There are many times that I purchase a DVD with high expectations and walk away a disappointed man. Many films don't deliver what's promised and turn out to be pale imitations of previous flicks. "Shocking" movies often turn out to be a walk in the park, a boring and tedious exercise in genre film-making. When Murder Set Pieces slid into my machine in the early hours of this morning, I knew nothing about the film. I was expecting, in all honesty, a low-budget, fake snuff movie with a poor, amateurish cast and dodgy camerawork that would pass 90 minutes. Sometimes, this is enough. I like my thrills cheap and nasty, on occasion. In a way, I was viewing the film to "tick a box", to add to my list of "viewed movies". I couldn't have been more wrong. Murder-Set-Pieces is a fantastic return to the nasty, blood filled "nasties" of my early teens. It's a moral void, a well crafted, beautifully shot, nightmare of a film. I loved it. This film surprised me on a number of levels. From the start, it's stylish. It's shot on 35mm rather than video. This film looks expensive (I think the budget was $2.2m). Think Argento meets Fulci and you have an idea as to how this film looks. Every shot looks great. Brendan Flynt, the cinematographer, makes the screen his glossy canvas for the blood splattered imagery that assaults the viewer. After the first minute, I knew this wasn't going to be a smooth ride. The film has a plot. It's loose, it doesn't stand up to a great deal of scrutiny, but it has a story. I actually felt empathy with the female lead. I cared about the character. Nick Palumbo directs in a very competent manner. I was reminded of Maniac and New York Ripper when I watched this. It should appeal to the same audience. Murder-Set-Pieces ' effects, from the Toetag guys, are breathtaking. There's one scene with everybody's favourite power tool that is, in my humble opinion, the best chainsaw scene we've seen on screen. The acting's not half bad. The acting didn't bring me out of the movie. I found it convincing. And the actresses playing hookers and unfortunate models are simply gorgeous. I wasn't expecting such eye candy in a movie of this kind. A genuine surprise. There are elements of this film that some will object to. I'm on the fence. Yes, there is the use of very young actors in this film. However, I'm sure that all the necessary precautions were taken to protect the young cast. If a horror movie's purpose is to shock and repel, to push boundaries, this film succeeds because it journeys to a very dark place. The world in Murder-Set-Pieces isn't a pleasant one. Genre fans will recognise Tony Todd (the Candyman) and Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface) during the proceedings. The scene with Tony Todd in the adult bookstore's a corker. A real, left-of-field treat. This DVD won't be around for long. I believe there's problems with the financiers over this uncut version. The money men will probably insist that the film is re-cut for the mainstream audience. When the DVD sells out, it's OOP. I doubt there'll ever be a second pressing of this S.E. Director's Cut. The DVD looks gobsmacking. There's a smorgasbord of extras. For slasher fans who don't mind their thrills a little taboo-busting, this is one release that deserves adding to the collection. The last time I recommended a film for DVD of the year, it was Thriller: A Cruel Picture. I'll probably receive a verbal roasting for recommending this release over more mainstream films but, for me, it's those little gems that make the difference. This is a guilty pleasure, a film that makes you sit with the remote control in case somebody walks into the room while you're watching it. You don't want to try explaining this film to a non-horror fan. Trust me, they won't get it. I wait with bated breath for Nick Palumbo's next movie. This guy has talent in abundance and a willingness to go where so few film-makers wish to tread.