Writer/director Sam Salerno's The Dark Side of the Womb is a gleefully demented indie horror romp through twisted lives and the twists that made them that way.
The film kicks off with Mrs. Wænd (Mickey Faerch, Run! Bitch! Run!) giving birth to twins, though instantaneously she accepts Justin (Dean Milo) while rejecting Ed (Matt McCarthy). 30 years later, the beloved Justin is murdered by killer clowns and Ed is finally chased away from his home. Elsewhere, Linda (Fay Lytle) is getting ready to have a baby but, tragically, gives birth to only a severed head.
Stunned by the unexpected tragedy, Linda's boyfriend Jesse (David Moneymaker) almost immediately has his own accident and is killed. However, Linda's doctor, Dr. Necrophilus (Art Roberts), is able to attach Linda's birthed severed head to Jesse's body and do some kick-butt neuro-rewiring to create a new, but definitely not improved, boyfriend (Josh Connor).
Whew. This is exhausting.
Linda's relationship with the new boyfriend doesn't exactly go well - he's really kind of an abusive jerk. Then, however, she meets Ed and gets on her way to happily ever after.
Of course, indie horror films never actually stop at happily ever after. Do they?
The Dark Side of the Womb is, indeed, one of those films that really lives into what it means to be an indie horror project as it goes rather extreme at times and unquestionably challenges the boundaries of taste.
It also works incredibly well.
A good amount of the credit for the film's success must be attributed to the spot-on performance of Matt McCarthy, from the disturbing sequences with his mother to the believable, off-kilter yet satisfying coupling with Linda. He and Fay Lytle, who is also terrific here, make for a tremendous couple and it's that believability that serves to make much of the last half of the film even more unnerving and even quite fun at times. There's really not a weak link in the cast, from Mickey Faerch's squirm-inducing early sequences to Art Roberts's performance that is so darkly humorous and horrifying that you could practically cut-and-paste it into a Human Centipede motion picture.
Adrian Hernandez's lensing accomplishes quite a bit for a low-budget flick and Paul Salerno's original music magnifies the film's ultra creepy vibes.
The Dark Side of the Womb is a unique and satisfying indie horror project and the kind of film that makes you realize just how much can be accomplished when a whole lot lotta talent is working with even the most modest of budgets. For more information on the film, visit its Facebook page linked to in the credits.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic