Victim (2010) Poster

(I) (2010)

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Scarecrow-8827 June 2015
Warning: Spoilers
To say this is unsettling would be an understatement. Seeing a "male chauvinist womanizer" emasculated and "womanized" against his will is quite a concept for a mad science horror film. The change for those who feel it is important in expressing who they really are is one thing: but to do so against someone who doesn't request it is whole other matter.

The abduction, imprisonment, removal of fingerprints and penis, eventual incorporation of breasts, "re-identification process", use of music and child's diary, and the torture applied by the doctor/surgeon and his brutish "associate" (who appears to be a dumb misfit with a tough exterior) all serve a purpose, believe it or not, and the reasoning behind it--while seemingly and patently bizarre to us--makes sense to the one conducting the entire orchestrated and elaborate transformation.

Stephen Weigand is the abducted, fortunate for the filmmakers to have features that could allow him to be feminine and masculine. Bob Bancroft is the warped and delirious doc, with affections and dedication to his murdered daughter that transcend normal behavior. Brendan Kelly is the muscle; it appears as if he might have been an experiment/subject in transitioned behavior as well. Stacy Haiduk (who looks fantastic) is stuck with the thankless "snooping detective" part that you realize early won't end well for her.

I don't think this will be offensive to a trans audience because the methods behind what the doctor does is rooted in what sordid acts were perpetrated by the abducted young man prior to his kidnapping and forced transition. This doesn't mock the trans community as much as use what happens to allow them to become what they believe they should be in the structure of a horror plot regarding misguided attempts to force upon one person the identity of another.

A father's pain is quite emphasized and it is the motivating factor behind what happens from beginning to end. Weigand is astonishing in how he is able to change as his character does. To see his identity raped, and another imprinted on him, being able to portray that, is quite impressive. The reenactment which explains everything, except this time the abuser is in place of the abused, is rather mortifying. That this whole scenario plays out just for the reenactment is a telling series of events. How the lead is unveiled as something monstrous alleviates any sympathy perhaps afforded to him during the running time. Quite a tragic and disturbing, not to mention, manipulative little movie. Heartbreaking finale. The open-ended conclusion leaves us with an ambiguous character with an identity that seems totally altered...but where will "she" go and do with the new life infused upon her?
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This is one little twisted horror film
barbie8006 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Wow. When I saw the previews for this on my cable companies on demand I just had to rent it. I love horror films and will watch just about anything. I must say this was a very good movie. There was very little gore in it which is why I also thought it was so good. Basically this mad surgeon captures this man and turns him into his dead daughter. We watch how he is tortured and transformed into a woman. Now, I kept wondering throughout the film as to why he just wouldn't have captured a woman to replace his daughter. This is is the twist of the film which is answered at the end. I thought overall this is one creepy movie that keeps you interested the entire time.
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Not quite what you might be expecting.
oldkingsol15 July 2011
I wasn't sure what this would be truly "about" going into it (though I had read the other reviews and so I knew some of it). My advice if you happen to see this review first is this: If you like tense, sadistic psychological puzzles in which you get to see someone so thoroughly played with that their sense of self is utterly obliterated and replaced and you are open to seeing normally taboo subjects displayed on screen, then you might be well advised to stop reading reviews here and now before any of them give too much of it away, and just go watch the thing. What there is to give away is revealed in the first 30-40 minutes or so, but it would be so much more effective if you weren't quite expecting it. :-)

That said, I really enjoyed this movie. There were a few scenes where the quality of the acting degraded a bit, but I could more than excuse them for the tension and intrigue the film manages to string you along with the whole time. The truth about what's going on and why it's going on becomes easy to figure out about 20 minutes or so from the end, and I'm not going to reveal a thing about it to you.

It is a bit slow-paced in some ways, not a lot of blood and gore, but certainly tense and filled with mind-games. Also a few nicely-laced red herrings here and there to make you think one thing when you find out another is true, and the ending manages to satisfy by not being quite what you'd want or expect it to be. :-)

I'll definitely be watching this one again at some point. Two thumbs up. :-)
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Sick And Twisted Revenge Story
sddavis634 September 2011
I find it very hard to rate this movie. It's in many ways a hard movie to watch. A man (Stephen Weigand) is kidnapped, imprisoned and subjected to a rather gruesome fate (which I'll not give away) at the hands of his kidnappers - a surgeon (Bob Bancroft) and the surgeon's sidekick (Brendan Kelly.) It's a sort of mad scientist movie, except that Dr. Volk isn't really "mad." He's definitely in control and has clear-cut reasoning behind what he's doing, the reasoning becoming apparent as the movie progresses. It isn't a particularly bloody or gory movie; it's more an unsettling movie; something of a psychological study as the prisoner is increasingly pressured to give in to his captors, with torture porn, rape and snuff movies serving as the background to the whole story. From about the halfway point it's somewhat clear what Volk is up to, although the last few scenes (as he seems to be getting his revenge) took me completely by surprise

