'Cut!' can be cruel with its torture

Aspiring filmmaker. Psychopathic ex-con. In 'Cut!' you just know this won't end well

Supposedly inspired by true events, "Cut!" revolves around an aspiring filmmaker named Travis (David Rountree, also the director and co-writer), who helps psychopathic ex-con Lane (co-writer David Banks) land a job at a special-effects prop warehouse.

Lane, who seemingly harbors a predilection for snuff films, volunteers to assist Travis with his fiction project — which turns into a snuff film.

Rountree's film could have fallen back on the found-footage cliché but mercifully does not. But "Cut!" is a throwback to torture porn. The director and his costar geek out early on with a cameo from Suze Lanier-Bramlett of Wes Craven's 1977 "The Hills Have Eyes." The appearance seems completely gratuitous and not at all savvy; no homage is paid.

Rountree and Banks have come up with a nonsensical and pointless genre exercise, a film built on a couple of wool-over-the-eyes plot twists — one of which is spelled out repeatedly in case anyone misses it the first time. The twists seem like cheap shots, given that the rest of the film is full of plot holes. Would Travis want incriminating evidence to be released commercially into theaters with his name attached?

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"Cut!"

MPAA rating: None.

Running time: 1 hour, 42 minutes.

Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood.

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