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  • Writer's pictureMartyn Wakefield


Dir. Dakota Bailey

Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield

In no derogatory way, AMERICAN SCUMBAGS is the pure definition of a trash film. Nasty, violent and near snuff, there is something believable about a film that has little budget, acting experience or editing knowledge. It’s a guerrilla filmed independent film from Dakota Bailey whose filmography is much centred around the brutal lifestyle of drug takers.

Shot in black and white and choppily edited, AMERICAN SCUMBAGS is not a nice film. Scenes of heavy drug taking, pissing on corpses and no regard to any other members of the cast, it’s hard to say that there is anything likeable from this movie. One character even fills up a canister with battery acid and quips, “You stupid bitch. You’re going to get a face full of battery acid.” You read right, this is not going to win any awards for its script but behind all these faux pars, there is something addictive about Bailey’s film.

As each character is introduced in a spiralling underground of drugs, there’s an instant unlikability and it never lifts but the harsh reality is that these characters exist with one meaning of life, drugs. The sad truth is that this is much inspired by a wave of self-destructive abuse across not just America but the world and with the lifestyles expressed throughout this film, the brutal nature of every action is a dumbfounded reality. AMERICAN SCUMBAGS is just that; a nasty little film that shares the self-destructive nature of its characters and one that focuses less on story but more in favour of the depravity of its central characters wrapped up in a lifestyle much ignored by the mainstream.

With a deeper message than the purely disgusting behaviour, another of the movies saving graces is the punk ridden soundtrack, Pizzatramp help add a layer of cult surprise to this brash slice of punk cinema and works well with the degenerate characters at the centre of the film. There’s no denying that AMERICAN SCUMBAGS is not for everyone but if you’re a fan of something off the edge of mainstream cinema, you could do a lot worse.

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