Sunday, 22 August 2010



This is one of those titles they sent me after I added it to the queue without reading anything about it, which in the 24/7 mass information age is getting more and more difficult. It becomes a conscious effort to stay away from trailers, reviews, interviews and the mass of publicity material that's online anything up to six months before the film's even finished, let alone awaiting shipment to Blockbusters. Sometimes that can lead to a genuine voyage of discovery; more often it can lead to a mental slap and a resolution to at least look them up on the IMDb first. Since LoveFilm has classed it under Horror and it has an 18 certificate, I figured it wasn't a romantic comedy or a fluffy animation for toddlers, so I was on fairly safe ground and could proceed without knowing any more. I didn't even know it was British.

Turns out that Resurrecting "The Street Walker" (which is exactly how the title appears on screen) is a mockdoc originally conceived to show the inside workings of the British Film Industry, but focuses on one man's growing obsession with restoring and completing an unfinished slasher movie that started production during the video nasties era. The Street Walker was abandoned after one of the actresses was actually killed on camera and the director committed suicide; the footage ended up in a Soho basement where an unpaid runner at a film production house finds it and resolves to finish the project - re-editing the existing material and gathering together the money and people to shoot a new ending. Which is obviously not a good idea.

The first problem is that the scenes we see of The Street Walker don't look anything like a mid-80s cheapo slasher. They look like something shot a few weeks ago and processed a bit; we only see them in black and white, and our hero is going to finish the piece using a digital camera, although the original was almost certainly shot on film. Some "films" were certainly being made on the exciting new medium of video around this time - in the UK there was Lindsay Shonteff's drab post-nuke offering The Killing Edge (1984) and in the States the first full-length feature on tape was supposedly John Wintergate's incoherent Boardinghouse (1982) - but the bits we're shown of The Street Walker don't even look like old VHS. More damagingly, once more our hero isn't anywhere near enough of an interesting character (and grows less so as the film goes on) so it's increasingly hard to care whether he gets his new ending or not, and I increasingly wanted someone to [a] tell his mate to stop filming everything for his tedious documentary, and [b] lamp him.

As a fake fly-on-the-wall, it's convincing enough in parts, but it doesn't really hang together overall, and the big horrible ending is fairly obvious early on (and, if this was a real doc, there's no way they'd be legally able to show it). The minutiae of the workings of a film production company are ultimately more interesting than the obsession, mental breakdown and slasher movie stuff. Which is a pity.


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