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Red State (2011)
Not very good but at least it wasn't as bad as it could have been
I just got done watching Red State via On Demand for $9.99. I just heard about this movie today and it did sound very interesting, enough so that I did spend 10 bucks on a HD PPV to see it. Right off the bat, I gotta say that it really wasn't what I was expecting and it could have been so much more. Instead it felt very flat. I was also expecting much more from something written by Kevin Smith. For a Hollywood production that cost around 4 million dollars, I have to ask where the money went. I know by Hollywood standards 4 million is pocket change but I've seen plenty of amazing indie horror movies over the years that were made on hardly anything and managed to not only tread new ground in the horror genre but surpass anything on the big screen.
My issue is that as a life long horror fan, this wasn't much of a horror movie, let alone a very good one. It suffers a lot of genre problems, the most common would be not writing decent characters, the entire point of making a good horror movie is to have at least one character for the viewer to like because if you don't care about anyone in the movie then all you're doing is spending 90 minutes just waiting for random people to get killed off. This movie really didn't bother much with characters. It starts with three guys obviously in their early 20's playing teenagers who's entire motivation is having sex with a loose woman. As you'd expect from this kind of movie, it's all a trap set up by the villains of the movie. The villains are religious cult very much based around Fred Phelps and his church of hate, only these people are gun nuts who hoard military grade firearms and take it upon themselves to execute people who they feel God hates. There is one person in the compound that isn't evil but everyone else is evil. The direction of the movie shifts into the local police for a little bit and then the ATF is on the case and they become the focus of the movie. It becomes what you'd expect, they try and do the whole Waco Texas event with the cult standoff. There's a moral gray area in this portion of the movie and it's about the ATF guys being ordered to go in and kill everyone, well they know there are hostages as well as children of the cult inside. The moral gray area just doesn't really hold up as well, again no good characters and no real reason to care if the entire cult gets slaughtered or not.
That's a summary of the whole plot right there without spoiling anything major. There are a lot of things to take issue with in the writing, especially considering how it's Kevin Smith, this guy is normally good at writing entertaining characters. As far as being a horror movie goes, it's barely passable, it's more of a thriller type movie but with weak tension and not enough real drama. The violence was very tame, it's all gunshots and most of them aren't actually shown. That is all you ever see, just a few squibs and one somewhat gruesome gunshot wound. What I was expecting was something closer to the 1965 cult classic Two Thousand Maniacs where these people were totally nuts but they took the killings and made them into their entertainment, really having fun with it. Here it's just wrap them in plastic and shoot them in the head ritualistically. With the ATF element, I think they were going more for the George Romero film The Crazies but it just wasn't working, plus with The Craziest it was more about fearing the trigger men of the government and here it's cold g-men with guns vs a cult with no redeeming qualities. Another better direction this could have taken would be something more humor driven like Machete which actually told a much stronger political message than Red State did. Speaking of the obvious political aspect to the movie, it really doesn't show until very late into the movie and it doesn't even attempt to be subtle, it's just right out in the open. A very flat message that doesn't really mean much in 2011, why not say this when George W. Bush was president? Another point I want to make is that it really could have been much worse. I mean at least they didn't totally beat you over the head with the political message, well they did that but it was just one scene. But I have to say I was relived that it wasn't another one of these torture movies like the first two Saw movies, Hostel, Grotesque, and Martyrs where it's nothing but horribly written one dimensional "characters" getting tortured off camera for the entire movie. That's a trend I was sick of from day one, I mean if a movie made to shock people isn't as gory as 1963's Blood Feast (the original gore movie) then I think they aren't even trying. So maybe the whole gunshot thing isn't so lame because they could have easily went for lots of torture scenes that are 95% off camera. In the end it was a well made Hollywood production that does look good and sound good in HD. It didn't really work as a horror movie, it lacked the emotional spark to be a drama, and it lacked the tension to be a thriller. It's just a well made but very bland movie overall. I'm not saying avoid it at all costs but don't go in expecting too much.
This was supposed to be gory and shocking?
