When director Colin Bemis approached me about reviewing his debut feature film, its plot had me expecting something similar to the Belgian gem, MAN BITES DOG. However, STRAWBERRY FLAVORED PLASTIC is its own beast, both in tone and presentation. While it may not have the same impact as MAN BITES DOG, it’s still a solid film and a very promising debut.

Errol (Nicholas Urda) and Ellis (Andres Montejo) are aspiring documentary filmmakers. They place an ad looking for people in the community with an interesting story to tell. This brings them into contact with Noel (Aidan Bristow AMERICAN MUMMY, THE BELIEVER).

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Noel claims he was recently released from prison after serving time for a crime of passion. After doing some filming with him, they find his story isn’t quite true. There are dead bodies in his past, but he’s never served time for them. He’s a serial killer, and he’s still active. Do Errol and Ellis go to the police, or continue filming what could be either their big break. Or their obituary.

Bristow really surprised me with his performance as the intelligent and philosophical Noel. I’d seen him in several low budget horror films, and while he wasn’t bad in them, he never really stood out either. Here he’s the centre of STRAWBERRY FLAVORED PLASTIC and holds it together. Being violent and cunning enough to inspire fear, but interesting enough not to be a typical villain. Watching him trying to come to grips with the consequences of his actions while still justifying and defending them is fascinating.

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What hurts the film though is the dialogue. A lot of it is way overblown and almost sounds like something from a speech, or lecture. Add this to the fact STRAWBERRY FLAVORED PLASTIC contains several monologues, and you can see the problem. This might work in a play, but not on film. Hopefully next time, Bemis will give his dialogue another rewrite or two before filming. Cutting some of the monologues would also have helped the film’s pace at times.

When all is said and done, however, STRAWBERRY FLAVORED PLASTIC is certainly worth seeing, and it’s an auspicious start for its maker. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here.

STRAWBERRY FLAVORED PLASTIC will be available on Amazon VOD 1/23/2018.

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