Extreme Sadism & Violence



What started as a wave of Hollywood serial killer movies and darkly violent horror in the 90s, has deteriorated in the 21st century into a larger wave of movies focusing on extreme, brutal, over-the-top, nasty, psychologically intense violence and torture. This includes the so-called 'Torture-Porn' sub-genre and the wave of nasty French horror movies that serve over-the-top brutality and sadism without the levels of extreme gore that gorehounds expect. Listed here are the most extreme, as well as the violent milestones of the 90s, most of them mainstream movies that take pride in finding new extreme ways to display or explore sadistic violence on screen. See also Ryan Nicholson, Nick Palumbo.

Recommended

Devil's Rejects  
Rob Zombie's second movie is a surprisingly focused, well-made and tightly edited piece of filthy brutality. There isn't much plot and the whole movie shows policemen chasing a family of twisted serial killers, only in this case the cop is brutal and takes it personally, even hiring some trashy killers to help him. Torture, humiliation, bloody violence, evil teases and brutal murders fly from both sides with one filthy, repulsive character after another showing their faces on screen. The amazingly good direction and unpredictable characters cover up for the flaws and lack of story.

Eden Lake  
A surprisingly good and intense wildness-survival thriller that earns its violence with realism and three-dimensional characters. This is the movie Last House on the Left should have been, albeit it focuses on bad parenting and criminally violent teenagers instead of exploitative backwoods psychos. A couple on romantic vacation encounter a gang of young hoodlums. It starts with rudeness and annoyances, and escalates to shocking levels of violence, with realistic reactions amongst the teenagers, all driving the adults to desperate, nihilistic measures. It flirts with the border of excess, piling on a bit too many physical and emotional tortures, but retains its visceral grip. The ending feels too bleak and depressing, but it drives its point one last time to the gut. Think of this as a more extreme Lord of the Flies, where the deserted island is replaced by very bad parenting. A fitting companion piece to Miike's Scars of the Sun (also good), and the more down-to-earth and restrained Cherry Tree Lane which is good for a single watch.

8MM  
Underrated, and very dark crime thriller, that I would never have expected from Joel Schumacher, dealing with snuff films. Nicolas Cage is a detective hired to track down an alleged snuff movie with unknown authenticity and a missing girl into the hells of extreme underground pornography. The movie intensely and correctly focuses on the effect of this world on the mind of the detective and his new-found acquaintance (Joaquin Phoenix), and the darkness increases slowly as he digs deeper. Relatively non-explicit, and it tries hard to show only what it has to, but the subject matter, Cage's performance, and plot events are so dark that this will disturb you in any case. An intense, balanced and thoughtful exploration of dark perversity.

Natural Born Killers  
A controversial attack on violence and its worship by the masses and media. The stylistic, even avante-garde approach by Oliver Stone and the over-the-top levels of violence and depravity sickened many people, but this movie does have a message and it is done with a near-excess of style and talent. For example, depicting the incestuous father and dysfunctional family as an old comedy sitcom is genius. Most of the movie follows an 'enamored' wild couple in a journey of violence, sex, popularity, courthouse antics, jail, and beyond.

Oldboy  
Park's most twisted entry in his trilogy of cruel vengeance films. An annoying, garrulous man is imprisoned in a tiny apartment for 15 years by an unknown enemy. When released, games are played with him as he tries to figure out who is after him, bent on revenge and dark thoughts while developing a strange relationship with a sweet woman. As usual with Park, realistic plot and characters are secondary to style, drives and ideas, but these abstractions manage to take over the movie in a delirious peak of twisted and cruel creativity. Unique and intense scene after scene explores cruelty, disturbed minds and revenge with inspired cinematography.

Pulp Fiction  
Practically the cinematic event of the decade. It had the whole world buzzing and inspired a slew of copycats and followers. The cause was the unconventional structure of the movie, telling at least three intertwining stories and not necessarily in chronological order. That and the smorgasbord of standout characters, each with his or her own fleshy personality and acted by well known actors. Add to that Tarantinos talent for fascinating, quirky, down-to-earth dialog and you have a winner. Of course the depravity and violence of most of the characters and events helped too, featuring things like sodomite rapists, religious assassins and gimps.

Se7en  
Fincher delivers another unusually disturbing, intelligent movie, this time reminiscent of Silence of the Lambs. An intelligent detective and his aide are tracking down a deranged murderer following some gruesome killings that seem to be following a pattern of the seven deadly sins. The killer is frighteningly methodical and seems to have a religious message for the world. The twisted ending is nothing short of brilliance.

