By JAMIE BERARDI
Eric Roberts, Beverly Randolph, Felissa Rose & Kim Poirier
Death By Solicitation
No Solicitors is an indie horror film that had a limited release a few years ago. The film performed well in the festival circuit, most notably, the Scare-A-Con Festival in September of 2015. However, with a wider theatrical release on January 2, 2018 (USA), the film is finding a whole new audience. The film is written and directed by John Callas and stars Eric Roberts, Beverly Randolph, Felissa Rose, and Kim Poirer.
Lewis Cutterman (Eric Roberts) is a world-renowned brain surgeon who seems to be living the cliché suburban life of white privilege with his wife Rachel (Beverly Randolph) and their son Scott (Jason Maxim) and daughter Nicole (Kim Poirer). One night, a feisty and very unlucky real estate agent named Mindy (Lucy Walsh) visits the Cuttermans’ home to try and convince them to sell their mansion using her services. The Cuttermans invite Lucy to stay the night for dinner and shortly after capturing her by spiking her wine with drugs, she is rendered unconscious. Once Mindy awakens she discovers that she is not the only prisoner of the Cutterman household and that the family is running an underground business of farming solicitors for their organs, which they then sell to Lewis’ patients, who are in desperate need of organ transplants. The most gruesome discovery is that the Cutterman family eats the remaining body parts and organs that they cannot sell on the black market. There is also a side plot which revolves around Detective Ralph Swarez (Joshua Benton) trying to discover what is happening to all the missing residents of this “white picket fence” community.
If you are a fan of body-horror, then No Solicitors may be the hidden gem you never thought you needed in your life. There is no shortage of gnarly, cringe inducing, torture porn scenes in this film. All the gore is complimentary to medical procedures and limb amputation scenes, which are shown in graphic detail. The most notable being the “torture chair”, wherein Scott and Nicole teach one of their captives, William (Teddy Saunders), a lesson after he tries to sabotage their shady operation. The film has many obvious flaws – the biggest being the cheesy dialogue, performances and music. However, this may be intentional, as there are many scenes which imply that this is a “campy” film that shouldn’t be taken too seriously. For example, when Mindy has dinner with the Cuttermans she praises the family’s cooking, specifically the delicious taste of the meat and tries to guess which “exotic and wild animal” she is eating. There are also many scenes of the family nonchalantly preparing and cooking body parts in the kitchen for dinner amongst typical family banter and light music. Then there are the not-so-obvious flaws that the film presents. Every time I thought I was enjoying No Solicitors, there would be an event in the next scene which would completely turn me off. This is most apparent when Nicole cuts of the genitalia of a man who sexually assaults her in town and when the police investigate the mutilated body, one of the cops pawns the murder off on “some tranny”. While I am all for the castration of a rapist, transphobia is never acceptable for obvious reasons. In conclusion, No Solicitors is a decent (at best) attempt at creating a “tongue-in-cheek” look into the lives of upper class suburbia in America.