I just got done watching the uncut version of the movie. I went in knowing almost nothing about the movie and I kind of wish I still knew nothing about this movie. There is story or a plot of any kind but I marked this for spoilers because if you want to go in and be surprised then you'd lose some surprise and I will talk about the moronic excuse for an ending as well. To get started the movie the killer in his van with a hammer which he uses to knock out a couple. Then the couple is all tied up and the killer stabs the man off screen a few times and it shows a flashback of the man asking the woman out and then they get kidnapped not long after. That's all the back story we ever get.
The setting is your usual dark and dingy room with lots of surgical implements everywhere. The killer goes around torturing them off screen more and then he starts to cut the woman's underwear off where he starts licking her body and fingering her under her skirt in real time, probably to pad out the movie since it's only an hour and 13 minutes including the credits. After that we go back to the torture. Every so often the killer will patch them up so he can torture them more later. There's scene where he uses a chainsaw to cut their fingers off which also sucked because you really don't see much. All you see is a prop hand getting cut for like 2 seconds at a time and back to off screen. You do see him pick up the bloody fingers but it still isn't shocking, Beavis & Butt-Head and The Simpsons have had more gruesome finger removals.
I am leaving stuff out here and there but despite that I just saw the movie, there wasn't much to remember. It's just two people being tortured a lot and it happening off screen where you just see the body part bleeding. To add to the stupidity there is a part where he has them in some other medical looking area and they're all bandaged up. Before there was a scene where the guy gets an eye poked out, that was cool in Fucli's Zombie or Evil Dead Trap where you see the eye and it doesn't cut away until the eye is penetrated and bursts, here they cut away and when it's back to the eye it's an extreme close up of a fake looking eye. So pretty much everyone's been cut up badly like the guy lost his junk, in another very dull scene which had me yawning so here you see what his crotch looks like now, it's pretty much like Let The Right One In. I keep jumping back to previous stuff but OK so in this scene it's just the killer trying to play doctor only nobody making this movie knows anything medical. You know like after removing a hand or something you would need a tourniquet and after all the bleeding these people have done, they would need a blood transfusion to even survive the night. But not in this movie.
You do see some more talking but it doesn't make sense. So here they are all bandaged up and they seem way too calm. This killer guy isn't giving them anything for the pain or anything but here they are even cracking jokes and smiling while the killer is away. Yeah they're still chained up but they can find the humor in it, instead of screaming nonstop because this guy is trying to kill them. When he comes back, they're still submissive and they actually believe him when he says he'll let them leave. Next scene, guess what? They're tied up again and they're shocked the guy who tortured them lied. So now his big plan is he wants to cut this guy's rectum out and like any idiot in these movies he makes a game of it, he drops his scissors a few feet away and if the guy can get that far and cut the girl loose she can go free. They drag this out as long as possible, in the end it's a trick, the rope had a cable in it that couldn't be cut. So the girl starts smack talking the guy which comes out of nowhere. She's trying to get in his head by saying his mother is a prostitute and he stinks. I am not making that up. So naturally he gets mad so he chainsaws her stomach, then grabs an axe and here's where it gets totally stupid. He cuts her head off, her head flies at least 5 feet in the air with an over the top blood fountain, her severed head is self aware enough to find a direction and bite down on the guy's neck very hard. Then he pulls her off only to bleed badly while the dead guy (I guess in rigor mortise) stabs him in the shin with the scissors. You at least see that happen on screen but it didn't fit any of the tone this movie had until that point and it just felt incredibly insulting. They could have cut the movie ending out and shown 5 minutes of the lemon party image and it would feel less insulting.
How can you screw up this badly? I always say, if you're making a shocking gore movie and it isn't close to 1963's original splatter film, Blood Feast then you shouldn't even bother. If you can't match a very cheesy movie with laughably bad effects which did start the sub genre, then you probably have no business making movies.
No plot, no character, no gore, no point, not one redeeming quality
I decided to give in and watch The Human Centipede bluray this morning. I've been watching plenty of bad movies for fun lately, the last ones I've seen were The Worst Horror Movie Ever Made, Troll 2, and The Room. All very fun and entertaining bad movies but The Human Centipede was the opposite of fun and entertaining.
