John Cassavetes once said, “Anyone who can make a film, I already love.” I doubt Cassavetes ever meet Matthew Samuel Smith.
Southern Depression is gratuitous nudity, that is neither sexy nor decipherable, sprinkled with un-terrifying horror, and mixed with a droning soundtrack that plays like Danzig mutilating the Velvet Underground. If there is a plot, I couldn’t find it. Perhaps, it was buried beneath the awful cinematography and clumsy editing. I think the whole picture was edited in camera, but maybe I’m just making excuses. I did that a lot while watching this picture.
As I sat their struggling to make out an image I would scratch my head and wonder if the deficiencies were by design. I fancied the filmmaker to be some sort of Jack Smith merged with Harmony Korine, pushing boundaries of taste and playing with formats. I imagined the editing working along some elaborate structuralist scheme. I wondered just how one could make such a lousy digital transfer of a film without trying to make their movie look like a scrambled cable channel. I think my brain did all of this to protect itself from the sheer ineptitude that makes Southern Depression an endurance test of the mind and eyes. Surely, this is a great contendor for the title of the worst movie I have ever viewed.
As for the other film in the collection, Blood Summer is only better in the fact that it is more forgettable. It’s so forgettable that I’m struggling now, only hours later, to remember the plot. Technically, the film is a notch better, but that’s not saying much. Insufferable is still insufferable and that’s the only way to summarize Matthew Samuel Smith. His work is not so bad that it is good, but so bad that only those desperate to embrace something different would be willing to say they enjoyed these films or appreciated Smith for making them.
These two films appear on a disc labeled “Vol. 1″. I suppose that means there are other Matthew Samuel Smith films out there. I won’t be looking for them. Unlike Cassavetes, I don’t know if I can love someone just because they made a film. Then again, Cassavetes also said this of filmmakers, ” I feel sorry if they don’t put any thought in it because then they missed the boat.” I don’t think Matthew Samuel Smith even knows there is a boat to miss.
I guess when you go looking for bad (but enjoyable) cinema, as I sometimes do, you occasionally end up is a mess like this.