New Release: Hobo with a Shotgun (2011)
“I’m gonna sleep in your bloody carcasses tonight!”
Catchy title, eh? I’ve been following the progress of HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN for about a year now. We all know the story about how writer-director Jason Eisener won a trailer contest around the time Tarantino and Rodriquez’s GRINDHOUSE came out and then how fans everywhere demanded to see a feature length feature of HOBO. We’ve been through all over this before. But I can’t remember another genre film that’s gotten such attention and positive buzz based solely on it’s title. I mean come on; who the hell doesn’t wanna see a hobo, who carries around a shotgun, clean up a crime-ridden town? And when that hobo just happens to be Rutger Hauer, all the better. So does HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN live up to the hype?
You can all let out that sigh of relief … HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN doesn’t just live up to all the hype and buzz, it goes way beyond it. This is a hugely entertaining film that’s without a doubt my favorite film of 2011 so far. Rutger Hauer puts in a fantastic performance as the hobo who comes to a new city, a city which makes Tromaville look like Beverley Hills, to start over. He plans on saving up enough money to buy a used lawnmower at the local pawn shop and start up a lawn cutting service. But from the second he gets to town he’s treated like shit, beaten up, spit on, and witnesses such out in the open horrors like a pedophile Santa, a night club that tortures hobos, pimps whoring out underage girls, and a “filmmaker” who pays hobos to fight each other to the death. The police are all corrupt and are owned by the local crime boss Drake (Brian Downey) and his two violent, fucktard sons Slick (Gregory Smith) and Ivan (Nick Bateman). The people living in the town are in constant fear and all feel powerless to do anything about the horrible atrocities going on around them.
But Hauer meets someone who puts the faith of humanity back into him. He meets and saves the life of Abby (Molly Dunsworth), a hooker with a heart of gold. Hauer’s Hobo finally snaps when he goes to buy the lawnmower and the pawn shop is held up by three thugs who’re going to kill a mother and her infant baby. He sees a shotgun on the shelf and the rest is history. He goes on a murderous vigilante spree to clean up the city and help Abby find a better life for herself.
Now just know what you’re getting into with HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN people. This isn’t a serious film that tries to stay within the realm of reality. This is a grindhouse/exploitation film like the ones that used to play around the clock on 42nd Street in New York City. HOBO is full of dark humor and a lot of very disturbing images that will really shock the hell outta you and make you turn to your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife and say, “Did they really just do that?” Don’t believe me? Just wait for the scene with the school bus full of children and the guy with the flamethrower. Oh yeah; writer-director Eisener goes there. This is a balls-to-the-wall, gonzo film that’s not afraid to tread into some truly disturbing territory and definitely not afraid to heap on the gore. Seriously; there’s a LOT of gore here to satisfy even the biggest gore hound.
HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, though, isn’t just a gimmicky film that relies on gore and over-the-top set pieces. Eisener proves that he can really make one helluva film. The color pallet Eisener and cinematographer Karim Hussain (himself a brilliant experimental horror filmmaker) use is stunning. If Dario Argento made a grindhouse film, it’d be HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN!! Vibrant yellows, greens, and reds dominate giving every scene a kind of hyper-reality. Plus we get cool little tricks like accenting the blueness of Hauer’s eyes. Whenever we see Hauer, no matter how filthy he is and no matter what kind of violent action he’s doing, his blue eyes are always so prevalent that it reminds you that deep down inside he’s a good man trying to do the right thing. He knows he’s not gonna get any help from the corrupt police so he’s cleaning up the town the only way he can … with violence.
And the gore? Just wait until you see what Eisener puts on film!! He pushes the envelop in every way and uses only practical effects and uses them well. We get decapitations, compound fractures, a hobo hung upside down and beaten with a bat studded with razor blades (“When life gives you razor blades you make a baseball bat covered in razor blades”), children getting killed, a hand being torn apart by a lawnmower blade, and tons and tons of shotgun blasts blowing off body parts and blown away abdomens. And this is just the tip of the iceberg … or Eisenerberg (sorry, couldn’t help myself). The gore is consistent from the opening frames to the final scenes and is extremely well done. Just like in LAID TO REST there are some digital f/x in HOBO but they are only there to supplement and enhance the practical f/x.
I really don’t have anything bad to say about HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN. The story is over-the-top but effective; the acting is strong across the board; the gore is extremely well done; and Eisener captures the feel for the old grindhouse flick perfectly (he in fact does a better job here than both Rodriquez and Tarantino did in GRINDHOUSE). And just wait until you meet The Plague!! HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN is one of those films that’s really easy to review. Right now it’s in a limited theatrical release and is also playing on some VOD/MOD cable systems (AT&T U-Verse being one of them). If you get the chance you definitely wanna see this one on the big screen. HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN is a hugely entertaining and kick ass film that I highly recommend.
Director: Jason Eisener (& writer)
Plot: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Gore: 9 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer