Fuzz on the Lens has quickly become my favorite small production company. Scaretissue first reviewed their short film Halloween: Awakening back in December, and Steven Della Salla was kind enough to write this piece about how that film led to their opportunity to work with Tyler Mane on his next project.
Fuzz on the Lens followed up on the success of Awakening with their first feature film Catch of the Day. Catch of the Day was an official selection and winning Honorable Mention honors at the Hot Springs Horror Film Festival in 2013. The film was shot “from pre production through post production in about a month and a half with literally NO BUDGET” (according to film’s director Michael Leavy).
Catch of the Day does what many films with much larger budgets can’t do, and it engages the viewers into a storyline that unwinds very slowly. Like in poker, it hides its hand and shows you what it wants to. Most of the time, it’s just a small glimpse of the truth.
In a small county of Erie, people go missing. They start disappearing more and more often, and detective Sam Hynes is sent to investigate. Sam (Gilbrando Acevedo) is a troubled detective, and is haunted by the loss of a loved one. Despite this, he is very personable and engaging.
His investigation leads him to the local diner run by Georgia (Krista Ayne). Georgia is a beautiful hostess that takes an immediate liking to Sam. She also has some demons too, but stays strangely safe around her odd cook and bartender (Ed Heavey and Boomer Tibbs).
As more and more people go missing, Sam is challenged to solve who or what is behind these mysterious missing people, while locals write them off as “runaways”. Something is off, and Sam can’t quite put his finger on it…
Catch of the Day is a very engaging story. There is a kidnapper, and we see multiple abductions. Leavy doesn’t try to do the “unseen” on these. Instead, he relishes in showing you what the other characters are oblivious to. It reminds me a lot of Texas Chainsaw Massacre II or House of 1000 Corpses. While Sam is piecing together the puzzle, we are shown what is happening throughout. While there are some places you are far ahead of the characters, there are other times that you catch up to the story. Like a good poker player, it shows us what it wants to when it wants to.
The performances are pretty good. Sam is played well by Acevedo. He exudes body language that exudes confidence, and comes across as a generally nice guy. Georgia is perfect in her minx role, and Ayne does well when placed inside an action packed scene. The supporting cast has its own moments as well. It is asked to carry the movie on several occasions, and does a great job at it.
There are a few weaknesses, but nothing that ruined the film for me. It becomes quite obvious what is happening to the kidnapped individuals quite early, so when Sam finally figures it out, we’re far ahead. I would have preferred for Sam to figure this out early, and play a game of cat and mouse throughout the films second and third act. While the acting is pretty good, there are some “miss” moments. The finale could have been bigger, but it alludes to a much bigger conspiracy (which could be a quite interesting film in itself).
As this was shot with no budget, the film is quite limited. However, it is beautifully shot. Leavy has an eye for catching the perfect angle (During the finale, a character is drugged and the cinematography is just awesome.). Catch of the Day takes three stories, and meshes them well together. I’m excited to see what these guys can do with a big budget, and hope to see that happen soon. This film is definitely worth a viewing, and I’m happy to get an exclusive look at it as it is only running in festivals right now.