Montag the Magnificent (Glover) is a master illusionist who performs at underground venues, selecting female volunteers from his rave-like audiences. To their hysteria, it appears he's disme... Read allMontag the Magnificent (Glover) is a master illusionist who performs at underground venues, selecting female volunteers from his rave-like audiences. To their hysteria, it appears he's dismembered their bodies, but his sleight of hand has them fooled. However, female bodies show ... Read allMontag the Magnificent (Glover) is a master illusionist who performs at underground venues, selecting female volunteers from his rave-like audiences. To their hysteria, it appears he's dismembered their bodies, but his sleight of hand has them fooled. However, female bodies show up dead from the same wounds performed on stage. Investigators are baffled, and the chase ... Read all
He and his girlfriend played by the lovely Bijou Phillips go to some party. There he's given an ad for a magic show. Out of boredom they decide to go. The magic show features an introductory act by an unrecognizable Jeffrey Combs doing something repulsive. The main act is Montag who'll have a girl from the audience (a Suicide Girl) come on stage. There he kills them brutally and gorily while delivering some social criticism to the audience. Once the audience is utterly horrified and disgusted, lights go on and the girl is intact.
Ed, who is bored by society in general and his subculture of different people, is mesmerized by the show. He keeps going again and again, which gives us a chance to see Suicide Girls torn to pieces. But he also investigates what is going on. He notices that the girls and audience are hypnotized or under the influence. From Chong he finds out about a drug that can cause those effects, the same drug used to turn people into zombies in Haiti. He also notices that Montag makes sure to shake the hand of every audience member as they arrive to the show.
Ed becomes more and more obsessed with the magician and his act. Eventually he finds out through a friend that the stage girls do actually end up dying at some point in ways similar to Montag's act. But Ed is also getting ill, he sweats, his bones crack, he's constantly breathing into a paper bag to calm him, but his friends think there's something else in the bag.
From here the story is somewhat predictable, as Ed descends into madness and reality and fantasy are combined, or rather, try to separate from his mind. The story here though is rather convoluted, even though you know what's coming.
This movie failed to engage me. It has a couple of good things going for it: plenty of story, some good acting, good gore, some nudity, all of which should add up to a pretty decent horror flick. There's an interesting sense of time, or rather lack of it. It has a noir vibe while also being contemporary. Ed is an interesting character, at first. Well dressed, well-spoken, sophisticated. Brad Dourif as Chong is excellent as always.
And yet it doesn't work out. I don't like the look of the movie or the camera work. Everything looks dreamy, not sharp, everything is filmed at a distance and the camera often is not straight but at an angle. One can't identify or empathize with any character. It's very odd that Montag is not featured more prominently. This is a horror movie without a villain. And Montag while acted idiosyncratically, is not convincing. His monologues are delivered as speeches to himself not an audience. Ultimately the story is more convoluted than it needs to be, giving you nothing to look forward to. This is another instance of a horror movie degenerating into a weak psychothriller.
- Feb 4, 2009