The titular character in Hobo with a Shotgun rides the rail to a place called Scum Town. He intends to save up enough money to purchase a lawnmower and start over. Unfortunately Hobo’s dreams are put on hold when he realizes that Scum Town is overrun by crime. The town is ruled by a ruthless underworld boss named Drake. Drake pushes Hobo too far and Hobo puts his dreams of a lawnmower on hold. He instead opts for the purchase a shotgun. With shotgun in hand, Hobo takes on Drake and his army of underworld thugs. He sentences them to death in a variety of delightfully gruesome ways.
Director and co-writer Jason Eisner originally created a fake trailer called Hobo with a Shotgun for the SXSW fake trailer contest. Eisner’s trailer won and ultimately wound up going into production as a feature film.
Jason Eisner proves to have a wry and pitch black sense of humor. His film’s premise is intentionally ridiculous. The characters are all over the top and caricature-like. In that sense, he recaptures nostalgia for and gently pokes fun at the exploitation era.
His screenplay is full of great lines, rife with priceless dialogue. I was impressed that the actors were able to recite their lines with a straight face. For example: “This c**ksucker gave me the s**tiest Christmas presents.” and “I’m the one with the money and you’re the one selling your hole.” There are plenty of other instances of creative discourse throughout the film and all are exceptionally quotable, although, maybe just a tad vulgar.
The aesthetic of Hobo with a Shotgun is a tribute to the exploitation films of yesteryear. The film’s score and credit sequences are great examples of that. They are a perfect choice to support the neo-grindhouse aesthetic of the picture.
The violence takes excess to a new level. In one particularly memorable scene, a character does an exotic dance in the bloodstream coming out of another character’s neck. The gore effects are done practically, which is a nice throwback to the grindhouse pictures of the ‘70s and ‘80s. Had the flick relied on CGI to create its innumerable death scenes, it would have ruined the painstakingly authentic aesthetic of the movie.
This is a film that isn’t afraid to take risks. The dialogue, extreme violence, and ample nudity that went in to making this picture would never fly in a studio production. The creative team behind this film took a lot of chances in the hopes that it would resonate with audiences and those risks paid off. The film has amassed a major cult following since its DVD release and has received critical acclaim from mainstream critics and genre film publications alike.
Hobo with a Shotgun has all the ingredients for a successful grindhouse film: Rutger Hauer, copious amounts of violence, a hooker with a heart of gold, and gratuitous nudity. These components work together in near perfect harmony. This film is really something special.
My only criticism is that the flick relies a little too heavily on comedy at times. The off color jokes are the heart of the film but they can wear a tad thin at times.
Magnet Releasing put out Hobo with a Shotgun. Their involvement furthers my assertion that Magnet has the golden touch. They were involved with Tucker & Dale vs. Evil, The Signal, Timecrimes, and many other great genre film titles. If you haven’t had the chance to check out Hobo with a Shotgun, you should do so. It is raucous, way over the top, gratuitously violent, and totally awesome. It is available on DVD and Blu-ray from Magnet.
Director(s): Jason Eisner
Writer(s): John Davies
Stars: Rutger Hauer, Molly Dunsworth
Studio/ Production Co: Magnet Releasing
Budget: $3 Million
Length: 86 Minutes