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Underbelly (2003)
Movie Review by The Mortician

Underbelly (2003) Here's a new movie from writer/director Joe Sherlock (aka DOCTOR SQUID in the indie biz!), whose previous credits include such campfests as ODD NOGGINS, LUST OF THE VAMPIRE HOOKERS, and MONSTER IN THE GARAGE. UNDERBELLY is his latest movie and it's a new direction for Sherlock. Think of a Fred Olen Ray movie being morphed with the dark humor of something like Martin Scorsese's AFTER HOURS and you have an idea of what UNDERBELLY is all about...Tom (played by Tom Shaffer) is a 'much older' college student who is hired to drive a professor's extra car to his niece downstate. As Tom makes the trip, we get a glimpse of his quirky character. He's got odd habits, like talking into a tape recorder (where he delivers the classic line 'Note to self' whenever he sees something wrong around him,) and can barely even eat a hamburger without spilling its contents all over his shirt...When Tom gets to the town to deliver the car, the professor's niece is nowhere to be found and poor Tom gets involved with an odd assortment of characters that DO know what happened to her (but refuse to tell him), including gangsters, hookers, and thugs! Not exactly the kind of situation he planned to drive into...Amidst the interesting story, there's plenty of nudity peppered throughout the movie in a homage to directors like Jim Wynorski and Fred Olen Ray. The story comes to a halt so that viewers can feast their eyes upon sex scenes and strip routines by the likes of Shannon, Heather Storm, and Tamera Redmond. Fans of this kind of eye candy will not be disappointed. As the plot unfolds, a lot of the bad guys get mad at each other and there's plenty of bloodshed in the RESERVOIR DOGS tradition. The ending is very satisfactory and the movie has the nice subtle subtext of a good person helping out someone in a bad situation, so there is a moral to the story. Sherlock shows assured talent in getting decent performances out of his cast. Standouts include lead actor Tom Shaffer and a couple of the bad guys. Susan Gold turns in a believable performance as a hooker. The main mob boss is particularly good too. There's a surprise cameo appearance by John (ABOMINATION) Bowker that's very funny as well. Watch out for Goon # 1! UNDERBELLY, referring to the seedy 'underside' of this town that Tom drives into, is an entertaining movie that keeps your attention. It boasts solid performances by the cast and technically, the movie is standout. Shooting on video, Sherlock makes excellent use out of his locations and camera angles. He obviously put a lot of time and effort into mapping out his shots. The sound is crisp and clear and the music score (unbelievably, also by Sherlock!---how many hats does this guy wear?) is really rocking and adds a nice zest to the proceedings. It fits perfect for the mood Sherlock wanted to convey for the flick. I can't see fans of b-grade exploitation movies having any beefs with the contents that UNDERBELLY delivers.The DVD contains extras and a commentary. If you're in the mood for something a little different that salutes the Roger Corman formula of the '80's, pick up the DVD of UNDERBELLY today! For more info, go to www.drsquid.net.
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