Directed by: Nicholas Santos. Starring: Charles Gould, Quinn Jackson, John Anderson. Runtime: 1h 17 min. Released: November 13, 2020.
Commitment can be a scary thing, and that’s especially how Sam (Charles Gould) feels about the matter. While visiting his childhood home over Christmas vacation with his girlfriend Ashley (Quinn Jackson), Ashley starts bringing up the idea of getting married and having children. Which, again, terrifies Sam. Added into the mix is Sam’s childhood friend Nolan (John Anderson), who he hasn’t seen in 10 years after the death of Nolan’s sister.
Nicholas Santos’ It Cuts Deep is a solid sometimes slasher film with a lot of paranoia, as Sam begins to think that Nolan is trying to steal Ashley away from him. This in itself creates an intriguing dynamic between the trio as Nolan keeps hanging around, whether be seeing them at a grocery store and then inviting himself for dinner or coming back to decorate the tree after a big fight. No matter how much Sam tries to shake Nolan; he keeps coming back.
The idea of a horror film being born out of someone being terrified of commitment is funny to me, and Santos uses it in smart ways as Sam is initially scared to commit, and then he’s scared to lose her – because of the threat of Nolan. Besides the horror, this film is also very funny as a horror-comedy with a focus on the comedy. Charles Gould is a comedian and he fits this role to a tee, bringing some charm to the awkward character and brings some laugh-out-loud moments, especially a bit a guy thinks he’s trying to take his kid. The humour always hits, even when it’s settling for a bunch of dick jokes, or whenever Ashley says she wants to take the relationship to the next level, Sam thinks she’s talking about butt stuff. The acting by the trio is strong in general.
It’s all tied nicely together by the Christmas setting, too, with all the baby Jesus references and just the fact that everyone tries to reminisce with old friends when they’re back for the holidays. I mean, Sam isn’t trying to reminisce at all and that’s all Nolan trying to shove himself into this situation, but you know what I mean. It all happens in a very tightly structured and quickly paced 77 minutes, that’s filled with laughs and a couple of really fun moments of horror, too. There’s also enough topsy turvy twists in the screenplay to keep us interested throughout, too.