Live Feed (2006)
By: Devon B. on January 13, 2007  |  Comments  |  Bookmark and Share
DVD
MTI (USA). All Regions, NTSC. 1.66:1 (Non-anamorphic). English DD 2.0. 81 minutes
The Movie
Credits
Director: Ryan Nicholson
Starring: Kevan Ohtsji, Taayla Markell, Stephen Chang, Ashley Schappert, Greg Chan, Rob Scattergood, Lee Tichon, Caroline Chojnacki
Screenplay: Roy Nicholson, Ryan Nicholson
Music: Patrick Coble
Tagline: They will all pay the price...
Country: USA
While mowing the lawn today, I went over a bull ant nest. I'd seen a few bull ants outside, but aside from those rare sightings, I'd not had any experience with them. I did learn today that if you've mown over their nest, don't hang out in the area continuing to mow. After a few stingy welts on my person, I decided I might watch some other people in pain to take my mind off my own swelling bits. Fortunately, I had Live Feed in the "to view" pile.

Live Feed is about a group of five friends on holiday. The muscle bound, aggro member of the group upsets a local, scenery chewing, crime boss, but is seemingly spared. After the encounter, the friends decide to go to a porno theatre, despite the fact that the group is 3/5 women, and the cinema is showing a very tame porno. Credibility is further strained when two of the group decide to have sex in the scuzzy place, when they could just go on to their presumably cleaner hotel. The theatre belongs to the crime boss, who comes in to watch voyeuristic live feeds of people getting it on then getting parts chopped off. Our five leads are his latest victims and thus begins their struggle to stay alive, though it is a very short struggle for some of them.

I think one of the ideas behind Live Feed was it was going to attempt to surprise people by revealing the film wasn't taking place in Asia, but in a Chinatown. C'est arrivé près de chez vous, indeed. It should be pretty clear early on from all the very North American sounding Asians, this ain't China for real. Another big clue is that all of the outdoor scenes were CLEARLY filmed in Canada. For a while I wasn't sure if it was just low production value with the filmmakers trying to pass Canada off as China, but the film's alternate ending shows the location was supposed to be a twist revelation. Whether it's China or Canada, the film has plot holes if it's happening in either setting, or maybe this is yet another film taking place in bizzarro world.

In true exploitation film fashion, Live Feed sports painful dialogue; bad acting; juvenile social commentary; and xenophobia, the latter made all the worse by the trite philosophical standpoints presented to counter the culture clash. To be fair, the last two were mostly the fault of one character, so perhaps he was just supposed to look like a dick? Anyway, the humour is third rate at best, but occasional unintentional humour does add levity. Continuity can be shoddy, the fight choreography is the worst you'll see this side of an Andreas Schnass movie, and the "twist" is just as shocking as that in Bill Hinzman's Flesheater.

But in Live Feed's defence, it does attempt to build, and I guess build tension, it just unfortunately lacks characters worth giving half a fuck about. The gore takes awhile coming, and isn't always worth the wait. It can look pretty cheap at times, and is almost always too splashy for any sort of realism, almost chambara style. Given the handheld, "snuff movie realism" style camerawork, the FX don't really fit in with the film. Knowing the gist of the story and seeing the way the movie was shot, I expected FX more like what you'd find in the Guinea Pig series, so even when some of the FX were quite good for what they were, they seemed out of context.

However, if you approach Live Feed as a mindless, low budget, gooey gore flick, you might really enjoy it. Aside from one scene with a serpent, most of the torture scenes are nothing truly new, but they are bloody. Sadly, what would've been one of the movie's best sequences (involving a different kind of snake) is spoiled by bad FX and a gaping plot hole. There are some good set pieces and ideas here, and Live Feed is certainly more watchable than anything I've seen from the aforementioned Schnass, but I think it could've been improved upon.
Video
Live Feed sports a clean print, but the lighting often makes it look murky. I don't think this is a fault of the transfer; the film was just lit with intense colours that softened the image, so MTI are not to blame. However, MTI are to blame for claiming the film is 16:9 when it isn't.
Audio
Audio is a two-channel English track. All the dialogue is clear, and things are mixed at appropriate levels.
Extra Features
The DVD has quite a few extras. A few are less interesting, like an ad for Richmond Night Market and the trailers for Twisted Sisters, Red Riding Hood, and Detour, but there's also plenty of relevant stuff. Live Feed's trailer, and a few wisely deleted scenes are included, some which have a copyright statement burned into them for some reason. Three alternate scenes are also available, and one is actually somewhat amusing. Womb Service is the full version of the porno the characters in the theatre are watching; don't whip your dick out and start whacking just yet, this is softcore, and one of the girls involved looks like a tranny to me. A commentary track features director/producer/co-writer Ryan Nicholson, and stars Caroline Chojnacki and Rob Scattergood. I found the track a bit boring, but some interesting info is revealed, particularly in regards to First Blood. There's also a making of that runs nearly 80 minutes, which is a bit odd when you remember the actual movie is only 81 minutes. The making of is okay, and certainly has some amusing bits, but it's TOO LONG and is nowhere near as engaging as the making ofs found on Troma DVDs like Terror Firmer.
The Verdict
Live Feed might shock newbies, but hardened genre fans have seen worse things done to people much better. It's a low rent Hostel, but lacks much of that film's…well, not charm. I guess what it lacks is the occasional likeable, or even professional, thespian. As a low budget squirter it's fine, but the FX would've better suited a different story. The DVD itself is a nice special edition, so it's just a pity it wasn't 16:9 enhanced.
Movie Score
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