Get ready to once again enter the batshit crazy world of James Balsamo. Balsamo is becoming a household name on the indie horror scene and is a machine, cranking out four indie horror films since 2011. I know that’s a film a year but for a filmmaker who doesn’t have a major Hollywood studio backing him and throwing money at him, it’s a pretty impressive feat. I was first introduced to Balsamo with his 2011 film, HACK JOB. This is an anthology film and was a lot of fun. I immediately became a fan of Balsamo’s. His energy is infectious and you can tell he and everyone in his films are having a great time. With his second film, I SPILL YOUR GUTS, he showed a lot of maturity as a filmmaker. The tone was a little more serious with the material but the result was the same — fun and gore!! He followed up GUTS with 2013s COOL AS HELL. This film was a little more light-hearted but the gore level stayed the same. So when I read Balsamo was close to releasing CATCH OF THE DAY I was eager to see it.
CATCH OF THE DAY follows the story of detective partners Rod Davis (Balsamo) & Hairy Chu (Jeff Kim). Hairy (no, I’m not misspelling his name) is a by-the-book detective and badass while Rod is a little more results-driven. Rod is slightly goofy, street smart and dumb at the same time, but is a good guy overall. When he and Hairy barge in on and ruin a six month undercover investigation, Hairy is reassigned as a desk cop and Rod is busted down to walking the beat. Rob now spends most of his days eating donuts and looking at titties on the beach. Lucky for Rod, though, that his uncle Murray (Carmine Capobianco), is a Lieutenant and gets him reassigned on an undercover investigation where a drug cartel is using fish to smuggle cocaine into the city.
To add more tension to the mix, Hairy is engaged to marry Rod’s sister, Roxanne (Shannon Mann). This leads to more than a few funny scenes of Rod being … let’s call it “culturally insensitive” to Hairy Chu. Balsamo’s character says some goddamn funny, offensive things and you just can’t help but laugh. Hell, I was laughing out loud!! If Rod’s comments actually offend you then you’ve got a real problem and should probably stick to watching The Brady Bunch and Little House on the Prairie.
Just when you think this is gonna be a goreless police story, Balsamo then throws in a crazy doctor, Professor Benjamin Jackal (Edward X. Young), who is working on a secret serum that mutates fish. Now Rod has to deal with a pissed off partner, a needy sister, a violent drug cartel, and some overgrown, mutant, killer fish. But it’s all in a days work for detective Rod Davis!! Balsamo definitely went for more comedy in CATCH OF THE DAY than he did in his previous films. Yes the humor is juvenile, filled with bathroom humor, racial stereotype humor, and locker room banter, but it’s also pretty damn funny!! And like many of his films, Balsamo fills CATCH OF THE DAY with tons of cameos from both film and the hardcore/death metal music scenes. Some cameos include Jason Mewes, Irwin Keyes, James Duval, Tueday Knight, Nick Principe, Debbie Rochon, Jasmin St. Claire, and John Carl Buechler.
My main complaint here is that CATCH OF THE DAY drags in the middle and could have been a little tighter. This would’ve created a better flow of the movie as a whole. But if you’ve seen one James Balsamo flick than you know what to expect: Hardcore music, lots of practically done gore, lots of cameos, and just a whole lot of fun. Balsamo’s Acid Bath Productions is the modern day version of the old school Troma Films. Balsamo has mastered the art of guerrilla filmmaking that Lloyd Kaufman perfected in the early to mid-1980s. In fact, I’d be pressed to come up with another horror filmmaker who absolutely loves the genre and who has more fun making films. Balsamo’s fun is contagious and can be felt in all of his films. I know some people won’t care for Balsamo’s style or his films, but I’m a fan and enjoy them immensely. Check this one out.
Director: James Balsamo (& writer, producer, & editor)
Plot: 3 out of 5 stars
Gore: 5.5 out of 10 skulls
Zombie Mayhem: 0 out of 5 brains
Reviewed by Scott Shoyer