Sarah (Karen Boles) drives along a quiet country lane on her way to her parents' home for a family reunion.

She breaks down in the middle of nowhere and begins to despair. Enter CJ (Nathan Day) and Stan (Stacey T Gillespie), two yobs who pull up and offer her a lift to the nearest town. She initially tells them that she's already rang her dad and he's on his way. But when they call her bluff by offering to sit and wait with her, she reluctantly accepts their offer of a lift.

Instead of going to the nearest town, the boys drive Sarah deeper into the backwoods and to a remote shack owned by drug-dealer Bud (Kevin Taylor).

After a quick transaction in which Bud gives CJ dope in exchange for "the bitch", CJ tells Sarah why she's there: he and Stan attempted to rob Bud's stash of drugs while he was away, but he came back early and caught them in the act. Bud being a brick shithouse, he threatened to kill the pair there and then - unless they could provide him with three women within the next three days. It's all given in flashbacks too, just in case that's unclear.

CJ drags Sarah into Bud's home, where the drug-dealing behemoth introduces himself to her by busting her lip, showing her photographs of his other female victims and telling her they're going to have "a lot of fun". CJ and Stan then leave, although Stan's clearly not too happy about his part in this caper.

Meanwhile, Sarah's parents are fraught when she doesn't arrive at home. Dad Jack (Chris Begley) loads up his gun and rings his detective friend John (David Workman) for help. Together they set about trying to locate Sarah's whereabouts, calling in on Miss Brooks (Debbie Rochon) at one point, the drunken mother of another missing local girl, Jenny (Elysee).

Keeping the sleaze end of the bargain up, Stan's conscience speaks to him in the form of S&M-tinged nightmares, while Bud continues to strip, photograph and abuse his female captives.

STASH is very stylishly shot at times, making good use of small locations and interesting lighting schemes. Clearly, director Jacob Ennis has thrown the bulk of his creative energy into the scenes based in Bud's cellar, where the camerawork and editing are a lot punchier than elsewhere in the film. Having said that, the pace never falters and the gradual build-up to a heightened sense of terror is deftly applied.

Performances are passable throughout, while production values are low but not to the detriment of the film's SCRAPBOOK-meets-STORM WARNING approach.

STASH's biggest flaw is it's indecisive tone. The cellar scenes are convincingly mean-spirited, with lashings of rape, nudity and abusive language spat into victim's faces. It's uncomfortable viewing at times. But then some of the linking sequences are almost comical in comparison, possessing gross caricatures (Stan's mother) and risibly daft dialogue (CJ's potty mouth). Added to this is the score, which is schizophrenic in itself. Slamming metal one minute, atmospheric synths the next � and, when you least need it, jovial country music a'la THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES while women are being tortured.

A slow-motion Peckinpah-style shoot-out is appreciated for the attempt, even if it's execution is not entirely successful. Other than that, the film is low on gore but high on shouting, sleaze and nudity. Ultimately it's a grim if uneven ride.

The film is presented uncut in non-anamorphic 1.66:1 and looks very good. Colours are vivid but controlled, while images are sharp and detail well-rendered.

English audio is offered in 2.0, and plays clearly without hiss or drop-out.

Menus on the disc are static but colourful. Although there's no scene-selection menu, the film can be traversed through by way of 16 chapters.

Extras begin with two audio commentary tracks. The first is from producer-director Ennis and is a surprisingly serious affair. It's filled with good detail, albeit a little staggered at times. The second commentary track comes courtesy of executive producers Billy and Denise Blackwell, and carries less weight.

A 15-minute Making Of documentary comprises of retrospective cast and crew interviews, interspersed with shaky behind-the-scenes footage shot on location by a junior member of the cast (for spoiler reasons, it's difficult to elaborate). This is a slick, tightly edited featurette that gets a lot of info across in a short time.

8 minutes of blooper and outtakes footage follow in full-frame.

A 3-minute featurette on the make-up FX of one character follows, set to a pounding heavy metal track.

Next up is a 5-minute interview with genre veteran Rochon. She speaks of how she got involved in the film (was impressed with the original promo for it) and how she enjoyed the filming experience.

A 5-minute promo video for Pownd's "Still I Bleed" follows, placing the headbangers in a cabin while scenes from STASH flash on screen occasionally, in-between the violent camerawork. The song's not bad, but the lead singer looks a tad self-conscious in front of the camera.


An interesting premise and some spunky performances work in STASH's favour. But a bizarrely inconsistent tone and some unappealing misogyny sour the taste somewhat.

Review by Stu Willis

Released by Bloody Earth Films
Region 1 - NTSC
Not Rated
Extras :
see main review