From The Vault: Bruiser (2000) Simon Fitzjohn April 8, 2020 Editor's Choice, From The Vault 2496 First things first – I am more than happy to admit that whenever the late, great horrormeister George A.Romero got behind the camera and put together another opus, I was there to sit through it. Whether it be the magnificent ‘Dead’ series of films, or his often underrated slate of side projects, such as The Crazies, The Dark Half or Monkey Shines, Romero’s work was nothing if not interesting. Which is why when Bruiser first surfaced back in 2000, despite being incredibly difficult to track down on video/DVD, this nerd made a point of doing just that. I vividly remember the disappointment first time around, which is why when I was rummaging through my collection in these strange times of lockdown, I decided to give this an airing. As with the bulk of Romero’s work, the project is intriguing to say the least. Jason Flemyng (of various Brit movies fame) plays Henry Creedlow, a quiet, reserved yes-man at a modelling agency. Walked over by his wife, and pretty much everybody else in his life for that matter, Creedlow fantasises about numerous nasty ways of getting back at the world. Then, one day, Creedlow awakes to find his face has literally been wiped clean, replaced instead by a soulless white mask. With his identity now having quite literally been deleted, Creedlow decides to act out his fantasies, striking out at all and sundry who have crossed him. Sounds great doesn’t it? Sadly though it isn’t. So what exactly is wrong with it? Well to start with, the whole thing looks very cheap – whereas previous Romero work had a real cinematic edge to it, this is strictly straight-to-video stuff and all the worse for it. The acting is very poor in places – whereas Flemyng does cut a sympathetic character, whether he was right to play an American is a different matter altogether. The dialogue is poorly written, with a number of scenes that were clearly intended to be serious coming out hilarious and vice-versa. And as for the 20-minute climax, set in some dodgy S&M style fancy-dress rave, well don’t get me started. There are things to enjoy here – Peter Stormare’s wildly over-the-top performance as agency boss Milo is a joy to behold, and seeing horror veteran Tom Atkins on screen is always a good thing. It is just a real shame that Romero was not able to bring the great film that is clearly locked away in here to the surface, and 20 years have not changed that.