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Overall Rating

Awesome: 5%
Worth A Look: 35%
Average: 5%
Pretty Bad45%
Total Crap: 10%

2 reviews, 8 user ratings

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by Jay Seaver

"Terrible. Make sure you see it with a crowd."
2 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2010 BOSTON UNDERGROUND FILM FESTIVAL: It's a shame that there aren't a whole lot of grindhouses left so that the modern day descendants of films like "Pieces" can be seen in their proper environment. A tasteless, terrible movie in one's living room is just a bad movie; a tasteless, terrible movie in the company of dozens of similarly stunned people is hilarity for the community!

Pieces starts with a flashback to 1942, where a mother discovers her son assembling a jigsaw puzzle of a naked girl. She orders him to stop and throw it away before filth like that makes him... Well, whatever she's afraid of, the ship has sailed on that; he whips out an axe and goes nuts, later fooling the police into thinking it was a burglar. Forty years later, a series of murders begins in a Boston university (though not necessarily Boston University). Something has triggered him to start putting it together again, only this time he'll be using real body parts alongside the puzzle! Can two detectives (Christopher George and Frank Braña), an undercover police woman who used to play pro tennis (Lynda Day George), a nosy reporter (Isabel Luque), and the boyfriend (Ian Sera) of one of the slain girls figure out which of the schools multitude of middle-aged men is murderous?

Not likely; they're all pretty dim. In fact, there are moments when it almost seems like the filmmakers are playing into in in a semi-parodic way, like when Jack Taylor's anatomy professor looks witheringly at Christoper George's lead detective who asks if a chainsaw could have caused these injuries. The moments of dryness appear so randomly that it seems more likely that they happened by accident, a perfect storm of bad writing, bad acting and bad direction coming together to form an optical illusion of cleverness.

And, oh, is everybody involved terrible. In some ways, it's a miracle that projects like this are comprehensible at all; shot in Boston and Madrid with a combination of American and Spanish actors each speaking their own language to be later dubbed over in the release prints, members of the cast probably had no idea what the other person in a scene was saying. Still, that doesn't excuse the individually awful bits - go try and figure why Detectives Bracken and Holden don't treat Ian Sera's Kendall as a suspect rather than a confidant; we know that the killer must be middle-aged, but the cops don't. Figure out just what Ian Sera is going for as Kendall - moron, or helpful (if horny) kid? Marvel at how blatantly jump music is used in innocent scenes.

To be fair, the movie is at least earnestly bad, often enough in oddball ways that are good for a laugh. And in a simple exploitation-film-checklist manner, it delivers the goods: There are copious amounts of blood and tits and guts and ass flashed up on screen by the nubile college girls and their killer. Folks are eager to get naked, and a great deal of loving attention is given to the kills. Sure, there's not a lot of variety - it's almost all chainsaw-related - but it's grisly and in-your-face, with plenty of arterial spray getting all over everything.

And then there's the very end, which is so utterly random and bloody and oddly satisfying that the audience wasn't sure whether to laugh or applaud or yell out "what the hell?" And in a movie as shameless and stupid as "Pieces", that may make it an accidental success, regardless of its actual merits.

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originally posted: 03/28/10 16:10:00
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2010 Boston Underground Film Festival For more in the 2010 Boston Underground Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

6/21/10 Sarah Webster The worst film I've ever seen. 1 stars
9/27/07 mr. mike bloody good show! 3 stars
11/30/06 a friend vulgar, gross and yet, you can't resist somehow. 2 stars
2/09/06 Darren O Some well directeed stalking sequences are wasted in the service of a joke of a film. 2 stars
6/02/04 Cooper This is the most horrorifying motion picture that I have ever seen. 5 stars
5/27/04 tatum So bad it's bloody good 4 stars
12/29/02 Jack Sommersby Awful; but the full-frontal nudity is great! 1 stars
7/08/01 Mercurial A must-see B-movie!! 2 stars
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  23-Sep-1983 (R)
  DVD: 02-Mar-2004

  30-Nov-1983 (18)

  30-Nov-1983 (R)

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