When it pokes fun at itself – and the low-fi “mumblecore” movement from which it sprang – Baghead can be a minor lark. However, when this latest from Jay and Mark Duplass (The Puffy Chair) attempts to both scare and, to a lesser extent, deconstruct its own horror movie devices, it deflates rapidly. With considerable compassion, the directors focus on four struggling actors desperate to make it big but either untalented or unmotivated enough to actually accomplish their dreams. After attending a well-received screening of some indie hack’s black-and-white film (the filmmakers’ amusing jab at themselves and their mumbly brethren), the foursome retire to a forest cabin for the weekend with plans to write a movie in which they’ll star. Rather than professional productivity, though, the excursion results in romantic tension, as the getaway exposes each individual’s pent-up longing, desires and jealousies. As with The Puffy Chair, the Duplass Brothers, in terms of depicting the knotty emotions that spring from amorous entanglements, get some decent mileage from their Cassavetes-lite, semi-improvisatory filmmaking approach, capturing authenticity in their cast’s fumbling gestures, half-spoken lines, and stumbling advances. And their genuine interest in these screwy people is mildly contagious. However, while our concern for these struggling thespians should, in theory, heighten the subsequent tension once the group – having reluctantly decided to make a thriller about a guy with a bag on his head – finds itself actually stalked by a baghead, the directors botch most every attempt at terror. This is somewhat intentional, as the film often seems to be as much about cinema’s inherent manipulations as it is about straightforward genre chills. But a lackadaisical focus eventually proves debilitating, with the end result of its myriad intentions – character study, relationship drama, scary movie, meta-scary movie – being that Baghead spreads itself thin to the point of flimsiness.