February 7, 2012
This little no budget horror short is the end result of the hard work and struggles by Mark Borchardt and Co. as depicted in the documentary American Movie.
It concerns a loser substance abusing writer who tries to re-examine his life and change things around by going to a support group to fix things. The group he goes to however, end up being more sinister tha nthey first seem, and our protagonist gets far more than he bargained for or expected.
To see this film's creation, and to hear Mark talk about it, and filmmaking in general, it seems like he really knows what the hell he's doing, and all of his struggles are not due to lack of knowledge or training in the art of filmmaking. What this film ends up being though, is maybe realistically more of what everyone but Mark can see: a messy, amateurish, and slightly pretentious B-movie that, while entertaining, is sorta worse than anyone might admit.
I actually kinda like it though. Sure, it's not good, but compaed to some of the crap that my friends and I made or tried to make when we were bored kids trying to stay out of trouble, this is frickin' art. It's not great, but it's far better and more competantly put together than it could have been, especially ocnsidering the context surrounding its creation.
Also, because I watched American Movie before I saw this, I think that too weighs in with how I feel about it. You have to give Mark and Co. some credit, and you really want ot see them succeed, even if in your heart you know that realistically things will never be as great as they envision it in their heads.
Yeah, the film is pretty rough and raw, but it really adds to the atmosphere of the story and gives it character. As far as the acting goes, well, it's not great, but I've seen big budget Hollywood films that were far worse. Again, I'm contextualizing and juding it through a certain lens, but even if I didn't this would still be better than a lot of things I've seen.
All in all, this is a msut-see if you got anything positive from American Movie, and you give a dman about struggling filmmakers whose dreams and ambitions far outweigh everything else in their lives. Plus, it's only 40 minutes, so if you hate it you won't lose too much of your time.
July 26, 2013
this is a shockingly well-shot amateur film that's actually better than what american movie made it look. it is definitely pretty stupid and wanders off and filled with all sorts of plot holes, inadvertent goofs, bad acting, editing, etc etc etc but the fact that it's even the least bit watchable is an achievement in itself, and the independent film spirit is definitely there. the campiness even adds to the charm, in fact
February 4, 2013
Coven was a very interesting little film. It wasn't long and filled with effects and wild stunts. It was a quaint little film that really delved deep into a situation that would make you question yourself in terms of what is real and what is not. It stars Mark Borchardt who is cult famous with American Movie. This story is short and sweet and the black and white just give it that distinct charm.
It is a humble independent film, it captivates a select audience and really pulls them in. The whole aspect of Coven is that there is this writer who suffers from drug and alcohol addiction to write "well". But Borchardts character "Mike" is introduced to this group of people by his friend who he thinks can help him battle his addictions. However, all does not seem what it appears to be to Mike.
And I really should leave it at that. It takes some flare from The Shining, along with some of the atmosphere, along with the landscape of Night of the Living Dead.
Coven is really the kind of movie that if it hits you, its hit you in the right spot where it leaves a long lasting impression on you. I really enjoyed watching Coven, and you can to on youtube. Definitely worth a watch to the fans of older horror films.
March 31, 2011
Shoot for the stars Mark. Hope you can pull it off someday. :)
May 10, 2010
For some reason, Capturing the Friedmans came to mind while watching the documentary, American Movie. Not that there was anything sinister going on, like pedophilia. But in tone, capturing the breakdowns and weaknesses of Mark Borchardt - high school dropout, paperboy, cemetery caretaker, drunk, divorced dad and independent filmmaker.
American Movie chronicles Mark's efforts to make a full-length feature, Northwestern, which he abandons to first finish his short film, Coven, thinking he'll be able to raise money to do Northwestern.
It's a struggle. He has to borrow money from his elderly uncle. He enlists the help of all his friends and his family, going as far as pressing his mother into service as an extra for a wintertime woodland scene at a state park.
He's also dealing with problems of alcoholism and divorce, though he proves to be a patient and caring father, even if his kids are forced to spend nights camping out on the floor of the editing room.
He recognizes, I think, that he has a problem with drinking, as this is an issue being dealt with in Coven. Plus, his good friend Mike, is in recovery.
Well, it's a pretty good documentary. Really takes me back to those depressing, frustrating times in the Midwest. Mark is based in Wisconsin, a fact that also brought to mind Werner Herzog's Stroszek, and the depressing picture that movie painted.
Coven, best watched I believe as a companion piece to American Movie, is a trip, a testament to what a guy and an idea an a movie camera can accomplish. It's a beautiful little film, though it's not so smooth. But perhaps that is also the beauty of it.
|D Craig H.||
May 10, 2010
A bad indie film with technical problems (sound and film exposure), spotty performances and shallow writing. The stop and go quality of the story shows poor direction.