Silence of the Lambs  
Possibly the most popular horror movie ever made, featuring a smart FBI agent in search of a seriously demented serial murderer who kidnaps his victims, and then softens their skin for days before skinning and killing them. To help understand this mind, the agent seeks the help of Hannibal the Cannibal, another serial murderer who happens to be a brilliant, creepy psychologist currently incarcerated and under observation. Matters build up and get very dark and creepy, and the level of intelligence is kept high until the disquieting end.

Of Some Interest

American Mary  
In some ways this is part Strangeland, part Nip/Tuck, part May, but mostly its own creation. One would expect a horror movie about body modification and surgery in this day and age to be all about the gornography and torture, but this nicely done movie surprises with its focus on the people and story, mixing just the right amount of restraint and body horror in the gore scenes, old-school style. The fact that it restrains itself during sadistic torture scenes, whereas most of the gore is shown in consentual surgery, sometimes feels as if the film-makers want us to sympathize with her. Not to mention that there's a cliched detective that thinks of her as a victim. But who can sympathize with a psychotic? In any case, the lack of graphic torture is very welcome since we have had too much of it lately. Katharine Isabelle pulls off another difficult role of a medical student that descends into a world of underground surgery, body-modification freaks, and revenge, her character regressing via leaps and bounds (too quickly if you ask me) spurred on by a trauma, the need for money, and pressure from her new-found clients. One flaw of this movie is the misandry, where almost every man is a violent pig and where rape somehow deserves a punishment a thousand times greater than the crime. Other flaws include the unrealistic characterizations, and some plot lines that feel undeveloped. But the good aspects, including the memorable characters that transform themselves into Betty Boop or a plastic doll, make it a strong horror movie.

American Psycho  
A satire about a rich, narcissistic man in the 80s with a meaningless job, no personality and materialistic obsessions who turns psychotic and goes on a murdering rampage because of the emptiness inside him. The portrayal and message is right on the mark, but the problem here is that the movie focuses too much on one despicable, violent exploit after another instead of exploring his psychology deeper. It runs out of ideas after the first half hour and the surprise ending only detracts by making you think about the complicated twist in the plot instead of the satire.

Battle Royale  
An extremely popular and slickly filmed pulp b-movie about a future where teenagers are violent delinquents and as an illogical disciplinary procedure, grown-ups send a whole team of class-mates to an island and set them off on each other in a sadistic game. The rules of the game are that only one person leaves the island alive, each of the students gets a useful or not-so-useful weapon, and they are kept moving and at each other's throats by disallowing more and more areas on the island. If a rule is broken, an electronic neck collar kills the bearer. Trust and friendships break down as even gentle teenage girls give in to the stress and carnage and chop up their best friends. Extremely violent, but so over-the-top, crude and nonsensically stupid (especially the incoherent ending), that it can't be taken seriously as the social commentary it wants to be.

Borderland  
A borderline entry into the torture genre and a Hostel clone complete with annoying frat-boys trying to get laid in a foreign country (Mexico) and encountering local brutality instead. The Mexican village is run by a group of scary cultists that even keep the police away through fear, and the writing is based on a true story. A lot of the gore is off-screen and the movie is mostly an effective, darkly violent thriller, but there are two sadistic torture scenes and a constant mood of nihilistic violence. Hostel is easy to improve on so when I say this is better than Hostel, it's only moderate praise.

Broken  
Starting off as tedious and sick Saw clone where women's survival skills are tested with razor blades in their stomachs, it soon veers into much more interesting territory: A disturbing psychological tale of a twisted man who keeps women as slaves in the forest, living off the land, while the women grapple with their fears and broken psyches. Full of dark potential, but the acting is mediocre, the women's behaviour is grossly stupid as they ignore opportunities over and over again, the psychology isn't explored as deep as I would have wished, and quite a bit of the gore and physical abuse feels technically unrealistic. A failed attempt.

Feed  
A serial killer movie following Silence of the Lambs's footsteps, but this one with a twisted theme of food. An Australian cop is after people in Germany who want to be eaten, and people in the USA who feed and take care of submissive women until they reach 700 pounds and die. The fat, violence and gore are disgusting enough, but what really sets this movie off into the land of the disturbing are the psychological aspects: The neurotic cop has an equally disgusting relationship with a (thin) bitch-slut, the Feeder has endless philosophies about female happiness and consumerism and a twisted past with his mother, and the Gainer (AKA fat woman) is twistedly submissive and ferociously loves and protects her demented feeder. It's crude, over-the-top, often unconvincing, but still extremely hard to watch and relentless.

