Sundance Review: Duplass Brothers' Baghead
by Alex Billington
January 23, 2008
You'd never imagine that a guy with a bag on his head could be scary as hell, but I assure you, it is! Throw out all the typical movie conventions, Baghead is a refreshing new comedy thriller directed by up-and-coming indie filmmakers the Duplass Brothers. It's a documentary-like film that follows four quirky friends on an spur of the moment outing to a cabin. I hadn't heard of the Duplass Brothers beforehand, but now I'm hooked - these guys are the new generation of filmmakers and this is their must-see film.
Four budding actor friends, Matt (Ross Partridge), Catherine (Elise Muller), Chad (Steve Zissis), and Michelle (Greta Gerwig) decide to, on a whim, head out to a cabin in the forest to make a movie. Matt and Catherine are long-time dating off and on "friends" and Chad, who just met Michelle three months ago, wants to get with her. On the first night, Michelle has a dream where she sees a weird guy wearing a bag on his head in the forest, and Matt jumps on the idea as a plot for the film. From there the film goes on a wild and fun comical adventure with some fun twists that I won't even dare spoil.
I was thoroughly impressed with the Duplass Brothers' latest film and was 100% entertained. The comedy was genuine and the filmmaking was unique, nothing I'd ever really seen before. I might compare it to the Blair Witch Project, but it's not a documentary. Instead, I could reference Cloverfield, only in the sense that it was something really new and creative. While it's shot documentary style, the actors don't acknowledge the camera. This may sound annoying in description, but it really pulled me into the film, as if I was there having a fun adventure with these four friends. It's not used as a gimmick, but it's rather the style that the Duplass Brothers benefited from using.
I'm now a big Duplass Brothers fan and can't wait to see their previous Sundance film The Puffy Chair and follow their next project. Baghead was such a fun experience especially going in without any knowledge of what to expect. It starts out as a comedy with great humor then turns into a thriller that got my heart pumping. But they don't rely on blood or anything like that to thrill, it's suspenseful moments with perfectly placed comedy. Honestly, these guys deserve to be big! Go see Baghead!