I went in with no expectations and ended up just screaming at my TV for an hour and a half. I haven't seen so much stupidity in a horror movie since Hostel, Rob Zombie's Halloween, Martyrs, Gutterballs, and Return To Sleepaway Camp. It's rare for me to hate a movie only minutes into it but this gave me no choice. It starts with an old German man who looks like Butt-Head with a little Beavis bone structure, he's sitting in his car early in the morning and looking at pictures of what appears to be dogs sniffing each other butts. Then a truck stops behind his parked car, the truck driver walks to a chain link fence (in a very public area with several dozen cars passing by the second) so he can go number 2. The German man takes a rifle out of his car, tries to conceal it under his coat, and nonchalantly walks behind the truck driver, shoots him, and we see the opening title. I'm not sure how there were no witness or anyone who heard the shot.
The main plot is about two obnoxious American girls on vacation in Germany who want to attend a party. They leave their room and drive through the woods in the middle of nowhere when they suddenly get a flat tire. They have no idea how to change a tire so they start bickering and crying for minutes while an old pervert who speaks no English pulls up to harass them. Eventually they wander through the woods while screaming at each other and saying their names in every sentence, because I guess that's how people talk. They do find a house so they knock and Butt-Head answers the door and invites them in. He then gives them drugged water, freaks out when one girl spills her glass, demands she drinks more water, and eventually he gets suspicious enough for the girls to worry but by then they're already drugged. They wake up in restraints only to find out that the doctor is going to kill the trucker because he isn't a tissue match. He leaves and comes back with a Japanese guy, that is the very depth of this character. The only thing he ever does in the entire movie is screams in Japanese at the top of his lungs. When he has the three people he needs, he shows a slide show of his evil mad scientist plan to create The Human Centipede. A medical experiment that makes absolutely no sense and has no practical application.
For a while not much is really going on aside from Dr. Butt-Head ranting and acting like an idiot and the three victims crying like babies that need a diaper change. On the day of surgery one girl tries to escape and it's one of the most pathetic escapes I have ever seen, it's logic hurdle over logic hurdle like refusing to leave through the front door and steal the doctor's car, eventually the doctor catches the girl and makes her the middle of he centipede. The surgery scene is incredibly boring. You see some teeth pulled off screen and there's a circular incision that is barely shown, that is as gory as this movie ever gets. 1963's Blood Feast had a ton of gore and while looking laughably bad almost 50 years later, it is much more gruesome than The Human Centipede. 46 minutes into the movie you see the actual Human Centipede, which is three people with stitch effects on their faces and tons of bandages. The doctor parades them around the house, tries to teach them tricks, makes the front guy eat out of a dog dish, screams at them a lot, and the three of them do the usual routine of crying and the Japanese guy screaming in Japanese.
There isn't any more plot I can reveal without spoiling the movie but it only gets stupider. By the end it just creates a void where any sense of logic or humanity should be. The movie is just very boring, nothing much happens, there is just barely enough violence for an R rating, little nudity, no real plot, no characters or development, and just a very dull movie. I think what could have saved this movie is just taking the idea and making it into more of a comedy like replace the German doctor with Tommy Wiseau or The Iron Sheik and replace one of the girls with someone like Paris Hilton. Just outright spoof your own movie and it could have some watchable content. There is just nothing in this movie that I can possibly recommend. It isn't the worst movie, Manos: The Hands Of Fate and Birdemic: Shock and Terror were much worse and a lot more boring. The Human Centipede just goes nowhere and doesn't even make any attempt at being an interesting or original movie.