Generally speaking the performances from the three leads were passable. I wouldn't say anyone was outstanding in this, but they were passable. This isn't an outstanding film by any means, and it's not a movie I'd want to watch over again. If you're into mind game movies, though, it might be worth taking a look at. (6/10)
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Well done horror film
ApolloBoy10912 November 2012
I had to make myself a drink after watching this film. I'd like to start by admitting that I'm a male. Also that I believe women should have rights over their lives and bodies without question.

The film will leave you a little shaky as was intended. The storyline is well thought out with many unexpected twists and turns. Hultquist and Matinez did a damn good job. Direction was fine, given an obvious limited budget the film seemed a tad scaled back. But no complaints. The less Eskandari showed the more freaked out I became.

Harrowing to watch. Especially if you see everyones point of view, motive and that of any victim of crime.

Actors Weigand and Bancroft turned in above-average performances. Weigand's character arc is particularly well done by the young actor.

Think I'll make myself another drink.
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Pretty Boy Finds His Way Into a Mad Doctor's Cage...
gavin69421 October 2012
A young man (Stephen Weigand) finds himself held captive by a mysterious doctor (Bob Bancroft) and his brutish henchman (Brendan Kelly).

The opening scene uses the POV camera that, frankly, never works in any film and comes across just as annoying here. Luckily, it is brief. And even more luckily, it never really comes back. (The opening is referenced later, but it is less obnoxious.)

This film has aspects of "Human Centipede", or really any mad scientist movie. Like "Centipede", the doctor has an unwilling victim whom he wishes to transform into something superior. I would dare say the centipede is more disturbing, but the transformation here is more drastic. (I cannot actually say what it is without giving away the plot, but I will say once you catch on the film gets a lot more interesting.)

Overall, I give this a modest recommendation. Certainly not among the best films out there, but it is well produced and the acting is above average (the mad doctor is spot on). If you have other things to see, see them first... but this is better than you might expect.
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"Wow, I was both moved and disturbed...."
LeonardiLeo3457 January 2011
Warning: Spoilers
VICTIM Review by Mike Pickle for The poster art for Victim might fit the tone of the film and the synopsis may let you know, basically, what goes on so you may think you know what you're in for. Wrong. What you get with Victim is something inexorably different. Something more. Directors Matt Eskandari and Michael A. Pierce have achieved something rare even for the most seasoned of filmmakers. They manage to unflinchingly display stark brutality on screen while the most disturbing aspects creep up behind you and worm their way into your consciousness. These aspects are the ones that stick with you long after the end credits have rolled.

The film opens in an instantly discomforting fashion with hand-held camera footage. The man holding the camera is talking to a beautiful woman and unexpectedly begins attacking her, beating her mercilessly and seemingly killing her. After the opening credits; focus is centered on a good looking young man hanging out in a bar. He starts to leave and notices that his tires have been slashed. He is attacked from behind, knocked unconscious and wakes up in a cell in what looks like a dungeon laboratory.

Soon he meets his captors, the creepy and enigmatic Dr. Volt and his huge, menacing, mute assistant George. The sadistic duos proceed to subject the poor man to what seems like senseless physical and psychological torture. As the nameless "victim" is being beaten, his fingerprints burned off and made to endure sadistic operations; his only comfort comes in the form of a young girl's diary left in his cell. The voice-over of the innocent, adolescent author and parental guidance being played through speakers in the cell add layers to the experience that take you beyond the "torture porn" corner that some people might paint this film into. This man is being transformed inside and out. Dr. Volt tells him "you are no longer you" and we soon begin to realize that this is not just torture. This cruelty has a purpose and is all part of Dr. Volt's scheme.

There are many questions raised through the course of this film. Many questions that, had they not been answered so profoundly satisfying, would have dampened the experience. There's a reason why the mute George is helping the demented doctor without hesitation. There's a reason why the victim is stripped of his dignity so quickly and easily before the real pain begins. There's a reason for every atrocity the victim and viewer are made to endure. There's even a reason for the side story of the female detective who is suspicious of the doctor. Yes, it takes us out of the madness, but let's face it; we need a break from scouring the depths of physical and mental torment. It also gives the viewer hope for the otherwise hopeless victim and serves as a brutal example of what the doctor is willing to do to complete his ambiguous master plan.