Grotesque  
When Japan decides to show what it can do with the torture porn genre, you just know it's going to be extreme. This is the torture movie to end all torture movies as far as extreme sadistic violence is concerned, and I can't imagine a movie ever topping it. There is not much plot; the setup is a deeply disturbed psychotic who kidnaps a young couple to test their mettle and excite him with their feats of endurance and noble human behaviour, and the whole movie is just a bunch of torture sequences. What makes this extreme is that it perfectly combines psychology, touching human behaviour, the most extremely gruesome tortures imaginable, a very disturbing mental profile, a knowledge of when to let the movie breathe so that we don't get too desensitized, and truly sick games that psychologically ties one victim to the other which makes everything 100 times worse. There's plenty of gore, but the movie, being the focused monster that it is, is much more interested in facial expressions. Well done, but do you really want to watch this?

H6: Diary of a Serial Killer  
Vicious Spanish serial killer movie that belongs together with Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer for its more realistic and clinical approach. A man who kills his girlfriend in a crime of passion decides to become a meticulous serial killer with a vision and keep a diary for posterity. He lures prostites and vagrants into his inherited house, then tortures and rapes them for a week before carving them up with a chainsaw to free their soul. The gore is offscreen but not the screaming and psychological nastiness. Feels brutal due to its realism despite one or two missed details.

Hannibal  
The highly anticipated sequel to Silence of the Lambs had huge shoes to fill on every front and unsurprisingly, it failed on all of them. However, it remains a moderately entertaining, stylistic and gruesome movie thanks to Ridley Scott. Hannibal is on the loose, and when he's not filling his life with art and erudition, he is killing people in gruesome ways and cooking their flesh. But he has become less menacing, even campy now. An even more twisted person is after him with gruesome plans for his demise while the FBI is anxiously awaiting his recapture. Moore can't fill Foster's shoes, and the intellectual substance and horror aspects of the previous outing are replaced with style and some twisted gore.

Hills Have Eyes, The (2006)  
I never liked the original so this gorier remake is actually a slight improvement. The plot is the classic people-get-lost-and-encounter-violent-backwoods-folk that the original helped pioneer, only in this case it involves a whole family that encounters a group of nasty nuclear-fallout mutants in the desert hills. The first half sets up the characters, and the second is merely one violent fight, chase, death or nasty rape after another with gratuitous brutality including burning alive, mutant rape by creatures with a thing for mother's milk, and forced incest. This is pretty much pointless nastiness except for the fact that the action is grippingly visceral, brutal and energetic. As usual, the Hollywood mainstream teenage crowd claim this to be super-gory but it's more like lots of brutal, bloody violence with various weapons rather than a splatter movie. Followed by the expected idiotic and violent sequel that uses an Aliens 2 plotline involving the military and some ridiculously super-human mutants.

Hostel 1 & 2    
Way over-hyped Eli Roth horror flick starts with 40 minutes of annoying frat-boys trying to get laid in a boob and sex comedy, then a good middle-section of visceral horror where they find out that Slovakia caters some repulsive and grisly services, then a dumb all-too-convenient ending about revenge. That leaves only 30 minutes of good stuff. As with Cabin Fever, the gore is minimal, even off-screen, making me think that it's the Hollywood slasher crowd that hypes up this flick, but the torture scenes are gruesome nevertheless. Some good touches, like the killer street-kids, the discussion with a bloodthirsty American whether to kill slow or fast, and the next-day not-so-glamorous girls without their makeup, but disappointing overall. Perhaps he'll get it right the next time and stay focused. Part 2 is a mostly conventional but better sequel featuring much less annoying women as both victims and killers, with similar minimal gore but plenty of psychological nastiness, and with a neat payoff at the end after an hour of dull unsurprising horror.

Human Centipede (First Sequence), The  
The mad-scientist genre spliced with torture-porn, producing this notoriously disturbing movie. A German scientist kidnaps people in order to perform his dream experimental surgery on them that involves joining humans together via their gastric systems and disabling their kneecaps, linking them mouth to anus with all the disgusting implications that you would expect. The surgery isn't too graphic and the concept could never work scientifically, but the twisted mind of the doctor, the sadism and various humiliations are all extreme and fill the movie from start to finish. Several things make this movie special: The truly creepy and convincing performance by Dieter Laser as the doctor, the brilliant casting of a Japanese and some spoiled, dumb, ditzy girls as the victims, and the fact that this movie takes itself seriously and avoids exploitation and horror cliches, leading to a realistic climax involving policemen. Very uniquely disturbing and disgusting, but it retains its right to be a horror movie due to the way it balances its horror, human angle, realism and nastiness. A prime example of how far nasty horror can be taken, to the point that you wouldn't want to see it anymore, and I don't include gornography in this statement. I hope this is finally the apex and it's all downhill from here.

