Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Kelsey T. Howard|
|Produced by||Kelsey T. Howard
|Written by||Eugene Hess
Paul T. Murray
|Music by||Danny Saber|
|Editing by||Andrew Cohen|
|Distributed by||Indican Pictures|
|Running time||88 minutes|
Cruel World is a 2005 American horror comedy film produced and directed by Kelsey T. Howard. The film is about a psychotic man kills the host after losing a game show. He then uses the house where the show took place to film his own reality show, which involves several contestants performing challenges, and the losers being "sent home" (a euphemism for being killed).
At the beginning of the film it is revealed that Cathy was once the host of a reality show similar to "The Bachelor", and that after her husband won, the producers allowed the couple to move into the house where show had previously taken place. The house, still fitted for reality television, had several secret rooms and passages as well as a host of cameras all over the estate.
The noticeably mentally unstable Phillip Markham is allowed entrance into the home for a visit. Cathy is initially put off by his odd behavior, and feels more and more uncomfortable as Phillip reminisces about the show they were on together (that Phillip lost, despite his love for Cathy). Phillip tells Cathy that he sent out applications to colleges all over the country for his own reality show, and that it was going to take place in Cathy's house. Phillip then murders Cathy and her husband.
Meanwhile, the contestants arrive (four men and five girls), and Phillip reveals to them that after tonight he will not feed them. They go through different "challenges", including locking themselves in coffins and trying to find the key inside. Ruby is put off by the challenges, which are more over-the-top than most reality show challenges, and often try to instill great fear and peril into the contestants. As Ruby begins to realize what is going on, she is drowned by an unseen assailant. Gina is voted off by the rest of the contestants. On the ride home she is buried alive, and Phillip's assistant (later revealed to be his brother Claude) films it. Police discover the grave site and ask Phillip if he knows anything about Gina's disappearance. He casually claims he does not know, and wishes he could do more to help them.
The contestants are tricked into eating Ruby's remains (believing it to be raw beef, and desperate for food). However, during the meal Mikko vomits and is disqualified. When she is asked to go home, she realizes that Claude, Phillip's physically imposing yet mentally handicapped brother, is trying to kill her and flees. In her escape however, she runs into a shed, and Claude locks her inside. During another challenge, Techno goes inside of the shed and finds Claude and asks him what he is doing there since he is the limo driver. After a lengthy monologue, Phillip orders Claude to kill Techno- and he is stabbed in the abdomen.
Bobby and Ashley accidentally stumble upon the video of Gina being buried. They tell the others, who find Cathy's dead body in a closet. Phillip tells them to look out of the window, and they see Claude dragging Techno's dead body across the courtyard. Phillip then confesses to them that he is not filming a real reality show, and that he has been murdering people. In another challenge, simple farmboy Collin is forced to swordfight the highly manipulative drama king Jack. Collin disarms Jack, but refuses to kill him, and turns his back to tell Phillip that he quits. While his back is turned, Jack stabs and kills him- winning the challenge and avoiding being sent home. However, this greatly angers Bobby, who was friends with Collin. Jack loses the next challenge, and (being a coward) runs back in the house. But Bobby kicks him out of the house, telling him to die like a man, and expressing his disgust with Collin's murder.
Afterward, Bobby discovers a secret door. Ashley, his partner, agrees to explore the passageway. She finds a way out, and tries to escape, but is discovered before she can reach the road, and is decapitated. This greatly upsets Jenny, as she is the only one left besides Bobby. It is also revealed that Claude has a crush on Jenny. Realizing that it would be best, Bobby decides to kill himself during the next challenge so that Jenny can win. After winning, Jenny is taken back to the house and guarded by Claude until the "party". Knowing that Claude likes her, she begins flirting with him- telling him that she loves him and kissing him. Claude lets her go after this experience, but Phillip finds out about it and captures Jenny before she can escape. However, her escape attracts the attention of the police; and although Phillip was able to kill the first policeman, he knows there will be more. Phillip kisses his brother Claude good bye, telling him to stay. As Phillip escapes, police enter the house and arrest Claude- thus rescuing Jenny.
At the end for the final scene we see Jenny and a friend walking into a monorail when a message appears on her cell phone that was stated at the beginning of the contest saying "Please Leave Your Cell Phones By The Door" Phillip appears on her phone and a hand grabs her by her shoulder, ending the movie.
- Edward Furlong as Philip Markham
- Laura Ramsey as Jenny
- Susan Ward as Ashley
- Daniel Franzese as Claude Markham
- Andrew Keegan as Bobby
- Sanoe Lake as Ruby
- Aimee Garcia as Gina
- Joel Michaely as Jack
- Nate Parker as Techno
- Nicole Bilderback as Mikko
- Brian Geraghty as Collin
- Jaime Pressly as Catherine Anderson
Shooting, which began in July 2004, took place in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Cruel World was released on DVD April 8, 2008.
James Bowman of The New York Sun called it "a dreadful mess of a movie" that unsuccessfully tries to mix satire with horror. Bloody Disgusting rated it 2/5 stars and wrote that the boring kills can't make up for the poor writing and execution. Scott Foy of Dread Central rated it 1/5 stars and called it "simply an abject failure any which way you cut it." Mike Long of DVD Talk rated it 1.5/5 stars and wrote that the film has "an awesome concept" but "simply doesn't work."
- "Cruel Word". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
- LaPorte, Nicole (2004-07-20). "Maverick, Primetime roll on 'Cruel World'". Variety. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
- Siebalt, Joshua (2008-04-07). "DVD Releases: Parking Garage of the Dead". Dread Central. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
- Bowman, James (2006-10-27). "Too Real for Reality TV, Too Fake for the Screen". The New York Sun. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
- "Cruel World (V)". Bloody Disgusting. 2008-04-20. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
- Foy, Scott (2008-04-17). "Cruel World (2008)". Dread Central. Retrieved 2014-01-15.
- Long, Mike (2007-04-17). "Cruel World". DVD Talk. Retrieved 2014-01-15.