NFF Masquerade Review: ‘It Cuts Deep’ (2020)

Dating is a tricky thing. How long do you need to be with someone before you take the next step? How will you know if you ready? Or if they are? Do you really want to marry this person or are you simply settling out of convenience, fear, or both? These are not easy questions and more often than not they can lead to answers that you might not want to hear.

It Cuts Deep is about one such couple. A man (Charles Gould) and woman (Quinn Jackson) who are going off to spend Christmas with the former’s family. The man’s parents are out of town and will be catching up with them later in the week, which allows them some time alone. Time to discuss where they are headed and what their wants and desires are. Time for them to severely disappoint one again.

These people are miserable and terrible for one another. That’s evident to the viewer from the opening moments, but it’s a realization that these characters will have to come to as the tale rolls along. Complicating things is the fact that they both have important secrets they need to tell one another. Further roughing up the situation is that the man’s former childhood best friend, Nolan (John Anderson), wants to rekindle said friendship and is being quite pushy (and weird) about it. Tensions rise, tempers flare up, and the situation continues goes to shit more and more as it goes along.

We’ve seen this kind of story before and that’s fine. There’s nothing wrong with deciding to roll around in genre tropes and stick to formulas, so long as you can execute them well. What we have here is the kind of film where the tension is meant to be slowly ratcheted up from the opening until the finale where everything comes to a head. All of those beats are hit along the way and our trio of leads do their best to facilitate all of those moments along the way.

Unfortunately, things get a bit too repetitive in the middle. There’s only so many times that we can see Nolan show up, set Sam (our male lead) off, and then cause yet another argument between him and Ashley as a result. I lost count at one point of how many times this happens, but it was about two times too many for my tastes.

As a result, the pacing wobbles heavily as it heads into the third act and makes the film feel less like a feature and more like a short with way too much padding. Between the overabundance of Nolan confrontations and the overly-recurring shots of cars driving down country roads, It Cuts Deep could have stood to lose at least 30 minutes. There’s a really good short hiding within, but as a feature film, it comes up…well…short.

It Cuts Deep is an original horror comedy. It was written and directed by Nicholas Santos. The film was produced by Kristy Richman, Nicholas Santos, Jordan Bagwill Eusebio, Rtusha Kulkarni, Eugene Williams, Kyle I. Kelley, and Leigh Adel-Arnold. It stars Charles Gould, Quinn Jackson, John Anderson, Chloe Roe, Jackson Quinn Gray, and Lea Ostner.

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