Madness  
A Swedish horror movie that wants to be an American backwoods flick in the vein of Wrong Turn (and dozens of others featuring backwoods murderous mutant freaks). The accents, faces, locations and the fact that the hillbillies speak Swedish all take getting used to. Otherwise, it's just a continuous stream of violence, from the beginning featuring a boot stomp to a pregnant belly and burying people alive, to a movie-long chase-and-fight scene between equally stupid victims and freaks, each of them inexplicably ignoring some obvious dangers, pausing at critical moments, and even stopping for a dramatic moment in the middle of a road while they are running for their lives. That said, the endless visceral energy and brutal escalating fights do make for some almost-good action and horror.

Necromentia  
A copy-paste job of a horror movie blending elements of Hellraiser, torture-porn and various other horror movies that you can't quite place, but know youve seen before. Several people's ends are criss-crossed as they each fall prey to hells of their own making, crossing over into a dimension of hell (a basement service tunnel) populated by Hellraiser-esque demons and back again by various means. There's a man who tortures as a profession who's trying to save his disabled kid brother, a husband trying to revive his dead wife while he takes 'care' of her body, and a betrayed goth bartender. The structure is all back-story, not allowing any momentum since the movie is always going backwards, the torture and various other elements seem thrown together without a point, and it's not gory or strong enough like Hellraiser, especially since it feels uninspired as well as incohesive. The one inspired bizarre moment is the pig-demon-creature that sings a kiddie sing-along suicide sound, and it does have some unrealized potential.

Nexxt (Frau Plastic Chicken Show)  
Scandalous Hungarian satire about the media's and the public's fascination with violence. Frau Plastic Chicken is hosting an episode of her show that combines two special guests: The 'man that Clockwork Orange was based on' who is now an upstanding citizen except he has an ultra-violent past that he doesn't like to talk about. And, a materialistic serial killer that films himself killing prostitutes in his rich apartment for fun, and who is apprehended live on the show then brought as a guest. The play games with Alex and seem more interested in his past that he doesn't want to talk about, we get to see Max's violent videos involving gruesome torture, and they bring people from the audience to tease and interact with the violent guests. And then the guests get to compete in a weird confessional game, which doesn't end well. Nothing new and quite pointless, but off-the-wall in its satire.

Passion of the Christ, The  
Perhaps the point of this movie was to experience the suffering that Christ went through and evoke some kind of guilty religious experience. Perhaps the acting and direction are amazingly good. But couldn't there have been more of an emphasis on his teachings instead of the gore? Weren't the documented punishments enough without Gibson inventing new ones to splatter the screen with? Many people were crucified at the time and it seems Gibson's agenda was to show his passion as the ultimate gore-drenched pain whether the details were true or not. Does a human body really contain that much blood that can be spilled without him dying three times over? Did the Romans have to be so cartoonishly violent? And perhaps it can be argued that the script is not anti-Jew (not all Jews in the movie were bad), but it is anti-Judaism because it portrays the Jewish spiritual leaders of the time as bloodthirsty, power-hungry, cliched politicians. It gives humanity to Pontius Pilate but leaves the Jews with empty, motiveless cliches. It even edits out the more sympathetic Jewish leaders who were mentioned in the New Testament. Did he bother researching into the methods of the time of carefully judging false prophets? Did he explore the motives and viewpoints of the Jews? Did he explore the story of Christ, his teachings, his relationship with his disciples, his spiritual leadership, or otherwise try to inspire people? No, he just made a gory, disturbing movie and showed highlights from the Bible in slow motion to make a splash and rake in the cash. Some badly spoken Aramaic does not an authentic movie make.

Red White & Blue  
Here's one description of this movie: A female serial killer with the morals of a gnat kills men by the dozens by choosing to be a slut. She somehow befriends a sadistic man, and when she gets in trouble, this triggers his sadistic and nasty streak, causing even more deaths. The movie is grindhouse pointless nastiness, and although it holds back from showing the more graphic details for the most part, the ending torture scene is so graphic, it wipes out 90 minutes of restraint in a single scene. Now here's an alternative description of the movie: The theme is the cycle of violence and how damaged individuals pass on their disease. A sexually traumatized girl who is incapable of love lashes out at the world in the only way she knows how. A ex-war veteran with a damaged psyche sees her as a broken kitten he must protect, but when she gets in trouble with a broken young man with a dying mother, his damaged mind lashes out with all the violence he has seen and experienced, unable to control it any longer. Personally, I lean more towards the first description of this movie. But the fact that this movie manages to be both at once, should be cause for pause. The movie earns both descriptions because it provides plausible details, psychology and plot twists that explain their nasty behaviour. I'm going to classify this as one of the very rare movies that manages to be both powerful, and repulsively grim and nasty, just like Gaspar Noé's films.

