DIRECTOR’S CUT (2016) Reviews and overview

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Director’s Cut is 2016 dark comedy/horror film directed by Adam Rifkin (The Invisible Maniac; Psycho Cop Returns; Chillerama: segment “Wadzilla”) from a screenplay by Penn Jillette (of Penn and Teller fame) who also stars.

The movie stars Penn Jillette, Missi Pyle, Harry Hamlin, Hayes McArthur, Lin Shaye (The Conjuring and sequels), Gilbert Gottfried.


Herbert Blount (Penn Jillette) aspires to replace the real director of psycho-thriller movie Knocked Off and make it his own by capturing the lead actress (Missi Pyle) and inflicting much horror upon her in his version…


Director’s Cut succeeds at satirizing the film industry — particularly crowdfunded indie flicks like “Knocked Off” — and never takes itself too seriously. The jokes land cleanly, the performances are funny, and the stylistic nature is fresh. There definitely could have been a few more horror elements in this horror-comedy, but an abundance of laughs helps keep the entertainment value high.” Blair Hoyle, Cinema Slasher

” …Director’s Cut earns points for attempting something conceptually unconventional. It’s a bumpy road that doesn’t end at the neat and clean destination the creators were likely hoping for though. Seemingly handcuffed by small-scale scope limiting how gonzo its imagination can get, “Director’s Cut” comes up short in the entertainment department.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt

“Often hilarious and managing the difficult feat of pulling off three different narratives (the movie, the re-edited movie, and the commentary) with tremendous skill, this is a very funny satire on the nature of low budget moviemaking…” John Llewellyn Probert, House of Mortal Cinema


“It’s a black comic riff on Misery and King of Comedy, with up-to-the-minute technology, and explores fresh ground in finding horror and laughs in the way media can be co-opted by fans and remixed for varying purposes. The fact that the tall, longhaired, gravel-voiced, flamboyantly-dressed magician stands out in a crowd so much that he’s the worst possible film extra or stealth pursuer is funny, but Blount is unpredictable enough to be occasionally pathetic or chilling.” Kim Newman, Screen Daily

Director’s Cut reveals itself to be a sort of bland abduction movie that doesn’t offer any real chills or thrills. It isn’t very disturbing, suspenseful, frightening or even funny … The movie arguably exists in the found-footage category but doesn’t capture the real-world horror that sub-genre was designed to elicit, mostly due to the fact that the dialogue is a bit too theatrical.” Bernard Boo, Way Too Indie


“Director’s Cut, Adam Rifkin’s latest film, is a metatextual delight. Filled with self effacing humour, in jokes and sly references to both the works on Penn & Teller as well as that of its stars Harry Hamlin and Missi Pyle, it’s an incredibly fun attack on everything from entitlement culture to crowdsourcing to the celebrity worshipping media.” Logan Polk, Dispenser


“A cutting-edge backstage farce … clever, cagey, and creepy.” — J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader

Director’s Cut is rife with humour, both visual and audio. Jillette’s commentary on the film is outstanding, and made only better by his inane thoughts on how films should be put together in general or pointing out continuity gaffs … Knocked Off feels like a real film, even though clearly a parody of cop thrillers, and so Herbert’s alternative version with commentary feels genuine. A lot of films claim to be clever, but Director’s Cut really is.” Luke Owen, Flickering Myth


The film was crowdfunded. Principal photography took place in September, 2014 and lasted four weeks.

Director’s Cut premiered on January 22, 2016 at the Slamdance Film Festival and was shown in London in August 2016 at the Horror Channel FrightFest.

In 2018, the movie was picked up for theatrical distribution in North America by Dread Central Presents

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