August Underground (2001)
The most important horror movie of the 2000's
August Underground in a lot of ways feels like an experiment. The idea is to create a "found footage" serial killer movie that really delivers the serial killer experience. In other words it isn't a slasher movie, it isn't like a lot of phony serial killer movies, and it isn't much like a traditional movie. It's all filmed on a handcam and it has the look of a home movie where you see footage that's been filmed over other stuff and lots of cuts with the camera recording much later on. For all of the chaos, it really does tell a very subtle story and there is a lot more thought to it than just a bunch of random murders. I'll admit that when I first saw the movie, I hated it. Something made me want to see it again and again anyway, eventually I started to understand it and the best way to watch it is with director's commentary because it really explains everything in great detail. The movie is shot to look like real footage of a serial killer and his friend with the camera so obviously they can't break character or talk straight into the camera over what they're going to do. It's not easy to follow the first time but it does have a plot.
It all starts off where the guy with the camera walks into the basement. The camera has a really awful picture which was intentional, the very raw look of the footage really adds to the realism and gritty nature of it. In the basement there is porn pasted all over the walls, filth everywhere, and a woman tied up, bleeding, and mutilated. She is alive and the killer (played by the director, Fred Vogel) and the cameraman are humiliating her in various ways. Those first 5 or so minutes really hit hard and are just a taste of things to come. Everything that is filmed has a point and there is continuity to that. A prime example is there's a scene where the killer murders an old woman in her home, it wasn't just for the sake of it but she was easy prey and they needed her car so they could blend in better in that town with local plates. Director's commentary really makes much more sense of the movie. That's pretty much how watching the movie is, you're just seeing a mix of home movies and murder on this video. These guys aren't Freddy or Jason, they don't kill 24/7 and they sure aren't the antisocial quiet types. The two guys are great friends, they like to party, go to concerts, drink, hang out with friends, and do lots of very normal things. Serial killers in real life are like that, Ted Bundy was quite the charmer and Albert Fish could persuade people to leave their kids with him.
As for the violence, it's not the goriest movie ever made by a long shot. The sequels were far more gruesome while the original feels a bit more reserved and some of the scenes they wanted were too difficult to film which actually kind of worked in their favor. The camera only comes on when these guys are in control so you never see anyone abducted, the killers chasing people, stalking, or taking any risk where having the camera on would be a hindrance unless they have a plan. When they do kidnap someone, they start recording when the person is tied up, bloody, and broken. There isn't a lot of on screen torture or mutilation but the special effects on the bodies of their victims are incredibly realistic looking and it's very sickening to see. It's hard to compare it to anything more well known because nothing else really has this style of violence. For example Hostel had almost all off screen violence but the effects you did see look incredibly fake. August Underground did plenty of make up effects before shooting the scene but the effects look like they could be real cuts, bruises, and dismemberments.
Overall it's not something for everyone. Realistically, a good 85% of the people who watch this movie will hate it outright. If you're expecting nothing but the craziest gore ever then you'd probably be better off watching something like Faces Of Death. August Underground is more of an art film without trying to be an art film. It's not really a total horror film nor does it feel like any movie you've seen, that's something that is a very acquired taste. It's really made for a very specific group of hardcore horror fans. Another thing is how much August Underground has been taken by mainstream film. If wasn't for AU then there wouldn't be this Hollywood fad of "torture porn" like Saw, Hostel, The Collector, and other torture heavy horror movies which despite their very high production values lack the realism of AU and the ability to go as far. Even major movies like The Dark Knight borrowed from AU, the scene where The Joker uses that handcam to murder the cop was heavily inspired it. It's a very love or hate movie with little to no middle ground. Another thing is that it wasn't made for shock value but it was made to give people something to think about. Even if you thought it was the worst movie you've ever seen, it will stick with you and make you think.
Toe Tag really is the future of horror and this beats another Hollywood remake
I'm a life long horror fan and I've seen thousands and thousands of horror movies from all over the world and movies that range from 1080p to shot on a cheap VHS camcorder in the 80's. Nowadays I feel almost dead inside because of crappy the horror genre has gotten and Hollywood really has ran out of ideas. The biggest mainstream horror movies are mostly stealing ideas from the underground, indie, other countries, or outright remaking movies. Toe Tag on the other hand makes horror movies for hardcore horror fans but seem to put people off who go in expecting just a gore movie. Maskhead really is the easiest Toe Tag movie to watch and it does feel like a nice merge of the underground and the mainstream.