Resurrection County  
Critics of this backwoods horror film keep pointing out the unoriginality of it, but neglect the subtle re-imagining of this genre and superb characterizations. Yes, we have a group of youngsters camping in redneck country that find themselves in a brutal survive & fight scenario with the crazy locals. But the writer of this one took pains to escalate the violence step by step instead of just throwing in some instantly bloodthirsty rednecks. Every scene justifies the escalated and unpredictable violence in the next one, at least in a primal, animalistic or emotional sense. And the rednecks aren't just Deliverance style lunatics but have their own internal human logic, warped though it may be. The protagonists make some stupid decisions here and there, and aren't really likeable, but they behave naturally as well. Thus, the tension keeps building throughout the movie backed by good writing and acting. There is relatively a lower amount of on-screen brutality compared to its peers, but it is more brutal, merciless, and disturbing because of its strengths. That said, the biggest flaw is also that it is so unrelenting. It doesn't breathe or show any mercy or allow anyone to behave like a human being once it gets going, leaving you only with a very unpleasant experience and nothing else. Rank this one up with Eden Lake, Storm Warning and Wrong Turn.

Run! Bitch Run!  
This one outdoes Tarantino in it's 70s throwback exploitation trash homage. It manages to reproduce the era, amping up the trash without making it feel like a modern horror film that just shoehorns in as much nastiness as it can for its own sake. In other words, there's a story and characters you can sink your teeth into, and the focus isn't on torture and gore, although it serves plenty of nastiness. Two Catholic girls selling bibles knock on the wrong door and fall prey to a nasty gang of criminals, including a horny female nasty piece of work that will do anything to keep herself entertained. This is not only a rape & revenge movie, but also features nunsploitation, lesbianism, necrophilia and even a bit of nursesploitation. Visceral trash that delivers for the exploitation crowd.

Saw Trilogy      
Yet another contrived serial killer series that tries to follow in Se7en's footsteps, only in this case the message the killer has is personal, not religious. The Jigsaw Killer is a brilliant and demented sadist who comes up with ridiculously complex and psychologically twisted fatal traps that forces the victims to brutally damage and mutilate themselves to overcome fears and learn an extreme life-affirming lesson, or face death. The horror is gruesome, inventive and sadistic, with twisted moral lessons, but the writing feels contrived and the horrors made complex just to entertain and surprise a bloodthirsty audience. In the first of the series, two men find themselves chained in a filthy bathroom and have to find a way out while the psychological pressure rises and revelations induce desperation. But details don't face up to logic, and the main actor is painfully terrible. The second movie ups the ante with a convoluted setup involving the killer playing games with his own captors, while 7 trapped people are played off each other with elaborate sadistic puzzles. Better in some aspects, but also predictable and even more contrived this time. Part 3 of this continuous story is probably the best, writing a dark intense scenario that ties the killer and his protege with the victims using Se7en-like developments. It also features, by far, the most nasty and cringe-inducing gore and brutality involving Hellraiser-like chains, rib-cage ripping, slow limb-twisting, and brain surgery. Part 3 is one of the most dark and horrifically intense entries in the torture-porn genre, but it's also relentlessly tiresome; I miss the days when killers just put a bullet through your head and movies didn't takes sides with serial-killers.

Senseless  
Just how many torture movies are going to feature a man waking up in a room, a victim of sadistic games with a psychological twist? This one is about a morally corrupt American businessman under the control of a general anti-American audience. A torturer manages the proceedings, waging war against the American's five senses in gruesome torture center-pieces, and in between, there is some intense psychological and political confrontations and breakdowns. All of it is broadcasted over the internet and driven by the audience in a provocative twist. Obviously a hop on the torture, internet, and anti-American bandwagons, and it is repetitive, but it is pretty well done for what it is, gleefully exploiting its audience.

