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Blu-ray Review: Hellaware [Factory 25]

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Hellaware
Studio: Factory 25

Apr 25, 2022
Web Exclusive

By Austin Trunick

Twenty-five year old Nate (Keith Poulson), already at risk of aging out of his NY hipster art scene, takes a creative leap to kick start his photography career. With the encouragement of his former professor and a cynical gallery owner, he drives down to Delaware to shoot photos of the Young Torture Killers, a teenage horrorcore group whose amateur music video, “I’ll Cut Yo Dick Off,” Nate stumbled across during an intoxicated YouTube crawl.

What he finds in Delaware doesn’t quite meet his expectations. The “show” advertised on their website is more of a basement hangout, where a small group of kids in clown makeup drink 40s, smoke weed, and spit freestyle rhymes into a PA system while their parents ignore the bass thumping downstairs. But, there’s something interesting to Nate in these hopeless youths and their sort of Dollar General libertine lifestyles. When he sniffs art world interest in his first set of photos, Nate decides to head south again for another photo shoot—this time, supplying them with drugs to earn their trust.

Hellaware is a grim comedy, but with quite a few laughs at the expense of Nate’s “cultured” art community. The fools here aren’t the ones bouncing around in greasepaint clown makeup, but the artist, gallerist, and collectors who look down on them as a case for cultural study, rather than as fellow creatives. The ending comes on quite abruptly—the movie’s only 73 minutes long—but it lands as a perfect punchline to the film.

Factory 25’s Blu-ray release comes with a handful of deleted scenes, as well as the full-length “I’ll Cut Yo Dick Off” music video, which went viral ahead of the movie’s release when online press outlets assumed it was genuine. The director (Michael M. Bilandic), star (Poulson), and cinematographer (Sean Price Williams) supply a commentary track. Along with a thick booklet of essays, it’s a great release for this indie comedy—although, you have to wonder whether it will resonate as much with someone who never inhabited one of the insular art circles it pokes fun at.

(vinegarsyndrome.com/collections/frontpage-partner-labels/products/hellaware-factory-25)

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