Screenplay, James Dunnison, Rebecca Dunnison. Camera (color, Beta-sp video) , William Morrison; music, Justin Deneau; production designer, Jordan Estal, Sarah Wilson; costume designer, Shannon Pomokov; casting, Rebecca Dunnison. Reviewed on videocassette, Vancouver, Oct. 8, 1999. (In Vancouver Film Festival.) Running time: 87 MIN.
With: Max Danger, Sanda Guerard, Maureen Burgoyne, Joe Sather, Winston Spear, Art Bergman, Moe Berg, Russell Oliver, Irene Leonetti, Tony Krolo, Roma Khana.
Midnight-madness curiosity, impressively shot on highly manipulated video, succeeds on its own narrow terms, which are geared to twentysomething slackers much like the one who anchors the funny, creepy tale of a boy and his dead mother. The acting and writing aren’t top-notch, but “Stuff” sustains enough edgy, unpredictable energy to give it a decent life on the alternative-cinema circuit.
James Dunnison’s helming bow follows the rather strange fortunes of skinny young Philip (Max Danger), a tousle-haired, leather-jacketed loser still living in the basement of his mother’s Toronto townhouse. The old battle-ax won’t let him live for a minute, but that doesn’t mean he actually meant to shoot her with her gun. So it’s extra handy that he accidentally discovers an ancient ring with the power to restore life. Of course, before he can help Mom (should he want to) , he has to escape the clutches of some angry vampire types, and also spend quality time with that lissome medical receptionist (Sandra Guerard) who wears a different wig every day. A handful of Canadian rockers round out a playfully engaging cast, and the score surprisingly features slinky Mediterranean sounds.