Review by Sean Boelman
For fans of horror, anthology films can be a treat, offering bite-sized doses of weird genre cinema. The Tyler McCormack-helmed Tiny Cinema is a frustrating entry into the genre, delivering six one-note segments, ranging in quality from mildly entertaining to outright and insultingly stupid.
This is an anthology film of six bizarre, interconnected tales narrated by a mysterious stranger who is seemingly omnipresent in the affairs of the macabre. It’s a pretty thin central narrative, hoping that the individual stories speak well enough for themselves, but they are so incredibly niche in their approach that it’s frustrating.
Our host is much less interesting than some of the other emcees for horror anthologies. Paul Ford is no Rod Serling or even The Creep. He even wittily remarks that he’s a “weird choice for a host,” and it seems that the reason why he was selected was likely just his appearance. It’s frustrating, and quite frankly, nearly insulting.
For those who aren’t familiar with Tyler Cormack’s previous movie, Butt Boy, it follows a man who makes people disappear up his butt. This film has the same level of ridiculous humor, albeit without the same level of existentialism. It’s aggressively dumb, and while it’s occasionally really funny, its jokes are too hit-or-miss to recommend this.
The funniest story in the show is the one that is the most lighthearted, about a woman who finds an undead new mate. This is the type of just-dark-enough humor that most horror fans like about horror comedy anthologies. Another, coming later in the movie, is purely chaotic in a way that is at least pretty entertaining.
That said, there are some segments that are based on a premise that is so one-note that it becomes annoying. One segment, about a group of gangsters trying to convince one of their friends to have sex with their mom, is so underwritten that it’s really hard to watch. Another, about the “that’s what she said” joke, simply takes itself too seriously.
Unlike a lot of horror anthologies, this is directed solely by Cormack, meaning that it is stylistically very consistent. Cormack has a style that is somewhat retro but doesn’t fully commit to it — causing the film to feel somewhat retro, but not enough so to make it hit that nostalgic sweet spot.
There are a couple jokes that work really well in Tiny Cinema, but for the most part, it’s too crude and absurd to be worth watching. Tyler McCormack has a very particular sense of humor, and it’s not particularly suited to a shorter form like this.
Tiny Cinema hits theaters on September 2 and VOD on September 6.