7 Days  
Dark Canadian revenge and torture movie that has its heart in the right place. Namely, it focuses on the emotions and psychology of the torturer and thus turns torture into the horror that it is, instead of the exploitative entertainment that the movie industry turned it into. A doctor's eight year old daughter is raped and killed, and he takes matters into his own hands to attempt to satisfy his dark and angry thoughts. Again, although this plot is not new and it sounds like an action-revenge movie, it is not. The writing, the character's bevaviour, the doctor's systematic method of achieving his goals, his distraught wife, the policemen, including one detective haunted by his wife's murder, and even the victim, are all magnificently portrayed, all affected in different ways, as the doctor keeps torturing his man in gruesome and graphic ways only a doctor could come up with, his mind deteriorating further as a result. Chan-wook Park may have made a definitive stylish collection of brutal vengeance films, but he didn't have the heart, subtlety and discipline of this one. A dark movie without flaw, but like Gaspar Noé's movies, it is not one I could recommend experiencing.

Somebody Down There Likes Me  
Czech exploitation, rape-revenge, torture, some supernatural elements, a touch of gore, and black humor. It all starts rather drearily nasty and sleazy as a devout Christian family man is mugged and confined to a wheelchair, and before you know it, his bitch of a wife is having affairs with sleazebags right in front of him. When she brings upon the family and her daughter some vicious and nasty hoodlums (in an endless scene of violence right in front of the helpless father), his mind snaps and the devil walks in offering him an alternative path to deal with life, taking him on a tour of fury, torture, and sex which seems all too convenient and easy at first, but then he shows him the true dark depths that a human soul can sink to. The only redeeming aspect is the black humor of the devil, but otherwise, this is strictly for the exploitation crowd.

Storm Warning  
This is yet another backwoods horror movie about a couple (not teenagers for a change) that find themselves lost in the middle of nowhere with some pot-growing sadistic, animalistic, Australian rednecks, whose father is even worse. The humiliation, abuse and terror grow slowly until the woman decides to fight back. A horror movie is often considered feministic if the woman doesn't play the victim and doesn't scream, but here, she does all the vicious work while the guy stands helpless, which may appeal to some I guess, but the real problem is that they make her out to be a girly wuss for the first half that can't even kill a fish. Some killing traps (flying fish hooks) are also unrealistically elaborate and gruesome, like something out of Saw. The movie is slow-building and predictable at first, but, like Wrong Turn, it is surprisingly well crafted and well acted, building up towards a vicious and completely nihilistic last third involving penis traps, killer dogs and giant propellors that must be seen to be believed. It's just a pity about the flaws.

Trailer Park of Terror  
Obviously inspired by Two Thousand Maniacs, except the Southern pride is replaced with trailer-trash-pride (whatever that is), and the splatter is replaced with a bit of modern torture-porn. The devil is only too happy to fuel a massacre after a trailer queen's boyfriend is killed by her fellow trailerparkerites, except this seems to cause a haunting of zombie-trailer-trash hungry for meat and cheap sex, often combined. When a group of young delinquents led by a priest find themselves stranded at the site of the former massacre, they are soon fighting to save their skins, literally. It's really dumb and has almost no wit, but may be mildly entertaining as a popcorn campy horror movie.

Untraceable  
A thriller that is like a lite version of Se7en by way of Saw, and which uses the Internet for its kills and message. A killer is kidnapping people and setting them up in elaborate contraptions that slowly kill them the more hits he gets on his live feed, effectively turning the Internet hordes into killers. An FBI agent is trying to track him down, with all the predictable developments you would expect. The plot is a cut-and-paste job and extremely predictable, the kills are gruesome but somehow feel tame in comparison to similar movies (desensitization, or poor movie making?) and the tech-jargon, despite some evidence that they actually used some geek advice this time, is ridiculous. For one thing, if they can take down one of his mirror sites with a click of the button, they should be able to track his posts, hit counter and upload feed all of which are linked to his home. For another thing, they could have asked all the ISPs in the US to block access to that URL. But although the movie is weak, the concept is great and very timely, exposing the amazing cruelty of anonymous internet masses that we all know so well.

W Delta Z (The Killing Gene)  
An above average Se7en clone with elements of Saw. Strangely, Scar used the same concept as this movie of pitting two people against each other, torturing one until she agrees to kill the other, but this one does much more interesting things with it. A serial killer is leaving mutilated bodies behind with a biological equation etched into their flesh. A cop with complicated motives is on the trail along with his rookie assistant and two rival street gangs. The movie asks questions about the selfish gene, and whether there is any true altruism or love, but unfortunately the thinking is muddled and the killer's sadistic tests don't prove a thing. Overly convoluted plot, muddled thinking, and a low budget, but superb acting and editing, and overall, somewhat interesting. A mixed bag.

