True Hype Production’s latest black comedy Mon Ami had it’s Vancouver premiere last weekend. A small company comprised of four Capilano University grads, True Hype has thus far made a notable impression on the world of indie film making. Mon Ami was an exciting sequel for these young professionals breaking into the market following the teams gory zombie flick “Yesterday” which was released in 2009.
In Mon Ami, best friends Teddy (Michael Kovac) and Cal (Scott Wallis) embark on what is meant to be a seamless get rich quick scheme. It just so happens that this includes kidnapping the boss’ cute and bubbly daughter Crystal (Chesley Reist). When things get messy, this buddy comedy turns dark and limbs begin to get dismembered. The unraveling of these two displaced bad guys just goes from bad to worse in a non stop, vomit (and laugh) inducing ride. Not only are they battling their inner demons but Teddy and Cal must face a distance growing between their friendship, grossly due to Teddy’s overbearing wife, Liz (Teagan Vincze).
The entire cast was rock solid in their performances. Kovac and Wallis have terrific chemistry that can only come from being real life pals. They both are able to teeter somewhere between victimized bafoons and endearing mis-fits perfectly. As the movie moves forward, they more clearly become bad guys yet continue to get the audiences vote, even when wielding axes and acting like Dexter’s unfortunate younger brothers.
Director and writer Rob Grant was able to balance seat squirming moments of terror and discomfort that quickly turn to light-hearted chit chat from Teddy and Cal. The story is a simple one at its core,if the characters were not so deeply affected, but the genuine touches given by Grant and the cast made it shine. Whether it’s the absurdity that accumulates over the run of this film or the awesomely hilarious bro-banter of the two leads, Mon Ami was a total crowd pleaser.
As with True Hype’s first efforts in Yesterday, Mon Ami impresses with its micro budget effects. There was no suspension of reality with the stunts and make-up as you might expect outside of Hollywood. We are so used to being subjected to images of blood and gore that seems so real, and these guys pulled it off without a hitch. Kudos to Reist who was able to still look hot even with her a beaten face and head bandage wrapped around her blonde locks.
I can only expect more heart filled indie gore-fests from this young production company. They produce stories that are easy to fall into and have definitely raised the bar for what you can accomplish on a tiny budget. A great deal of support from family, friends and the Capilano University film department makes a big difference to this talented bunch and they deserve it based on the immense effort that has gone into this feature. So far, it’s been a favorite on the film festival circuit and I can only imagine even greater reception as their audience grows.