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Full disclosure: I’ve never been a huge fan of biker flicks. When they’re done right, the end result is nothing short of pure cinematic bliss wrapped in a warm, fuzzy, bug-infested beard. Of course, when the filmmakers fumble the cinematic ball, chances are you won’t make it past the twenty-minute mark without either walking out of the theater or turning off your television in frustration. There’s really no grey area when it comes to this sort of exploitation flick, so those who embark down this road should tread lightly. Very, very lightly.
Writer/director James Bickert’s 2011 grindhouse throwback “Dear God No!” really tries its best to be something utterly ridiculous, something genuinely outrageous. And, admittedly, there are moments when the movie rises to the challenge, but these bits are simply too few and far between to matter. As a low-budget apologist, I’m willing to overlook shoddy acting, poor production values, and the other wonky stuff generally associated with this sort of motion picture in order to grasp the bigger picture, so to speak. That said, the good rarely outweighs the bad in this particular instance, a fact which ultimately spoils the whole bloody concoction.
The film follows the adventures of a group of degenerate bikers called The Impalers, a particularly cantankerous bunch who aren’t above murdering and raping nuns for no apparently reason. The group’s blood-soaked, gut- killing spree is understandably frowned upon by their superiors. Apparently laying waste to anything other than whores and junkies is a huge no-no in the biker code of ethics, though this doesn’t stop these mentally and morally unbalanced badasses from gunning down a room full of scummy bar patrons. In order to escape the consequences of their bullet-riddled actions, the gang hides out at a cabin in the woods, one that may prove a bit more perilous than they initially anticipated.
My problems with “Dear God No!” aren’t associated with the acting — the film is populated with real-life bikers and other non-actors — the budget, or the script. None of those elements really matter when you’re dealing with a picture of this nature. You’re here for the violence, the gore, and the boobs — that’s about it. Unfortunately, the film just isn’t any fun. Watching it was a chore, thanks in part to a handful of tedious, needlessly overlong sequences involving lukewarm strippers and guys on motorcycles. This sort of stuff kills the pacing, derailing the momentum set forth in that fantastic opening segment. Overall, the film kind of sputters along in typical “grindhouse” fashion, doing little to add anything original to an increasingly tiresome subgenre. I guess this one has a bigfoot, but even that is kind of weak.
I’m sure the filmmakers will probably say I’ve missed the point of “Dear God No!”, that I don’t understand what they were trying to achieve. The thing is, I get it. I really do. I honestly spend an abnormal amount of time watching films from this era, so I understand their appeal. However, at this stage in the game, the gimmick of making your movie look old, wonky, and low-budget on purpose is starting to get a little tiresome. Then again, I suppose that’s all in the eyes of the beholder. “Dear God No!”, when all is said and done, really does nothing wrong. At the same time, it gets nothing right.
James Bickert (director) / James Bickert (screenplay)
CAST: Jett Bryant … Jett
Madeline Brumby … Edna Marco
Paul McComiskey … Dr. Marco
Olivia LaCroix … Evelyn Marco
Shane Morton … Randal
John Collins … Collins
Nik Morgan … Spyder
James Bickert … Jimbo