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Film Review: “Chop Chop” Is a Rustic, Poorly Executed Presentation of an Otherwise Interesting Concept

Written by: Adam Vaughn | October 19th, 2020

Film poster: “Chop Chop”

Chop Chop (Rony Patel, 2020) 1 out of 4 stars.

Director Rony Patel feature-film debut, Chop Chop, offers an utterly confusing and lackluster story that misses the mark on almost all elements of cinematic form. As a concept, Chop Chop seems as if it has the potential to balance both a comedic and horrific tone, and in theory has both solid groundwork and potential, yet immediately one cannot help but cringe at the lack of artistic appeal, between bland acting and direction, a sound design that wavers between inexistent and unmotivated, and a script that does nothing to impress or entertain the audience.

Chop Chop tells the story of a young couple (played by Atala Arce and Jake Taylor) who begin a romantic night with an unwanted visit from a psychotic killer disguised as a pizza man. Having disarmed and murdered the killer, the couple finds themselves thrown into a high-stakes night as they attempt to cover up their actions, eliminating anyone in their way. As the number of witnesses piles up, the two continue to struggle to keep their dark secret a secret, digging a bigger and bigger hole for themselves.

Still from CHOP CHOP ©Gravitas Ventures

The list of errors and grievances within this film goes on and on, but a major cinematic mishap of Chop Chop is the awkward and disorganized pacing of the film. Unmotivated pauses, sloppy and poor editing, and a strange and unfitting sound design make the entire film, from start to finish, an uncomfortable experience. The film mostly has no score or background music/sound, giving it a dry and lame presentation, one that hardly creates any sense of tension or thrill. The dialogue does nothing to reinforce the poor audio, resulting in cheesy and untimely performances by essentially every actor on screen, with random, loosely explained characters being introduced left and right. It is unclear whether the film is attempting to be a genuine addition to the horror franchise or a satire making fun of the genre, as the pacing is so God-awful that the film’s journey never coheres.

Chop Chop in many ways is an utter waste of time. It is surprising that the executive producers and supervisors of this piece did not check the film for its presentation, rhythm and overall mood and tone quality, as the film never truly comes across as a genuine or authentic, missing major technical points that are bare-minimum essentials for good cinema. The overall story arc does not impress, and teeters on the edge of believability and senselessness. By the end of the film, the viewer is left with a disappointed feeling, having no idea where the film took him/her, or better yet, what the main point was. 

Atala Arce in CHOP CHOP ©Gravitas Ventures

The single solitary praise the film can receive is that it seems to be accidentally tense in some moments. Scenes of awkward pause occasionally occur naturally, and in rare sequences the utilization of dead silence serves the film well. But for the most part, Chop Chop appears unpleasant and just barely passes for a work of cinema. For any viewer looking for a suspenseful or gripping horror-film experience, Chop Chop lacks in all of these areas. And in terms of relating to any other genre or movie before it, Chop Chop does an even worse job of emulating proper filmic form.

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Adam Vaughn is a graduate of the Film & Moving Image program at Stevenson University, with a focus in Cinematography and Production. He also has a minor in Theater and Media Performance. Adam works as a freelance photographer and videographer, focusing his craft on creating compelling photographic and cinematic imagery. Adam is excited to join the Film Festival Today team and explore the world of cinema and visual arts.

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