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MORRIS COUNTY (2014)

MORRIS COUNTY (2014)

Review by Mario Dominick
1600281_10202998976446371_191158884_nDirector: Matthew Garrett
Stars: Darcy Miller, Marc D. Donovan, Christian Davidock

The underground horror scene has grown very diverse and vast in recent years with the releases of many offbeat, original movies from filmmakers working on small budgets. On my long cinematic journey searching the most obscure realms of entertainment venues (from independent video stores to art house theaters to cool websites dedicated to bizarre and crazy films), I have found it is within these most hidden arenas of the film industry that you find filmmakers with the most dedication to making movies for the sole purpose of telling a good story and creating art while not worrying about profit or how much money can be milked from a single genre fad. It is upon my viewing of Matt Garrett’s film MORRIS COUNTY that I am reminded of how these aspects are what drive my love for this particular genre of film and how much people need to take notice of these kinds of movies.

 

MORRIS COUNTY is a three part “Subject” piece focusing on disturbing and tragic events that take place in the title county in New Jersey. “Subject One: Ellie” focuses on a teenage girl struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. After school she stops by a liquor shop asking for whiskey, even though she is underage and knows she can’t get away with it. The two young men working at the store agree to give her the alcohol only if she goes back to the storage area to have sex with them. Ellie’s story grows more unsettling as she meets up with some other kids in the woods to do drugs and as she finds her way back home, leading up to a very unpleasant and shocking ending.

“Subject Two: Family Rubin” is the story of a Jewish family who appear to be normal, but from an easy to see angle in the viewer’s perspective, it is evident that they are hiding a dark secret. A secret that we begin to unravel as the family itself unravels, and in a very horrifying way I might add.

“Subject Three: Elmer & Iris” is the story of an old lady named Iris and her relationship with her husband Elmer. While Iris is a very happy person full of energy and always in good spirit, Elmer is a rather unhappy individual with an unenthusiastic and nonchalant attitude toward everything. One day, Iris wakes up one morning to find her dear husband had died on the couch while watching TV during the night. His corpse sitting, staring straight ahead, Iris doesn’t report the death and instead tries to live with him as if he were alive. It’s clear when he was alive he had about as much as enthusiasm about things as he does in death. Iris continues to care for her husband as he rots away.

MORRIS COUNTY is everything you look for in an offbeat, original independent flick. While the first two parts are very psychological dramas focused on the darkest aspects of human nature, the third segment is a very dark comedy with some mild gross out humor thrown in. The film has a few moments of gore and many scenes of a disturbing psychological nature. The psychological elements to the stories are handled in a fashion very similar to that of the style of Douglas Buck’s FAMILY PORTRAITS: A TRILOGY OF AMERICA. It’s no surprise that Buck is thanked in the end credits along with other fine folks like Karim Hussain, Mitch Davis, and Roy Frumkes.

After having taken a good while to find distribution, I am very happy to be graced with the news that MORRIS COUNTY has finally gotten a distribution deal and will be coming out for the world to see. The film features some excellent make-up FX courtesy of Jeremy Selenfriend, Brian Spears and Pete Gerner and Matt Garrett has shown himself to be a creative and talented filmmaker with this effort. I wish him much success in the future. MORRIS COUNTY is a dark and chilling trio of vignettes that is guaranteed to satisfy fans of the morbid and the macabre.

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