Wolf Creek  
Although I found this one only moderately twisted, it seems the masses found this violent thriller extremely disturbing. My theory is that they just aren't used to seeing women being brutally tortured in genre movies like this. Plot: Three teenagers find themselves stranded in the Australian outback and fall in the clutches of a brutally sadistic man. Violence and cat-and-mouse games ensue. The only reason this gets points is for its visceral, somewhat unpredictable development. What kills this movie however isn't its shock value, but the fact that the first half is boring, and the second half features unconvincing characters, stupid behaviour, and an impossibly omnipotent killer. If this is really based on a true story, then it's obvious that the survivor did it.

Would You Rather  
Yet another riff on the torture-as-entertainment-for-rich-folk concept from Hostel, this one done rather well, which only makes it all the more sadistic. In addition, it takes it one step further and turns it into a cruel psychological game where contestants have to choose between a bad and worse choice. These decisions are constantly changed by the sadistic host to 'keep things interesting', and the various contestants sometimes surprise with their choices, as the stakes are raised and the decisions become impossibly nasty. Of course, it's only about the sadism so the movie is very limited that way despite the good writing that keeps it realistic, and it also features a stupid coincidental ending.

Worthless

Art of the Devil 2 & 3    
Sequels in English-name only to the terrible Thai hit on HK-style black magic horror. These upgrade the nastiness and make me think of movies like Final Destination where the outlandish deaths are the focus of the movie, only in this case, the deaths are about gruesome curses rather than contrived violent coincidences. Also, the plot here is so irrelevant that the writers just keep adding back-stories, flashbacks, twists and hidden movitations, forgetting what they were doing 10 minutes ago. The theme is people that meddle with magic and curses for various purposes (revenge, lust, power) and how this comes back to bite them. So amidst the mess of sloppy dramatic snippets, we get curses flying right and left, the highlights being fish-hooks or live reptiles coming out of skin, worms, toenail torture, eyelid mutilation, a nasty blowtorch torture scene, and more.

Baby Blues  
Just a slasher movie with another killer, campy one-liners, and a sequence of deaths, none of them particularly graphic. So what is this film's claim to notoriety you ask? Two reasons: The killer is a mother who goes berzerk due to extreme postpartum depression, and her victims are her own little children. The film doesn't seem to care about this though, with all the cliched chase sequences, pacing, slasher-film rules, etc. and then some tiny little children and even a baby meet their brutal deaths. Is the slasher crowd cheering? Or are they objecting because this is about killing children this time? Who cares. I object because the movie didn't even try to make something interesting out of its controversial concepts.

Bedevilled  
Another Korean brutal revenge-horror movie perhaps modeled after Chan-wook Park or Ki-duk Kim but without the style, beauty, symbolism or subtlety. In fact, this is just a plain old savage and obvious revenge movie just barely this side of the exploitation genre with only lip-service paid to political symbolism. This makes me alone in disliking this movie. A very selfish, self-serving bitch of a woman goes on a forced vacation to an island where she grew up, only to find her best childhood friend in dire need of help: She is constantly abused by cartoonishly brutal men in a patriarchal society that even the old women of the island uphold and encourage. She is raped, beaten just for opening her mouth, her husband pays for and then abuses prostitutes in front of her, etc. but when the abuse starts overflowing out and onto her little daughter, she finally snaps, goes insane and launches a very bloody revenge spree with a small scythe, and the self-serving woman from the city finally finds it impossible to just walk away. Cartoonishly violent and cruel to the point that I burst out laughing during a revenge scene involving bean curd and a phallic knife.

Berdella  
Yet another real-life serial killer movie, taking its cue from Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer in its banal approach to evil and killing. Except that the character here is so banal and extremely dull, you wonder why the movie was made. According to this movie, Berdella was an average man on the surface, very active in the community, helping out especially with the rehabilitation of drug addicts while selling occult props in a flea market. Except that, under the surface he was a sadistic homosexual who kept six men in his basement and tortured them for months before killing them. The movie doesn't go for graphic torture and gore, keeping most of it off screen, but the scenes that it does include are sick and utterly pointless. But since his character is so uninteresting and the dialog is so cliched and pedestrian, we don't care about anything he does.

Boy Meets Girl  
Girl picks up boy in bar. Girl drugs boy. Girl psychologically tortures boy. Girl replaces other girl (why?). Girl physically tortures boy. Girl microwaves boy's hand. Girl performs surgery on boy. Girl is psychotic. Girl and boy can't act convincingly. This is one of those claustrophobic movies where everything starts and ends with the actors. If the actors are not top-class and gripping enough, everything collapses. I would appreciate what the writer was trying to do but the dialog isn't sharp either. Tries hard to be controversial but isn't.

