Anthologies either in television or in film deserve a special place in Hell, in my personal opinion. Now that is an incredibly bold statement, but if a story is being told and two thirds of it are fantastic, but then there is this dull bland lull in the midst of the project, it certainly makes the rest of the viewing that much less pleasurable and as the viewer suffers from fatigue, especially considering the weakest link of anthologies tends to be the larger part of the entire project. However, when looking at Tyler Cornack’s Tiny Cinema, there is something here that is typically not done in anthologies. Tyler directs them all, leaving any of the fat and mess that typically happens when smashing multiple styles together on the cutting room floor and giving audiences one hell of a great time. While to say Tiny Cinema reinvents the wheel would be hyperbole and factually wrong, it certainly takes the ideas of Twilight Zone and, even, to an extent, the V/H/S franchise, to create a mesh between the two worlds that are sure to appease audiences.
There are six separate segments in Tiny Cinema that all eventually tie together in one way or another. While each segment is different and tells a different story, they each have their own unique voice and tales to disturb the audience to their cores. The segments consist of “Game Night,” “Edna,” “Bust!,” “Deep Impact,” “Motherfuckers,” and “Daddy’s Home.” Instead of going into detail about every segment, it would be easier to summarize each and highlight the highs and lows of each briefly. In “Game Night,” a man is driven to insanity trying to answer the simple question of “who is she,” while “Edna” takes a fun trip down zombie lane, and “Bust!” questions how far one would go for a friend, while “Deep Impact” may be the most disturbing one (an Ethan Hawke movie about time travel has a very similar vibe to this, purposely not naming the film as it would be a spoiler if one has not seen it, but for those familiar know exactly what I am referring to). “Motherfuckers” proves that words have meaning and to always be careful about what you say to the Godfather. “Daddy’s Home,” while the last entry, may be the most demented (in a good way), twisted madness that Tiny Cinema has to offer.
“Game Night,” “Edna,” and “Bust!” each use a similar version of storytelling, ensuring that their protagonists are seen as absolutely insane and psychotic as they can be. In “Game Night,” the performance is highlighted by Austin Lewis who is hell bent to discover who the mysterious “she” is and puts everyone in danger until the end. “Edna” focuses on Olivia Herman who’s convinced herself that the corpse she has discovered is her boyfriend and will not let anyone let her think differently, with a George A Romero twist thrown into the mix. Lastly, “Bust!” focuses on a group of friends who try to see if their friends’ arousal around danger is in fact, factual, while landing themselves in some pretty serious issues.
“Deep Impact” features director Tyler Cornack himself, meets his future-self and, to leave the location and in trying to complete his job, you guessed it, he has to have sex with himself. While Tyler pulls double-duty, he certainly knows how to highlight himself by choosing to do the disturbing incest segment. “Motherfuckers” is rather self-explanatory and quite hilarious to watch as one should never make light of a kingpin of mafia, even if they are one of their henchmen. “Daddy’s Home” sinks its teeth into a Cronenberg–esque body horror that is certainly not meant for the squeamish, but certainly brings back the love of ‘80s/’90s horror make up as Danny DeVito’s Penguin from Batman Returns certainly seems to be an inspiration in this transformational conclusion.
However it is the cast of like-minded crazies that consists of Kristina Clifford, Shelby Dash, Tyler Cornack, Sam Landers, Olivia Herman, Lisa Mason Lee, Austin Lewis, Kyle Lewis, Kevin Eric McCarthy, Matt Rasku, Kevin Michael Moran, Tyler Rice, Matt Rubano, Denise Swindell, and Phil Ursino who all manage to bring their characters to life, whether they be background characters partaking in a game night, or some dumb kids not realizing they told the wrong guy off, or a gang of Simpsons-inspired gangsters not wanting to mess with Fat Tony, they all brought it to the table and made sure not only was there not a weak entry in the anthology, but that all of them fired on all cylinders. Lastly, the presence of Paul Ford, who played the anthological Host, did a great job of preparing the audience for the madness they were about to experience. So, strap yourself in, prepare for the unexpected, and enjoy Tiny Cinema.
In theaters September 2nd, 2022.
Available on VOD September 6th, 2022.
Available on Blu-ray October 11th, 2022.
For more information, head to Dread Central’s Tiny Cinema webpage.
Final Score: 3.5 out of 5.