"Rigor Mortis" is a very strange horror film. The director, Timo Rose, combines elements of ultra violence, gore, black comedy and human drama with a less than subtle dose of social commentary to come up with an odd, but always interesting, film.
The film's plot centres on two brothers, Ritchie and Norman. Wheelchair bound Norman is given a CD by a blood covered stranger and then becomes the target of a psychotic gangster, who subsequently kidnaps him and his female companion in order to retrieve the CD. This is when the blood starts to flow, with several gruesome and well staged torture scenes.
Despite the contrived and somewhat ridiculous nature of the film's plot, the script is surprisingly successful at fleshing out the central characters (no pun intended). The character of Ritchie is particularly well done and his relationship with Norman is genuinely affecting. The minor characters are less successfully realised and are really only there to kill or be killed.
The gore effects, supervised by the awesome Olaf Ittenbach, are fantastic. A scene in which a woman's face is slowly cut off is fantastically vile. Timo Rose displays a lot of originality by inter cutting this scene with footage of the same woman smiling and having her breasts painted. The result is pretty sick but also strangely artistic, reminiscent of the perverted genius of Joerg Buttgereit.
By the film's conclusion, I couldn't help thinking that Timo Rose had bitten off more than he could chew. The film tries to cover too much ground and leaves a lot of loose ends untied. The mixing of genres is not always successful and the psychos are embarrassing caricatures. Nevertheless, the film does have much to offer and showcases the director's vast potential.
Fans of Ittenbach, Schnaas and Buttgereit will enjoy Rigor Mortis. Just don't expect the usual splatter fest, Timo Rose has a lot on his agenda.
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