Cult Hero is a lively throwback to the action films of yesteryear and writer/director Jesse Thomas Cook loves to camp it up! Anyone who loved his movie, Monster Brawl, will enjoy this one too. I was laughing throughout this horror comedy. Plus, the mashup of filming with a mix of old and modern equipment is perfect for to give this film everything a fan of 80s and 90s television would want. Even the titles are recreated with loving effect.
This movie about the life and times of Dale Domazar is hilarious. Ry Barrett is perfect in the role of a has-been television show host cum private investigator. He used to be the star of a television show called Cult Busters, and as the name implies, it’s about him breaking up ominous cults. But after the last broadcast resulted in a mass suicide, that can ruin one’s reputation easily. However, he believes he can get his mojo back.
This jab at reality TV is what I need after watching Conjuring Kesha. It’s not even a ghost hunting show (review link) because the direction is very Scooby-Doo and depends more on this singer trying to be like Daphne Blake and Velma Dinkly at the same time.
Conversely, thankfully Domazar pulls off the craziness like Sgt. Slaughter and be all gung-ho like Dog the Bounty Hunter. He’ll stop at nothing to stop secret societies bent on ruining people’s lives. Sadly, these days, he’s out of work, living in a recreation-vehicle and trying to sell a shtick.
Screenings at Fantasia 2022 are full and had this event been longer (this weekend is the last) I’m sure the organisers would book an additional screening of Cult Hero. A quick look on the internet shows that it’s coming to Marché du Film in May 2023, and I suspect it’ll be part of TIFF Midnight Madness screening.
In this film, we’re eerily reminded of those cults from long ago and how the leaders treat their membership. Sometimes, everyone is equal and other times not. In this film’s case, the people of Hope Acres, a retreat, are not so well-meaning. The staff are like wards to inmates to an asylum. That’s because the people who come here for treatment are treated like dimwits, and that’s not nice. There’s even a handful slated for sacrifice, but as for whether there’s an Elder God involved, we’re not led down that rabbit hole.
On the other hand, Kallie Jones (Liv Collins) is too much of a Karen, and believes she can do no wrong. She loves Brad (Justin Bott) but when he’s not waking up to smell the roses, this woman sends him to Master Jagori’s (Tony Burgess, pictured above) retreat for men to help. But things only get worse. Soon, his behaviour is even more odd, and she believes he’s been indoctrinated into a cannibalistic death cult. As a result, she calls on Dale for help. She found him through one of his old commercials, and he isn’t afraid of no cult.
The mayhem that follows is just as comic, and I wished I had a rewind button. There’s a lot to take in. Plus, with her job on the line, she has to sell the next house or lose her. Just when I thought this subplot doesn’t matter, it does, and the twist is not really unexpected.
As for Domazar, he hopes to make a comeback, and I had to chuckle. I wondered how he’s going to succeed when he doesn’t have any network support, and all he has for filming his bust is outdated equipment. If he can successfully take down this latest cult, well, Cult Buster, er Cult Hero will be back on television screens! You’ll have yourself a jolly good time with either.
5 Stars out of 5