As you've noticed on the main page, Maskhead is a collaboration between Fred Vogel (Toe Tag Pictures) and Scott Swan (best known for John Carpenter's Cigarette Burns.) Two young and creative minds getting together and really doing something unique. It's not another fake snuff film and it really isn't a masked killer or slasher film. The plot is about a modeling agency scouting for talent to make some soft core fetish videos. The movie is shot on two cameras, one is digital video hand camera which is mostly used during interviews and the other is a traditional steady camera. They film the movie almost like what you're watching is a mix of the footage the characters are filming but also it's like a movie where you see these characters off the set. The footage is mixed around so you'll see things out of chronology but it all makes more sense later on. The people that run the modeling agency are two lesbians and when they interview people (mostly porn stars and wannabe stars) they do throw in some really provocative questions to see how they react on the fly. Another major character is Cowboy who in opinion was one of the best movie characters of 2009 and this guy was just overflowing with charisma. He talks a lot and has all kinds of wild stories to tell. You just can't get bored with Cowboy because he really is a charmer. Then there's Maskhead, nobody really talks about him and he doesn't talk much but he appears very disfigured, he wears a horrific mask (which is probably just to scare the hell out of people) and he brings a snuff element to the fetish videos.
That's the main idea of the plot and characters without spoiling anything. The audition scenes were mostly shot unscripted and those provocative questions did throw some actors off guard. The people being auditioned and interviewed are interesting to hear from and why they want to get into porn. As you would expect the men are all very over confident. The next portion of their screen time is staring in the fetish video. One of the best scenes is the clown girl which actually has quite a cult following. She does things like a balloon fetish and other things until the she sees something she can not unsee, at which point Maskhead grabs her and kills her. Each porn star is in a scenario like that and often times it builds to something very awful happening to them before Maskhead steps in from the shadows. It's talked about that Maskhead is the real star of these videos. The murders are pretty brutal but it's not too hard to watch, I mean it's tame compared to the August Underground series which I think is nice because it's gruesome but it isn't too off putting. I'd say it would probably be a bit much for a casual horror fan like someone who loves the Saw series but if you've seen lots of ultra gory movies then Maskhead is a bit light, which isn't a bad thing by any means. Maskhead is more about the characters and it's way of telling the story than it is about hardcore violence. Also for a movie with porn as subject mater, there really isn't much in the way of sexual content or nudity, but then it is supposed to be a soft core fetish video. I really think Maskhead was the #1 horror movie of 2009. I'd recommend it to fans of gruesome underground horror as well as people who like horror but aren't looking for something that goes to the point of mental scaring or making you sick. If this is your first Toe Tag movie then I'd say this would be the best choice followed by The Redsin Tower and Sella Turcica, they really have came a long way from the studio making serial killer snuff movies.
I didn't love or hate it but I really didn't get it
First off I gotta say it's been a few months since I've seen Antichrist and I don't remember every last detail of the movie so this isn't going to be the greatest review in the world. I've heard the movie thrown around here and there and some people called it the best horror movie of 2009, in that regard I disagree big time because nothing came close to Maskhead. I first tried to watch it on IFC but the picture quality wasn't that great and the sound was so low that I had to turn my TV volume to 100 to hear most of it over my air conditioner. After that I ended up renting the uncut Bluray, I'd only saw 20 something minutes on cable but the uncut really did have stuff you didn't see on premium cable channels.
The plot is simple enough. It starts with a married couple having sex, very graphic sex to the point where it's pornographic. They even have a stunt penis penetrate the wife's body double in a close up. Was that really necessary? I mean even movies like A Serbian Film used a rubber phallus in place of the real thing, not a very tasteful movie but at least they had some limits. Don't get me wrong, I'm not afraid of sex or porn but there is a time and place for everything. While the sex scene is going on, they cut to the other room where their son escapes from his crib, climbs up to the window (which for reasons never explained was left wide open) and the kid tries to fly. During the orgasms they cut to the kid falling to his death.