In an attempt to piece together the puzzle of exactly why this film has such a penetrating and abysmal effect; I have to mention the score. Much like the film itself, the music is both subdued and over the top. Pitch-perfect and maddening. It's a bold soundtrack and it works. Another important piece to the puzzle is the use of special effects which are used both sparingly and abundantly depending on the scene. Some scenes bring you closer and closer to the carnage before cutting away at the precise wincing point leaving the worst to your imagination. Armed with a false sense of security and thinking the worst will be played out in the mind; the viewer is taken past the point of wincing until the gore is staring them in the face and displayed just clear enough to feel real. One scene of a throat being slit is particularly realistic and one of the most convincing effects of its kind that I have seen.

Holding all these pieces together are strong performances by the three main stars. Stephen Weigand portrays the nameless victim and had a hefty role on his hands. His performance pulls you into his world of pain and confusion as well as a wide range of consuming emotions that come full circle in the shocking climax. Bob Bancroft portrays Dr. Volt with similar depth and is crucial to the potency of this film. He shows a pain of his own at times, but for the most part, is a figure of both menace and calm, cold indifference. There to provide an even stranger twist to the impact of the film is Brendan Kelly as the disconcertingly silent George. His lack of lines takes nothing away from his contribution to the film or the development of his character. His insistence on glaring at the victim while he is made to perform a particularly humiliating deed is one of the many subtly creepy moments that makes this movie so effective.

Victim is tied together by one revelation, but that revelation does not make the film. Matt Eskandari and Michael A. Pierce have crafted a horror thriller that's not just another horror thriller and not just another entry in the torture sub-genre. It's a multi-layered triumph of a film whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Something special happens when a film strikes this many chords so effectively. It resonates. Just like any work of art; it's not always clean and pleasant, but it stirs a lot of emotions. It's almost impossible to be so moved by a film with such unrelenting ruthlessness, but I was both moved and disturbed and not for the obvious reasons.

Distributed by IFC Films who brought us such films as Human Centipede, Dead Snow and Lars Von Trier's Antichrist; Victim had a limited theatrical and Video on Demand release, and will hopefully be released on DVD soon.
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Kind of like a car crash...
birdieleigh16 November 2011
...the content is pretty horrific, but you can't look away. I knew very little about this film going into it, and I think that's the best way to approach it. So I won't tell you too many details. It's better if you find it all out for yourself.

I will tell you that I don't consider this to be a "good film" because I necessarily enjoyed watching it. In fact, it was almost painful. "Victim" is probably one of the most vicious films I've ever seen. But there's something about it, so much purpose in its cruelty, that I believe it was well worth watching.

I will also tell you who this movie isn't for. First off, gore-hounds might be disappointed with it unless they're armed with the right information going in: There is definite violence, but this isn't Hostel. Although, I have to say I was surprised (impressed, actually) that a movie could be this dark and sadistic without excessive gore. So people who are into dark films in general will probably get a kick out of it. On that same note, this film is not for the faint of heart. It throws some pretty hefty stuff at you.

All that being said, like I mentioned previously, this is a film that is disturbing, but effective. And I believe it is most effective if you don't know the details going in--but prepare yourself for something quite a bit out of the ordinary. My vote is: take a chance with this movie. If you don't like it, you don't have to complete it. But especially for those of us who love a good detour into the dark side of Psychology, "Victim" is a well-made (and very thought-provoking) way to spend a couple hours.
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Dr Frankenstein creates a Psycho.........
rbrb23 February 2014
This is an excellent black comedy horror-thriller movie.

The three main male leads give outstanding performances and it is impossible to chose the best.

Some creepy stuff here for sure!

A young man is kidnapped and held hostage by a couple of weirdo's and he is then subjected to all sorts of horrors and transformations.

Best not to say too much as that could spoil the enjoyment of the show. I hope we get a sequel!

Well done to the Sundance Channel for showing this film.

Highly recommended, but this picture is for adults only!

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billcr1220 May 2013
Much like either Saw or Hostel, Victim involves people held against their will in a basement for a series of experiments by the evil Dr. Rudolph Volk(Bob Bancroft). His assistant, Mr. George(Brendan Kelly) picks up unsuspecting young women in a bar and abducts them for a fun time with Dr. Rudy.

