First time filmmaker Alexis Gonzalez recently released his film Spookfield, a micro-budget anthology film featuring several vignettes, covering topics as diverse as vigilante murders, prostitution and pimping, and even zombies. A fully SOV film, Spookfield is the kind of film that, although not without its share of technical issues, still provides a solid bit of entertainment.
Broken into four segments tied together with a central theme, Spookfield starts off with “Tears of Trauma,” featuring Gonzalez himself as a vigilante who teaches his neighbor a lesson on the effects of bullying your children. A solid opening to the film, but probably the weakest of the stories when you compare them side-by-side. The best of the bunch was the ending, “Wishful Thinking,” which neatly ties together the stories told throughout the feature-length film, pulling elements and storylines from the two middle segments, “The Town Ghoul” and “It Isn’t Easy.” The entire arc plays out very well, much as if the stories were designed as a short film and its sequels.
For a first time filmmaker, Gonzalez – who wrote, produced, directed, and stars in the film – definitely proves that he knows how to tell a story. There are some technical issues I found to distract slightly from the film, such as varying audio levels and shots that hang just a little too long with nothing happening on-screen, but as any filmmaker can tell you, the process is a learning one, and this movie comes out far better and miles more enjoyable than some of the dribble that major studios have released as of late.
Practical FX through-and-through, the movie has a sincerity to it that many times is lost in amateur films with bloody or brutal scenes. Working with what he had, Gonzalez made some pretty stellar costumes and was able to create some fairly advanced looking makeup techniques as well. At many points in the film, I felt as though I was watching some of the great, old exploitation films from the 70s, or perhaps a lost film by Chester Novell Turner. Cheesy fun, but dark at points and comedic in others.
Some really great things can be done on next to no budget, and the shot-on-video market is booming in the underground and independent horror scenes. With films like V/H/S and Paranormal Activity being produced by major studios to look like they are underground, cheap films, people like Gonzalez are legitimately producing films using mid- to low-end video equipment, gear, and effects, and they’re proving that it doesn’t take $100 million dollars to make a film that people will love. Spookfield is an awesome first film, and one that fans of SOV flicks are sure to be talking about.