From ’90s science-fiction fave Robert Leeshock, star of Earth: Final Conflict, and starring Z Nation‘s Russell Hodgkinson comes a Richard Cranor film, Star Leaf. We sent Brooker to investigate this curious stoner horror.
by Andrew Brooker (@Brooker411)
It’s always a crap shoot when you watch low budget, straight-to-video movies, especially when you’re watching anything in the horror genre. You go in hoping for a diamond in the rough, a hidden hit that you can rave about and be that guy that introduced everyone to the coolest film you’ve seen in ages. Everyone wants to be that guy. Everyone remembers that guy. Every single person remembers the dude that recommended The Boondock Saints to them and praises them for it. (If no-one has recommended The Boondock Saints, you’ll remember me for it after I tell you to drop everything and go see the Saints, right now) Sadly, we’re more likely to be left with a bad taste in our mouths when yet another disappointment of a film’s credits roll and we are left wondering what the hell we just watched.
I was so desperately hoping that Star Leaf would be the former. Three buddies head off to the woods in search of marijuana with rumoured extra-terrestrial origins, angering the aliens that left it there and having to fight to survive. It sounds like it should easily fall into the “so bad it’s good” category with a few cheap laughs and a few shitty effects to get a giggle out of. Sadly, all we got with this half-baked wannabe road movie was the shitty effects that, without all that other stuff, was just exhausting.
A serving US Marine on leave is tagging along with his ex-marine buddy and his girlfriend on a trip to the beach via a crop of weed that has, if you believe the stories, been left there by aliens. Supposedly the best stuff anyone has ever smoked, literally out of this world, the not-quite-stoners find themselves an old man living in a cabin in the woods with his other half who is the guardian of a map to this mystic crop. Taking his payment in (I shit you not) gummy bears, the man hands over the location to the crop and the rules that come with access. No pictures, no video, no taking for your own use at home, simple. The second the trio breaks the rules, all hell breaks loose as the off-world guardians seek to stop those intent on stealing ET’s stash!
Some spectacularly rubbish tripping scenes that include fire breathing deer and Asian fairies, clearly made after the director learned how to do lens flare in After Effects, lead into the world’s creepiest park ranger appearing to the smoke-heads and telling them bizarre, unwanted stories of camping trips and a moose having sex with a bear! Soon after this, the most boring, least threatening, frowny faced aliens in the history of shit rubber masks appear to one of the group, giving him the best Clint Eastwood “get off my lawn” look it can muster in a mask that looks like it was made by melting a handful of chocolate flavoured Durex over a rock.
The film is a 75 minute long checklist of poor decisions and poorer directing. Trying to be self aware with a Blair Witch style scene of the marine talking into the camera “I know this looks like a scene from some bullshit horror movie” he says, without a hint of irony as I nearly choke on my drink. Yes mate, “bullshit horror film” is right. I couldn’t take a single scene seriously as the film went old-school bananas with guys shaking the bushes trying to emote a scare or two from me. All it got was me in a seemingly constant state of eye rolling and more laboured moaning than an Amsterdam peep show.
Star Leaf is a rubbish concept of a movie that has been very poorly realised. It doesn’t have a single redeeming feature. In fact, the most interesting part was when I had to troubleshoot the stream when it refused to go further than the 51 minute mark and I had to decide whether or not it was worth trying to fix it to finish watching, I wish I hadn’t bothered. Take my advice, if you’re going to watch this film, make sure you’ve got a joint or two close by. It’s the only way this movie will come even close to bearable.
Richard Cranor’s science-fiction/horror film is now available from Leomark Studios, available to order from http://www.starleafmovie.com/