Dir: Kimble Rendall. Australia. 1999. 78 mins.Prod cos: Mushroom Pictures, Beyond Films, MBP (Germany). Int’l sales: Beyond Films (612) 9281 1266. Prods: Martin Fabinyi, Bill Bennett, Jennifer Bennett. Scr: Dave Warner. DoP: David Foreman. Prod des: Steven Jones-Evans. Ed: Harry Dangar. Music: Guy Gross. Main cast: Molly Ringwald, Jessica Napier, Kylie Minogue.

Blatantly packaged for a thrill-hungry youth audience, Cut follows a doomed crew of student filmmakers as they attempt to complete a famously unfinished horror movie. Awash with blood and hacked body parts, Cut throbs with the shrieks of the slashed and a pounding back catalogue of rock tracks from sister company Mushroom Records. As is fitting for an MTV-generation horror flick, Cut comes complete with a built-in punchy review: the visiting Hollywood star (Molly Ringwald) of the film describes what she’s making as a “B-grade piece of shit”.

Director Kimble Rendall’s award-winning experience in music videos is evident in his debut film, as is his knowledge of every cliche in the B and C-grade book. Every shower has a naked-through-the-frosted-glass damsel to be menaced, and every closed door is soon demolished by an “unspeakably evil” force.

There’s no doubting that the energy - non-stop, playful, self-mocking - will be much admired by so-scare-me Australian kids. When Mr. Unspeakably Evil really gets going with his wickedly versatile garden shears the decapitations, disembowellings and impalings develop a powerful rhythm of destruction. The key is: forget logic and psychology - enjoy the scary, silly, post-modern nightmare.

It is a funny, high-energy Australian genre picture with an international star and - particularly in the wake of the Scream franchise - considerable international youth appeal. Though local diva Kylie Minogue lasts only a few minutes before her tongue gets sliced clean out, the prognosis for Cut’s box office performance (released on March 2 in Australia) is much healthier.