What this leads to is how the couple deals with their grief. The husband is a therapist so he tries to treat his wife like a patient more than his wife. The wife seems much more affected by it and blames herself for the death of their son. The home therapy sessions take up the majority of the movie and as it goes on the wife tries to have sex with her husband during the sessions and tries to use sex to punish herself. Eventually they go to a cabin in the woods to help with the grieving process and that's where the weird stuff really starts to happen. There is a lot of weird stuff that doesn't make any sense like the husband finds a dying animal and the animal starts talking. This isn't The Lion King but I guess that's part of the pretentious symbolism the movie gets praised for. There are other scenes with talking animals that are more WTF moments than anything else.
The main thing is that the wife goes crazy and starts to torture her husband in really strange ways that don't make a lot of sense. In once scene she starts rubbing her husband's penis (again with the stunt penis) then she grabs a log of wood and smacks him right down on his penis. She starts to stroke him more until blood starts shooting out, kind of like a certain Cannibal Corpse song. He did pass out as soon as the log hit him but when he wakes up, his wife is still trying to torture him. She ends up getting the idea to cripple him by impaling his leg and sticking a weight into it, which is another scene where it doesn't make much sense in how you wouldn't get through the bones that easy and how would anyone think to try that? It leads to the husband trying to hide while the wife is hunting him down. In the end she goes from rage back to self loathing. She starts masturbating and then they close up to a body double's vagina and she takes a pair of scissors cuts a piece of herself out. Then you see the talking animals wander off and it's over.
What the hell did I just see? It's as weird as movies like El Topo, Gozu, Visitor Q, and other movies that are either extremely heavy on symbolism or just made to be weird and confusing. It's a not an easy movie to review because like I said, I don't have a problem with porno but I don't need to see that or pornographic violence in an art house movie and as for the violence, I also have no problem with gore, some of my favorite movies are stuff like August Underground. It just felt out of place, especially with Willem Dafoe and a stunt penis. Two things I never thought I'd say in the same sentence. What was good was that they did film it in a really beautiful and artistic way. The sound and music was very well done. The gore effects were pretty solid, not Toe Tag Picture realistic but sufficient. It was actually shocking, especially in an age where most people think Saw and Hostel are gore movies, which is a sad statement. Also the movie is spent with just two characters which isn't easy to make that work without being really boring. I like how it was made and the acting is good but in terms of story telling and the lengths they go to for shock, it's hard to say it was good or bad. In a lot of ways it felt like a cheap shock movie trying way too hard to be artsy, especially the type of movie that gets people on the internet to obsesses over what it all means and accuse anyone who doesn't like it of being a moron. Personally I'd say there are better artsy movies and if you just want shock and gore then watch something like Murder Collection. I can't really recommend or condemn Antichrist.
Birdemic: Shock and Terror (2010)
The worst movie of the decade and probably the most preachy
I just got done watching Birdemic for the first time, I knew it was made on 10,000 dollars and it is regarded as one of the worst movies of all time. This same day I also watched The Happening and The Crawling Eye (MST3K version) so maybe I was feeling masochistic. This movie was all around bad in every aspect. It looks like it was shot on a fairly cheap digital video camera and it's obvious that the sound was recorded from the microphone built into the camera instead of a boom mic. I know that because the sound is very awful, the actors have to be pretty close to the camera to be heard right, and there's way too much loud background noise which in post production they played a lot of public domain elevator music to drown out the background noise. The worst audio issue was when they film on the beach because the sounds of the beach are 5 times louder than the actors voices.
The movie itself is very slow paced, the first half of the movie is just the main guy meeting his dream girl and building their relationship. The problem is that nobody in this movie can act and the writing was pitiful so what we get are very bland characters, not even vanilla more like tofu bland. We get no reason to care about these people in any way and to make them less likable the main guy has to talk about solar panels, hybrid cars, global warming, and even the war in Iraq as much as he can. The script is almost a love letter to Al Gore. This feels like an eternity where it goes from his boring job that he is way too enthusiastic about, his obsession with a greener world, and his dates.
