I recently received an email through the contact form on the site which contained a press kit for a movie I’d not heard of called Quite A Conundrum. After the high praise and accolades that this independent film had received I decided to reach out to the filmmaker Thomas Phillips to see what the film was all about… boy am I glad I did.
If you’ve read my reviews before you know that this is typically the spot where I insert a spoiler alert and a plot summary. I’ve been asked by the filmmaker to please keep this review spoiler free so I’ll absolutely respect his wishes. Instead of those, I’ll lead this review with a plot synopsis from the official Quite A Conundrum website.
It should have been just a normal day of sex, fun, alcohol, hormones and debauchery for Tabitha and Mimi, two over privileged twenty somethings who care about nothing but themselves and what chaos they can cause.
But that so-called normalcy gets tossed out the window when an unexpected and devastating event occurs at a nighttime pool party. As the alcohol begins to wear off and the body count rises, all hell breaks loose and there is no going back.
If the foul mouths, perverted attitudes and devious natures of Tabitha and Mimi were not enough to get you going, then just throw in Tabitha’s walking porno of a boyfriend Sean and his new best friend, the sweet Dutch. Oh yeah, then mix in Mimi’s eighteen year old virginal, confused and prudish sister Kylene and her boner prone, sexually challenged boyfriend Harris, and the events get even saucier.
If that’s still not spicy enough for your tongue, then shoot in a splash of the old pervert Marc and his crazy unhinged wife Lola, and then toss in the Bible belt thumping Jesus Freak Thelma, and it gets a little more than crazy, dangerous, insane and scary, in fact it’s chaotic debauchery personified.
The small cast here is superb. Many times in indy films the story is great but the cast just can’t hack it. That’s absolutely not the case here. Lead characters Mimi (Sasha Ramos) and Tabitha (Erin Cline) while both smoking hot, have the kind of witty banter that I’ve not seen since Dante and Randal went back and forth in Clerks. In case you were wondering, that’s a HUGE nod to the writer Thomas Phillips. I hate to compare writers to one another, but if I’m comparing him to Kevin Smith it’s about the highest compliment I can give as I think Smith is an absolute genius when it comes to dialog. Phillips is right there with this tight script.
The cast doesn’t taper off after the two lead gals either. The guys Sean (Chris Greene) and Dutch (Joe Coffey) more than hold up their end of the bargain. There is some real acting going on here even though we’re in a horror / thriller flick. Speaking of real acting, I’d be remiss if I didn’t specifically call out Catherine Trail’s performance as Thelma. Though she doesn’t have a ton of screen time she does some amazing work here that spans the spectrum of emotions. Perfect casting.
My absolute favorite character though has got to be Harris played brilliantly by Anthony Rutowicz. He’s both dorky and lovable at the same time and delivers some of the best lines of the entire film. It takes some real skill to be a character that while so uncomfortable on the screen really makes the audience genuinely like him.
THE ADULT STUFF
This is a horror movie review website so I’ve gotta call this one out. Gore hounds will be disappointed with Quite A Conundrum as it’s not truly a “horror” movie. It is much more of a thriller / suspense flick. That said, there’s certainly a fair amount of “badness” going on here. Rest assured, this ISN’T a kids movie. Before the credits even are done you know beyond a shadow of a doubt the type of flick you’re in for… adult. Death, full frontal, sex, the “Screaming Seagull” (you’ll know after you’ve seen it), drinking and language that make George Carlin’s “7 Dirty Words” pale in comparison. I’ll leave you with three of my favorite quotes from the flick that I think sum up the “adult” nature of the film rather succinctly:
- “Stop thinking, finish and get your nut already!”
- “Thank you Jesus… Tabitha… and whiskey.”
- “To impress a chick… helicopter dick.”
If I’m being honest, the first 20 minutes of this flick were enjoyable but I wasn’t quite sure it was going to be for me. After that, shit… gets… REAL. I had things pretty well “figured out” relatively quickly, but that didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the film. In fact, as it went on I found myself enjoying it more and more. I’ve said it a couple of times and I’ll reiterate it here again… Phillips is a genius here when it comes to his dialog. He’s given his cast a script full of one liners and witty banter that they pull off flawlessly. I’m biased here cause I love the stuff, but I also have to give him HUGE props for including Yuengling Lager in the house party. Well done sir.
The official Quite A Conundrum site describes the film as American Pie meets American Psycho. While that’s certainly a good comparison I’d probably characterize it as Clerks meets Scream. What the film lacks in gore it more than makes up for in thrills, smart dialog and sadistic dark comedy. This may have been the first of Thomas Phillips’ movies that I’ve seen but it absolutely will not be the last. Strong, strong recommend. Get out and see this movie.
- 2013 Fort Myers Beach Film Festival – Friday April 26th @ 9PM
- 2013 World Independent Film Expo – Friday April 26th @ 8:15PM – Saturday April 27th @ 8PM
- 2013 Frequency Film Festival – May 24th @ 9:55 PM & June 4th @ 8:45 PM
I’d like to offer a special thanks to Thomas Phillips for allowing me access to his film. If you’re ever in Cleveland let me know sir… I’d love to grab a beer! You can follow Thomas on Twitter at @tstreet. Tell him Chewie says hi!
Have you seen Quite A Conundrum? What’d you think?