The movie is never scary and the acting is horrendous by the entire cast. The script is film school material. Do not be fooled by the intriguing advertising poster with a topless woman with a man's head between her legs. I was lured to Victim by the poster, and I always admit my mistakes, and this was one of them, and a waste of 90 minutes of my life. Avoid this garbage and take a long walk instead.
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Honest review - no psychology (the point)!and a waste of time
pallurameg28 November 2013
This movie was subpar. It started off with a seemingly (at least possibly) interesting plot and ended up with a dull dud. I won't spoil it for anyone who wants to see it (honestly, don't waste your time), but the ending of the movie wrecked any climax it was trying to build. There is no satisfaction in the way the plot line plays out or even in the cinematic effect the film is trying to create. The movie was pseudo-engaging until the climax (aka - last 10 minutes) which was, frankly, trite and made me want to punch myself in the face for watching. The "shock" ending was predictable. I absolutely don't enjoy films like "Hostel" as I think they're a waste of time and brain energy, and this falls in that category - although much less gory. If you want something that engages your brain, look elsewhere.
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Miracle i did not fall asleep.
zjannaa-199315 January 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Im sorry but this movie was so boring. Saw the end coming even before the movie started, I mean COME ON. The acting was so bad I just can't understand the positive reviews. Waste of time. I promise. If the acting was outstanding, and the sound was good, then maybe, MAYBE it would have been a 5. But come on. So unrealistic. And another thing. Did the makers of this movie know what brain dead means? Guess not. Im sorry but this movie was so boring. Saw the end coming even before the movie started, I mean COME ON. The acting was so bad I just can't understand the positive reviews. Waste of time. I promise. If the acting was outstanding, and the sound was good, then maybe, MAYBE it would have been a 5. But come on. So unrealistic. And another thing. Did the makers of this movie know what brain dead means? Guess not.
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Five million USD should buy real actors and a real script; not here.
suite9214 November 2013
Warning: Spoilers
The opening, thankfully short, is in hand-held camera land. Quite a few useful facts here are covered up by the bad camera get the viewer to watch the ending, of course.

I was sorely tempted to abandon the film during the opening sequence. It was neither of artistic value nor informative. Was I glad that I watched the rest? No.

We switch to 1.78 aspect ratio and professional work with modern cameras.

The second opening, also incredibly short, is about a club scene where the entitled squander money on alcohol and other drugs. The 'Young Man' from the club scene is held up as the title character. I am quite willing to see the entitled crushed into hamburger.

In the third tableau, we're in a very dirty, grim, combination prison and experimentation and torture lab. The lab is located in the basement of a large real property worth somewhere in the millions USD for the gated house and grounds.

The Young Man almost escapes, and sends a 911 call. He is recaptured fairly quickly, so the 911 response is only a uniform visit some days later. Meanwhile, the Victim receives more attention, that is, beatings, having his fingerprints burned off, sonic attack, and so on. The uniforms kick the case up to a Detective Janet Corwin. Dr. Volk defuses her questions with reasonable lies.

Thirty minutes into the film, Young Man cannot remember his own name. How nice.

A bit later, Dr. Volk has him wearing a dress, painting is fingernails, and getting his body hair removed. Dr. Volk moves on to full castration and a sex change operation. Young Man is no longer that, and his downward trajectory into unhappiness continues.

Detective Corwin does some more work on Rachel Volk, Dr. Volk's daughter. She found out Rachel was reportedly murdered. She goes to Volk's house, discovers Young Man, then is killed by George. They bury the body, then send a fake text to cover the trail temporarily.

Then the breast implants are executed, plus healing, plus lessons on grooming and deportment.

Time marches on. Detective Corwin is missed, but not found. The faux Rachel is healed up, and into the role. After a refined dinner party, things go badly. That is, back to the hand-held nonsense at the start. The faux Rachel is to recreate with George the bad happenings that went down in the opening sequence, which was a snuff film with Rachel as the star.

How does it turn out the second time? Do we finally find out what happened the first time, that was hidden (intentionally) the first time? Did Dr Volk get what he wanted?


Cinematography: 4/10 Useless hand-held nonsense detracts from the majority of the film.

Sound: 4/10 Useless hand-held nonsense detracts from the majority of the film.

Acting: 4/10 Stephen Weigand's first film; unfortunately, not his last. The rest of the performances were between ho-hum and so-what.

Screenplay: 4/10 There was a bit of story in the middle that I thought was serviceable. However, the ending was unsatisfying, since nothing that was hoped to be achieved was achieved. Looking at the overarching structure, though, that was impossible from the get go. The means used made the desired end unattainable.
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Amazing Idea, Terrible Execution
slap-happy-490-47485130 September 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Definitely an A+ for the twist in this one. In the middle of the film it was easy to see what was taking place, but the finale really sneaks up on you, ending with you empathizing with the doctor despite having shared the victims plight through the entire movie.