The second half of the movie is when the birds finally go on a rampage. Lots of 2D computer generated birds that fly around in circles and attack their prey by hovering in place while moving their wings up and down and making the same noise looped over and over the whole movie. Somehow these berserk eagles can set house on fire as well as kill people in one swoop. The couple ends up meeting another couple who lets them ride in their van, this van has everything from handguns and two AK-47 assault riffles with unlimited ammo (I'm guessing the van has Game Genie,) as well as medical supplies, and anything the plot requires. Most of the movie has these people gunning down birds and searching for survivors. The survivors they meet all have long boring monologues about how it isn't the eagles we should be afraid of, it's global warming and mankind's use of fossil fuels that is responsible for this disaster.
As far as the action goes, it's about as lame as the trailer makes it look. When someone dies it's just a bird hovering in front of the person and they fall down with blood make up on them. There's also some really pointless scenes there just to raise the body count like a man who pulls a gun on them (even though they still have an assault riffle that they seem to forget about for the rest of the movie)who wants their gas, which they say cost them 100 dollars a gallon. There's a whole lot of nothing interesting going on. At least companies like Troma can take a 10 cent movie and throw in lots of nudity, over the top gore, and comedy. The people behind Birdemic have the worst CGI effects since the old Star Trek movies and long speeches about the environment. If you watch it, bring some friends and laugh at it because it works in that regard. Other than that it's Duck Hunt: The Movie.
Srpski film (2010)
It's not the sickest movie ever made but it does leave a lasting impact
I've been hearing plenty about this movie, from good to bad. When I first saw the trailer, it looked like nothing short of raw exploitation and shock and I was seriously angry. Reading more from different forums where people are praising this Human Centipede crap and saying this will out shock them all, I was even more against this movie. I couldn't help but to still be curious, even after hearing people either talk about the ultra sick content to it being some kind of artistic movie that is relevant to modern day Serbia. I had my chance to watch it and it was so much better than anything I could have expected.
The review that really got me interested was on IMDb, it's called "A story of smut, shock, gore, rape, murder and psychological terror!." This guy had the right idea and spoke my language in terms of being a guy who has seen the sickest of the sickest. A hard part about reviewing A Serbian Film is talking about the plot without really giving it away. It's very well thought out and as strange as some of the characters are, they're really flawed and human. It's not the usual crap you see from guys like Eli Roth or Rob Zombie where caricatures are their idea of a fully developed human being. Simply put, we all know the basic set up, a semi-retired porn star gets an offer he can't refuse so he takes it so he can support his wife and son. Things get weirder and weirder by the day until he can't take it and quits. Well they drug him and he wakes up 3 1/2 days later trying to piece his memories together and figure out what happened.
This is all built up around the first half of the movie and in the 2nd half is more about the search for what happened which is not pleasant. Everything from being drugged up to the point of a raged animal and unleashed on strangers to more situations where they keep pushing him closer to the edge. The beauty of it is that you have this movie shot in HD and the flashbacks have this very fast paced style, it's almost like Crank or Oldboy. In terms of content, if you've seen the August Underground movies then you aren't going to be very shocked, I mean yeah it is horrific at some points but the violence is much more mild but the rapes in Serbian Film are much more graphic looking. It's not like Antichrist where they bring in nude body doubles, thankfully they just use rubber man parts in the scenes that would show a penis. It looks a bit fake but I think using a fake one is more tasteful. Let's say if the 3 August Underground movies are the ghost chili of horror, A Serbian Film is closer to wasabi. Not that there isn't more they could have done, it's all a matter of context. AU had it's subtle plot about these serial killers filming their lives and Serbian was more a character study.
