It's really a story we've all experienced (or at least heard of) before. Two "lifelong friends" end up working together, hanging out on a regular basis, enjoying their single lives together. One gets married, starts a family, and (although still friends) seemingly leaves the other behind due to new responsibilities and time constraints. This is the case with Tom and Dan. Tom's moved on, Dan has not. Craving that guy time, the good old days of beer and a gory horror film, Dan is at a loss until he comes to possess a mysterious DVD. Claiming that the "movie" just showed up in his mailbox and that it's something Tom has to see: their "bromance" is tenuously reignited. Although the contents of said DVD are quite disturbing (a woman gutted while still alive) Tom finds himself strangely unable to stop thinking about (or obsessing over) it after the viewing. Eventually another DVD arrives and Dan can't seem to come to grips with the fact that Tom's had enough. Sensing their friendship falling even farther apart then it was before, Dan becomes desperate to reconcile. The only problem is: no one (especially Tom) is quite sure just how deeply the awful things they've seen have burrowed into their hearts.
GUT is a character study. A meditation on relationships and how they change over time and via circumstance. The subject matter is dark and often disturbing. However, if you're looking for buckets of blood and gobs of entrails, you may very well be disappointed. Although the budget most likely did not allow for an effects laden production; it never feels as though it's missed. What is shown of the "snuff" film is subtle, a tiny bit bloody, but done well. And although each actor's performance does not remain at a consistently high level throughout, there really aren't any "deliveries" that take the audience out of the experience. As Dan and Tom, Wilder and Vail show a unique handle of the characters' chemistry throughout and put great effort into the emotional head-butting that follows. With a few truly disturbing revelations and a commitment to pretty fantastic (and mood setting) sound design, GUT'S tension is palpable especially once nerves begin to really fray in the third act. Everyone involved here should be commended for not taking the easy way out and allowing for the narrative to naturally run its course all the way through to an admirably nihilistic and genuinely heartbreaking finale. [7/10]
Jason Vail, Nicholas Wilder, Sarah Schoofs