch from start to finish but I hope that horror fans find it and give it a chance, I think that Elias has the potential to give fans even better stuff further down the line and I recommend checking it out as something a bit different from the norm.
Available to view here for US peeps - http://www.amazon.com/Gut/dp/B009VB7NWM/ref=sr_1_11?s=instant-video&ie=UTF8&qid=1350999292&sr=1-11