New DVD Releases: Pit Stop (2020)-Reviewed

The zombie craze is fun because like its subjects, it never stays dead. Every time you think the public is over it, something new comes along and the sub-genre shambles along for another few years of renewed relevancy. Just this year, films like Blood Quantum and Yummy popped up to put fun spins on the walking dead. Horror fans, however, know that the zombie never really stays dead and for every winner, there are approximately one million low budget zombie flicks pumped onto VOD and DVD each year. 

Lurching into that latter pile is Pit Stop (or Acid Pit Stop according to the end credits) wherein two friends host a rave and unknowingly distribute drugs that turn people into zombies. That’s a fun enough hook, no? Throw in some strobe lights, neon and goofy costumes and you have enough pieces for a breezy 80 minute gore fest. Unfortunately, Pit Stop fails on almost every conceivable level. 

If you’re a dyed in the wool horror fan, you know low budget, DTV schlock is often the name of the game. So many of our favorite cult classics had shoestring budgets. The difference here is that director Jason Wright has no idea how to compensate for his film’s lack of budget. It’s impossible to know where to start but let’s go with the cinematography and shot composition. If you’re going into a low rent zombie flick, you’re not expecting Robby Müller but you at least want some sort of dynamic compositions and kinetic camera work. Here, 80% of the film is set against a static shot of people talking up against a wall. Even when the zombies attack, the majority of what you’re seeing feels so flat, like you’re looking at a piece of paper. It makes for the least interesting thing you’ll see on film all year. Never would one think that seeing a woman turn into a zombie mid-blowjob, bite a man’s penis off and spit it into the bathroom sink could be so boring and yet here we are. 

Our next major whiff is the sound design. It’s genuinely impossible to understand what anyone is saying in this thing. There’s a twist (I think) where someone reveals themselves as the true villain but good luck trying to understand who this man is or what his motivation is! It’s borderline insulting. You want to assume the best intentions and never want to put someone down but there’s seemingly no effort put into the sound in this film. The villain monologues endlessly and after a certain point of trying hear what he’s saying, the film just blurs into gray, sludgy nothingness. 

It’s all so frustrating because clearly everyone involved is having fun. There’s a blooper reel at the end that, like the movie, is impossible to hear but hey, at least someone is laughing. There are attempts at one liners, a plunger is turned into a weapon and used multiple times, Bruce Payne (best known as the villain in Passenger 57) shows up to debase himself as clown wig-wearing drug dealer with a blowup doll for a wife, clearly this was meant to be a wacky stoner zomcom. Unfortunately, nothing lands. Not a single attempt is made to work around the lack of budget. You’re left with something that wouldn’t even pass muster as a student film. It’s like watching a group of friends get stoned and laugh at their own unfunny jokes while you’re sober. 

The only thing Pit Stop has going for it is some fun gore effects in between the awful CGI blood. Otherwise, it’s interminable. It has a fun enough premise that never fully materializes because it’s stunted from the outset by awful filmmaking and an unwillingness to even try to do something interesting. Stay far away. 

-Brandon Streussnig