My bottom line is don't watch this if all you want is the sickest and most brutal movie possible, that's the same reason 80% of the people who watch pirated versions of August Underground's Mordum hated the movie. Also don't watch it to expect some kind of world changing allegory because you aren't getting one, I mean yeah you see what a dump Serbia is from the war but violent porn doesn't carry that message, it just shocks you in ways most movies wouldn't dare to. If you want to enjoy A Serbian Film, watch it with an open mind and I'd say think of it more as a mystery story than you would as another "shock movie" of the overused and never relevant term "torture porn." It is sick, it isn't pleasant, but they tell a compelling story and they don't hold back on the raw nature of it.
August Underground's Mordum (2003)
An amazing and unique horror movie but you'll love it or hate it
When I first saw all 3 August Underground movies, I really didn't like the series. I think this is the one that stood out to me the most but the thing that turned me off was the parts where no one is getting killed. It took me until about the 3rd time when I really understood what the reasoning of this movie is and why there is more going on than just senseless violence. A big help was reading interviews with Fred Vogel and reading professional horror reviews which really helped me appreciate this movie.
It really is something that most people will despise and a select group is going love but there isn't any real middle ground. The style is something different since it's pretty much about 3 serial killers with a camcorder and they film their atrocious crimes and they also film themselves hanging out and showing what they do in their spare time. It's more about saying that these are somewhat regular people who like to party, smoke a little dope, go to concerts, and have fun but then you also see not only their darker side but you also see these people at their most vulnerable too.
A big part of the footage is seeing the relationship of these three killers and how the two guys are trying to win over the attention of the one woman in the group. The killers are also very interesting to watch as well and they all have their own different personalities as well as different things they like to do when killing. What works is that they show you all kinds of sick and disturbing stuff and they also show you how these people are in their every day lives and it feels very real and natural as opposed to most horror movies with a masked man who kills 24/7 and doesn't do anything resembling what a human being would do.
As far as the way it looks goes, it's not pretty. The quality is just a decent camcorder and it does get pretty shaky but it's only to add to the concept of making it look like real footage. The gore is just top notch and really some of the best I've ever seen, really in league with movies like Cannibal Holocaust. In the end it does feel very genuine and gritty. Nothing fancy, nothing pretty, but it sure does look like the real thing.
It's only a matter of if you'll love it or hate it. If you buy this movie only to see a lot of really gory stuff then you'll be satisfied with the gore but bored with the character development and the unorthodox way of telling this story without really telling a story. This isn't the type of movie to dumb things down and explain anything so it might take a few viewings to get it. But I'd say 80% of the people who see it won't like it but if you have a very open mind and a strong stomach then this really is a very unique movie to watch.
What a waste of time. Massive plot holes, bad acting, and hardly any action
OK so I finally saw War last night and I had high hopes for it. I mean you have to great action stars facing off so how can that go wrong? How about for starters there is hardly any action in the whole movie. What little action you do get is very bland. Another thing is how misused Jet Li is, he only has one fight in the whole movie! It's just a few lame shoot outs and that's about all you get.
The acting is also very bad. Jet Li only knows a little English and he pretty much reads his lines like a zombie. The other actors show very little emotion. Mostly they just use the movies massive budget to show off fancy camera tricks and special effects to overcompensate for the lack of a decent story, good acting, and action.
The story is very generic. The good guy's partner is killed by a Yakuza hit-man and he spends 3 years trying to find the hit-man and get his revenge. The hit-man is this super warrior who can not even get hit once and you always know he'll over come all odds no matter what. The good guy has very little in his way in terms of danger, pretty much no one gives him much trouble except for the bad guy who never tries anything dangerous until the end.
Then to top it all off this movie has one of the stupidest plot twists since The Wizard Of Gore. The partner never died, he saw his wife and kid shot and he managed to kill the hit-man. Then he torches his own house and goes to Mexico to get plastic surgery to look exactly like the man who killed his wife and kid! WTF? Oh and it goes on, so the hit-man apparently put pressure on the good guy by threatening to kill his family if he didn't give up his partner. So the good guy is a coward and the bad guy is really a wannabe of The Punisher who got plastic surgery to look like the guy who ruined his life and in a way is the real good guy of the story. Does that make any sense? Just see something decent like Shoot 'Em Up or maybe that new Resident Evil movie.