Welcome to Dreadville: The Series Movie Review
Written by Steve Pattee Pattee
Tragedy struck the small town of Dreadville once again... – News Reporter
Segments directed by Jason Patfield, Michael Schmid and John Bienasz
Segments written by Jason Patfield and Jay Kranson
2006 - 2008, Not rated
Over the past few years I've reviewed shorts from Jason Patfield's "Bublenutz Productions". While they were meant to be watched in a particular order, I was sent them out of the order (assumingly as they were finished). I was not kind to Distraught, Addict and Are You Rei?, three of the stories in the Welcome to Dreadville series. Addict, in particular, took a beating. I was not impressed with the acting in some, the directing and editing choices in others, but I was always impressed with Patfield's writing, and always gave that high marks.
Like any talented filmmaker worth his salt, Patfield never took the reviews personally, or shot off emails complaining about the review(s) or demanding they be removed from the site (which, believe me, has happened). Instead, he politely thanked me via email after each review, and kept me informed on the progress of whatever project he was working on. I have an immense amount of respect for him. So a few months ago when Patfield contacted me informing me that he was mailing out a DVD with all of the shorts in the Dreadville series — at least the completed ones, as this seems to be an ongoing project — I was excited. This was going to allow me to finally watch a good chunk o the project and, most importantly, in order. The experience was bitter sweet, to say the least.
One thing I will credit Patfield and company with is the evident growth between shorts. Distraught, the first piece I reviewed, was all but horrible, and would have been such if there wasn't some crafty writing that somewhat saved it. The follow up, Addict, was noticeably better, and Are You Rei? (the third I reviewed) showed even more growth. But the thing that elevated these three the most was the story telling. There is some smart writing found in these stories.
The DVD I received contained two shorts I had not yet seen: Red in Dreadville and Dark of Night. Red in Dreadville is probably the most interesting movie in the series, as there is a distinct turn in style. The acting is (relatively) solid and the editing and directing is yet another step forward for team Bublenutz Productions. But what Red is severely lacking is the fantastic writing found in the previous entries. There is nothing original in the short, but it's rather a spin on the "Little Red Riding Hood" fairy tale (where in this case, Red Riding Hood is a smoking hot blonde in a tight red dress, the woods is the town of Dreadville and the wolves are the local drug dealers). Writing aside, though, Red is a good sign where Bublenutz is heading.
I had some problems with Dark of Night, causing me to miss the last few minutes because of the disc flaking out, but I really liked what I saw. A story about a woman home alone the night a psychopath escapes from the local insane asylum, Night starts immediately after Are You Rei? ends, following the psychiatrist from one house of madness to what seems like another. Like Red, the direction and editing are leagues better than Distraught and Addict, and the writing missing from Red has returned here.
Make no mistake about it, the Welcome to Dreadville series has many things wrong with it, but it has more going for it. Its problems are more from lack of experience than anything else, and you can see writer/director Jason Patfield eager to learn. He is learning his craft with each new movie, and it's an obvious, steady, progression, one that I will eagerly continue to follow.
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.
(Equipment includes a Mitsubishi WS-48613 48” HDTV, OPPO DV-970HD DVD player and Onkyo HTS-770 Home Theater System and, in some cases, a Sony 27” WEGA TV and a Sony DVP-NS50P DVD player.)
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