In the world of the horror there are low budget films, very low budget films, and then there are the films of Mark Pirro shot on 8mm home movie camera for $2500. DECEPTORS is a rung or two up the ladder from Pirro but it's definitely an ultra low budget flick make no mistake about that and as such it has all the flaws that one normally finds in such films; acting that ranges from bad to embarrassingly bad, camera work that leaves a lot to be desired, music that drowns out significant portions of the dialogue, and special effects that aren't all that special. But like so many of its bretheren it also has enough of the good qualities found in these "garage" films to make it not only watchable but even enjoyable. Well, at least I enjoyed it; it's got humor, a bit of originality, a real manic feel to some of the performances, and that wonderful spark of enthusiam and love for the genre that you find only in this kind of flick. I can't say that anyonewho isn't immune to "Low Budget Disease" would feel the same way however.
Our story revolves around a group of con artists; Peter Campbell (played by director John Johnson) the nominal leader of the group, Susan Raimi (yes there's a tribute theme going on here), and Vincent Thomerson (you get two for one with his name) who are in cahoots with Warren Combs the owner of an occult bookstore. Combs (Lincoln L. Lilley) helps them pick out wonky people who think they have a paranormal problem and then the gang moves in, amps up the problem, and then solves it for them, for a nice fee of course. Think GHOSTBUSTERS here because that's exactly what they're parodying. Peter Campbell is a very theatrical version of Bill Murray--VERY theatrical. And very loud. He's the one character you can always hear. We meet them as they answer a call to solve a banshee problem for a young blond woman. All goes well until they get back to their motel and some twenty-something kid pops up asking to joing their group thinking they are real paranormal ghostbusters. It seems Vince has been talking too much when he gets drunk. They level with the kid explaining that it's all a scam but he still wants to join them. Cool, but a phone call that same night convinces them that far too many people know about them and it's time to skip town. The phone call was from a Mr. Ward who wants them to do a job; namely retreive an artifact from a certain local cemetery for him. Outside their door is a brown paper bag containg $689.67. When they bring back the artifact to their motel room there will be more money--in gold. They can't pass that up, so they agree to do one more job and then skip to town with Alex, the kid, in tow. Need I say that things go horribly wrong? They do. Raimi drops the pottery artifact and it shatters into 7 pieces, bad but not all that bad. They scoop up the pieces just as an inter-dimensional portal opens and 7 freaky looking characters emerge and wander off into the night. The rest of the film is about hunting down these inter-dimensional demons called Sinestrels and killing them.
Directed and co-written by John Johnson, DECEPTORS is surprisingly fun to watch. (It also has one of the funniest trailers I've ever seen on a film at this level--it's better than the film itself.) There's some genuine creativity going on if you are capable of looking past it's many flaws. Bad acting I overlook on a daily basis and I don't care at all if I can see how the blind succubus' make-up has been applied. The things that turn most people off on low budget flix don't phase me.The only thing that bothered me was the bad sound recording combined with the background music which frequently didn't stay far enough in the background. There wasn't a subtitle option so frequently I was at a loss as to what was being said since I am not a lip reader. I wonder why they never considered looping? The story was kind of cute and a couple of the characters were actually engaging--especially Warren Combs the bookstore owner. He reminded me of a lot of people I'd met at science fiction conventions over the years.
A sequel was all but promised at the end. I'd watch it.
Rating 3.5 rounded up for effort. Recommeded for fans of ultra low budget flix only.
HYPE FACTOR: You're kidding me, right?
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