Pitched as “The Breakfast Club” meets “Hostel” meets “Veronica Mars” for it’s Indiegogo campaign writer/director Jake McDowell’s Bottle Up is an entertaining hybrid of several genres with a retro feeling added in.
Buddies Brad (Kyle Bell) and Andy (Korri Birch) make the mistake of accepting an invitation to party from some girls they meet on Facebook. However instead of the expected night of drunken sex they find themselves the captives of Kristen (MacKenzie Boyd-Garrison) and Ginny (Samantha Walton) two cyber vigilantes who are convinced at least one of them is responsible for the rape and murder of their friend. Things rapidly spiral out of control in violent and darkly funny ways.
I was unfamiliar with Jake McDowell before this film despite his having several features to his credit and that’s a shame because he obviously has talent and put a lot into this film. The film has some moments of actual suspense among the twisted humor and manages to make what easily could have been a horrible mess into a well done black comedy. There are moments when the elements don’t quite mesh, like the video static through the film which seems badly out of place. The 80’s styled synth soundtrack and theme song “Basement” which reeks of 80’s Goth in the best possible way certainly hark back to the VHS era. The more modern Hostel style elements actually blend in nicely with it and the John Hughes inspired characters. And as you can imagine a mix like that is ripe for being sent up, which thankfully happens mostly organically from the situations not in a Scary Movie sort of way. The one exception being the policewoman at the end who is an obvious and annoying Jewish stereotype, the film would have been better off without it.
Currently available on Vimeo, Bottle Up is certainly worth the price of a rental.