2009’s DISMAL was Bill Oberst Jr.’s first screen performance in the horror genre:
Jason Lees reviewed the film, and Bill’s performance as the cannibal Dale, for MoreHorror.com
Dismal: Movie Review
by Jason Lees, MoreHorror
DISMAL (Gary King, 2009)
There are three basic types of low budget independent films: small personal films that showcase the personal vision of the filmmaker…the films that go for the shock and awe to get their audience….and the type that ignore that they have no budget and just set out to make a movie no matter what. DISMAL, directed by Gary King and written by Bo Buckley, does its part to fall a little in each category.
More time is given here than in most scare flicks setting up our characters…when the carnage finally does start about thirty minutes in, I actually found myself caring about who was getting clubbed, and that’s a rare thing these days. And that’s another thing DISMAL has going for it: the cast.
I was surprised by how much I cared when characters bought it. The first half was so slow and clunky, I was hoping to see the students get eaten. Or axed. Or worse. However, by the time Bill Oberst Jr. starts to crank up his malice I was ready to root for the co-eds. Oberst, for a guy who gets press for being one of the nicest guys working today, is uber-creepy. We’re talking Bill Moseley level creepy here. There’s no winks or nods to Oberst’s portrayal and that might be why I was rooting for the kids. This guy’s cold stare should’ve been the box art.
DISMAL isn’t going to set new standards in indie horror, but it’s strong work, better than I expected going in. For its budget, it attempts to be more than it should, and that’s a badge of honor. – Jason Lees