So why the bad rating? The main actor was terrible. Cheesy and awkward in his movements, speaking, and facial expressions. There were some horrendously bad "only in a horror movie" qualities as well; i.e. ridiculously ineffective police officers.

Very disturbing to watch, you definitely need to stick with it to the ending to have the knot in your stomach untie. That being said, I couldn't take anything seriously with the protagonist's poor acting.
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The Independent Film that Could have been!
odochartaighllc20 November 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I just watched this film last night with another filmmaker and we both seem to be on the same page in our opinion of this film.

Matt Eskandari & Michael Antony Pierce had in their hands an opportunity to make a really good independent film that could have lived on as a memorable cult film. Stephen Weigand and Bob Bancroft each gave what this film needed to be believable. Stephen most certainly gave his heart and soul to the unnamed character, making some serious transitions as the film progressed. Even the art direction and cinematography offered an exceptional product for the budget.

So where does the film fail? The directors, producers and the editors failed in the most basic ways. Continuity and "in your face" visual bloopers.

The first obvious goof that I noticed was Weigand's shoes. He is seen in the bar and parking lot with shoes. OK... that was acceptable. But then he is seen in the basement barefoot. That also was acceptable. And then suddenly from one cut to another Weigand is wearing a pair of shoes that appeared magically out of nowhere... not just a pair of shoes... but not the same pair that he was kidnapped in. Was the editor working on 72 hours of no sleep when he edited this scene? Was the continuity or script supervisor taking a day off on the day they filmed that scene? Was the first director or production assistants not paying attention? Or was the filmmakers committing a basic film school no no by not paying attention to detail? Even on short films, I have always used Polaroids to keep track of what the actors were wearing in a scene, and I assure you that magic shoes would not find their way into a scene. The dirty soles of an actor that suddenly seems to clean themselves up is forgivable... but magic shoes should have been caught at so many different points is a filmmaking sin.

The second obvious goof was after Weigand was stripped of his clothes. It's perfectly acceptable that an actor on a set would be wearing a "sock" to conceal his penis. However, the filmmaker and editors need to make sure that it's never obvious on camera. In this case... the sock is "in your face". In a scene that is suppose to make the audience feel for Weigand's character... my buddy and I found ourselves cracking up when the white sock suddenly makes an unexpected appearance on nearly full screen. Now please explain how any editor or filmmaker or producer could miss that in the editing room? Especially when they would be reviewing this footage frame by frame looking for the right cuts? That sock would be in their faces for at least an hour as they edited the film and color corrected it. So HOW did that sock become part of the cast? It could have easily been edited out of the scene.

Mr George has a bandage on his neck for much of the film. However, no one would have a bandage like that for 4 months, unless their neck was developing gangrene.

Stephen Weigand and Bob Bancroft both showed that they took the film seriously. It was the filmmakers who allowed such obvious mistakes to reduce this film down to amateur. That is sad considering that 90% of the film was good, but the obvious mistakes are so distracting they they become laughable... which is disappointing since had we not been subjected to these goofs... I was actually impressed with what I was seeing.

Is it worth watching... yes... but regrettably, it won't be as memorable as The Passion of Darkly Noon or Dare was for me. Or even Boot Camp. We have watched so many incredible independent films lately and this one promised to be one of them. But instead of being memorable as an outstanding film... it has become an example for filmmakers on how the simplest mistakes can ruin a film.
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Quite terrible
ian_stewart-6275119 August 2017
Warning: Spoilers
It seemed an interesting concept on paper. Sadly its just a complete mess. The villain of the piece is like a member of Howard Stern's wack pack. Just a complete rotten performance. The "victim" isn't very good. He has a bit of a hard time in this movie, yet its hard to have any sympathy when the performance is more or less screaming "this isn't real, I'm just happy to be working" at you as he goes through the motions.

Here's the spoilers.

The victim is kidnapped, things happen, the doctor turns him into a woman, I burn the DVD and never watch this again. The End.
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Good Attempt But Ultimately Fails
fushigibird3 December 2019
Warning: Spoilers
This movie starts off great but sadly spirals downhill towards the end. After all the sickening violence ( there is even a forced sex change on the main character) the ending just doesn't make any sense. The main character escapes his horrid fate but at the ultimate cost and it left me wondering what the point was to the movie. That being said I'd only recommend you watch this if you are into horrific violence with little to no plot. It's a shame because the acting in areas is incredible. At times it's hard to decide who is scarier, the mad doctor or his patient, the main character. Perhaps the only thing interesting about the movie.
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