Welcome to Dreadville (2007) – By Duane L. Martin

Director Jason Patfield contacted me a while back and asked me to review his series of related shorts called The Welcome to Dreadville Series.  I couldn’t do it at the time because of some previous commitments, but I told him to contact me again a bit later and remind me about it and I’d take care of it.  Well, finally…here it is.  Thanks to Jason for his patience.

Each film in the series has its own title and story.  What relates them is that they all take place in a made up town called Dreadville somewhere in Illinois.  The main lesson you learn from these films is that…well…Dreadville sucks!  There’s all kinds of nasty crap going on there perpetuated by a bunch of low class people.  There’s something about a crime syndicate moving in and taking over the drug trade there as well, but this is more of a contributory thing rather than something that permeates every story.  Each film is a story in and of itself, and they range from drug crime to murder to the supernatural.

The equipment used to make these films obviously wasn’t the best.  The visual quality is just ok, the sound all sounds like it was recorded with the camera mic, and generally everything looks rather amateurish in it’s production.  Now, that said, these four films in the series are all quite well written, and the acting is pretty damn decent considering.  When you have those two elements, the production elements that are lacking are a lot easier to overlook, because the key in any film is that the viewer can enjoy what they’re watching.  Still, production value is something that I hope Jason will constantly strive to improve upon, as it will only make his already good films even better.

I’m not going to get into each of the stories here as there are four of them and it would end up turning this review into a book.  I’m actually sitting here trying to think of something to compare these films to, so I can give you a better idea of what the series is.  It’s not really like The Twilight Zone or Tales From the Darkside or Outer Limits or anything like that.  It’s more like…jeez, I don’t even know.  Basically, if it’s messed up, it can happen in Dreadville.

Jason Patfield has a great start on the series and I hope he continues to make more Dreadville films, and that he’ll work to overcome some of the technical issues to add a bit more polish to the films.  I personally would like to see more supernatural elements in them, but the cool thing about these films is that you never know what’s coming next.  It could be supernatural, psychological, criminal or anything else he can come up with.  Only time will tell where this series will go, but I have a feeling that wherever it goes, it’s going to be a wild ride.

Actually, I just found a description for three of the four films in an e-mail, so I’ll include them here…

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Title: Are You Rei? (Yourei = Usually a unfortunate spirit that remains on Earth rather than moving on to the afterlife.)
 
Plot: Sam Chasta is left mentally scarred after being involved in a tragic accident with her daughter Rei. Eric Chasta; Sam’s brother observes the trouble Sam has adjusting to her new life style, and when he invites Social Worker Peter Clark to help her gain control, strange apparitions start to appear. Suddenly they realize Sam has more to conquer then just her disabilities.
 
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Title: Distraught
 
Plot: A missing person, a detective on the case, and a killer on the loose.
When does the torture stop? When your dead.
 
(Strong overtones of Japanese Cult Classic Guinea Pig, Note! This was released and developed prior to Hostel..)
 
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Title: Addict
 
Plot: As The Syndicated Mafia pump’s the newest, highly addictive drug Jak into the small town of Dreadville, Eric Chasta realizes he has one more problem to conquer. This includes dealing with his ex-girlfriend Jenny Walker, Dodging his arch rival Carmen Aurello and worst feeding his addictive habits. Will Eric’s future depend on his decisions or has his future already been written?

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The other film is called Red in Dreadville and is about an unlikely female mob assassin who’s basically nuts.  She end up killing a local pimp in what turned out to be a really funny scene.  I still wanna know what the hell she put on that spaghetti!

Anyway, this is a cool series, and I have a feeling that it’ll only get better and better with each passing installment.  What’s really cool about it is that it allows Jason to explore different genres all within the same series.  You don’t always get that freedom when you do a series, so only time will tell where that freedom will take us next.

If you’d like to find out more about this series, you can check out the Bubblenutz Productions MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/bublenutzproduction.