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Drawing Flies (1996) – DVD Review

drawing flies dvd cover


Written and Directed by: Matthew Gissing & Malcolm Ingram
Starring: Jason Lee, Jason Mewes, Renee Humphrey, Carmen Lee, Martin Brooks


  • Cast and Crew Audio Commentary track with Gissing, Ingram, Jason Lee, Mewes, Humphrey, Carmen Lee & Kevin Smith
  • Technical Audio Commentary track with Gissing & Ingram
  • Director’s Cut of film
  • Deleted Scenes

Released by: Indie DVD
Region: 1
Rating: NR
Anamorphic: Forget about it.

My Advice: Borrow It.

Donner (Jason Lee) has become dissatisfied with the stagnant slacker lifestyle that he and his friends have in Toronto. Having post-modern discussions about Scooby-Doo, smoking weed, and subsisting on Canadian welfare has lost its appeal. Losing their welfare benefits motivates Donner to have the group go on a road trip to a cabin in the Canadian wilderness. But Donner has a secret agenda that will change his life. How this vision affects the others is the story of Drawing Flies.

[ad#longpost]Have you believed in something so deeply that your friends become close-minded and antagonistic? Have you had a friend get so obsessed over something that you think he’s gone over the edge? These questions are asked in this film, yes–but answered? No. The script meanders way too much and lacks focus. When you have a limited budget on a film, you need a well-written script to transcend the limitations. This doesn’t do it. I wasn’t thinking about the message of the film because I was thinking that the beautiful shots of the Canadian wilderness should have been in color. You can only give only so much slack to a low budget independent movie and this flick certainly maxed out its account.

The acting, by comparison, is good. Jason Lee really shines. During the course of the movie, he becomes the reasonable madman. His explanations follow their own internal logic, but originate from his unbalanced imagination. Lee never overdoes the madness; he conveys convincingly the attitude that his friends are the ones who are delusional. The rest do good jobs as aimless, self-absorbed, twenty-somethings that follow Donner into the woods because they’re nothing better to do.

The outtakes and cut scenes aren’t that interesting. They’re presented without any order or introduction, so they don’t really add anything to the film. The same can be said for the director’s cut. A few added scenes don’t add to the movie, so you ask yourself why bother. The Cast Commentary has way too many people so it gets confused and goes on too many tangents (like the porn van and Martin Brooks’ erection). The Technical Commentary does give a glimpse of guerilla filmmaking with writing bad checks, limiting shots due to lack of film, and hiring your family and friend to act in the film. All in all, Drawing Flies isn’t all that great. Rent it if you’ve got a coupon.

Jason Lee, a bit filthy, in Drawing Flies
drawing flies jason lee

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