The Van (2003) – By Christopher James

One cold night I got a call from a writer friend of mine that  had been sent two micro cinema flicks to review.  So he shows up with a bottle of vodka and these destined to be cult classics; Dr. Erotic’s House of Idiots and The Van.  I was actually somewhat looking forward to House of Idiots because of its cast.  Appearances by the likes of Trent Haaga, Conrad Brooks, Debbie Rochon, and Brinke Stevens smelled like a good time.  The Van was an unknown movie by unknown filmmakers with an unknown cast.  So, of course, we popped in House of Idiots first.  What we got was an aptly made film with a talented B cast that may be the most aptly made piece of crap in history.  It looked and sounded OK and the cast seemed to be having fun but it’s one of those movies that’s so dumb and pointless that you can’t understand how anyone would find any enjoyment in the film whatsoever unless they were into dumb, boring, pointless dribble.  We made it through about an hour of the film and then just started fast forwarding through it to see if anything cool would happen in the whole movie.  Then it became too boring even in fast forward mode so we finally gave up.  

Then we put in the next movie.  To save time, we decided to watch the trailer first.  If the trailer sucked, then we wouldn’t suffer through another crapfest.  Luckily for us, the trailer for The Van was more entertaining than the entire hour+ that we watched of Dr. Horror’s Erotic House of Crap.  Cool music, violence, sex, and a priceless retard made for a terrific trailer.  Or maybe Dr. Horror’s was just SO bad (for us, there are those who like that movie wholeheartedly—decide for yourself) that it made this film look better.  Of course, we decided to watch The Van.  

The basic idea of The Van is that a serial killer’s soul is in the van and people who enter the van can get possessed by this serial killer’s soul.  So you see the serial killer’s story in a wrap around and then three segments, each directed by different guys;  Aaron and Tyler Burke and Brad Paulson.  The three went on to do the dark horror-comedy Bloodstained Bride and Paulson recently directed the Joe Bob Briggs flick Evil Ever After.  While all three stories have their strengths and weaknesses, the real stand out is the short by Aaron Burke that stars retarded actor Nick Daley.  Nick plays the classic “always getting picked on nerd”—only he’s retarded on top of being a nerd.  Best of all, there’s no acting involved—Nick is, apparently, really “special”.  Nick is hands down what you’ll remember years later about this film.  

As for the film overall, it keeps its pacing nicely despite having three directors.  The stories all work and the acting is passable.  The downside is the occasionally poorly lit scene that causes too much pixilation.  As for the soundtrack of the film, it is cool and helps the movie keep a mad teenager feel to it.  

In the end, the movie was a blast to watch with unabashed violence, some laughs and hot women.  If you’re into micro films, this is one of the better ones and definitely worth checking out.