Bunny Game, The  
This is one of those movies that must be accompanied with some crucial background information that will help an audience understand what the movie tried to do. Allegedly, the actress wanted to go through this experience as a kind of cleansing for a traumatic past, and she prepared for it with fasting, meditation and what not. She was not given a script, and everything done to her was real, and her reactions were real as well, all towards the goal of her experiencing a kind of death. The film-maker cast a very scary actor in the role of the trucker sadist, reminiscent of Human Centipede in the sense of its casting of an evil presence that is too good for its own sake. Add to all this some very experimental and effective B&W cinematography and editing that tries to inflict on the audience what the actress is going through by way of extremely disorienting and disturbing rapid-cuts, impressions, lighting and non-linear collages. The 'plot' is simply about a prostitute that is kidnapped by a demented trucker. For the first twenty minutes we get to see her various clients abuse her in pornographic detail while she takes drugs, cries it off and moves on to the next one. But this is just a warmup for some truly demented behaviour in the rest of the movie. The torture, since it is all real, is mostly mental, including endless and various forms of abuse and humiliations. There is physical abuse as well, but the focus is on breaking her mind. And her mind does break for all to see, in an all-too-realistic performance. Put all this together, and you have one sick, disturbing experiment on sadism. But why should any normal person be interested in this? This was like watching a masochistic woman get abused in S&M dungeons for hours, which she may have enjoyed, but it just bored me and left me with nothing but a feeling that this great cinematography was wasted.

Candy House  
German blend of the 'home invasion' and 'torture porn' sub-genres. A rich family is introduced in a long setup involving three sisters, one of them who has recently returned after disappearing from their lives, their father, a dead mother, which was the cause of the estrangement, and some internal family drama and tension some of which involves an inheritance. A sadistic man and woman invade the house and start playing games and torturing them with merciless sadism. Tongues and eyes are pierced with nails, hands sewn together, one of them is raped, others are gruesomely killed. Although the acting varies, the cinematography and general quality of the movie is surprisingly high, but the writing, the over-the-top queen-bitch performance, and the idiotic plot twist, are all tiresomely uninspired, and all simply for another excuse to show more sadism.

Captivity  
A terrible Saw clone with a sadistic torturer that seems to be playing elaborate Fear-Factor games with his victims, only with gleeful sadism and a sprinkle of gore. A boring female model serves as the rat in the cage with elaborate tricks, traps, setups, machinery and games involving acid, sand, a cocktail of human flesh in a blender, and more, all to entertain... who exactly? When the games are up, there's a horribly predictable plot twist, then it just keeps getting more stupid by the minute.

Carver  
A Texas Chainsaw Massacre clone that tries to combine the backwoods genre with modern sadistic torture. Annoying teenagers vacationing in the woods encounter a beastly killer who applies gruesome tortures to his victims before killing them, and putting it all on film. The gory violence includes applying hammers, hooks and saws to the face and various parts of the body, repeated hammering of a nail into flesh, and pliers to testicles, all of this varied gruesomeness serving no purpose to the killer or the movie and obviously only meant for the movie's audience. No thanks.

Chain Letter  
Incredibly stupid slasher movie for the Facebook crowd. A smart horror movie about modern technology could conceivably be devised someday, but this one opts to take the stupidest phenomenon (as hinted subtly in the title) and base the whole movie on that. So not only is it a routine slasher movie about some guy killing stupid teenagers, it is also based on a stupid and technologically impossible idea of some guy tracking a chain e-mail and killing everyone that deletes it. It doesn't bother with a plot either except for the obvious detective-and-teenagers-trying-to-survive-a-killer cookie-cutter backdrop, so much so that the movie has no ending. The stupid mind that conceived this movie decided to be creative by making all of the kills involve chains. Get it? Chains killing people that don't forward chain letters. Wait are you sure you got it? Chains and chain-letters... you know. Since this is the Saw generation, the kills are particularly gruesome, but nothing that would qualify it as a splatter movie, except for one or two over-the-top kill scenes where the killer brings out his gratuitous sadistic side and tortures some teenager before performing an impossible feat of cutting through a face with a chain.

Chaos  
A modern, brutal but empty remake of Last House on the Left which in turn was a trashy, exploitative remake of the intense Bergman drama The Virgin Spring. The plot was copied, complete with dumb girls, rape, humiliation, grisly torture, and revengeful parents but adds drugs, a rave party and cellphones. The movie takes some cues from Rob Zombie in its no-holds-barred brutality, a surprisingly wild ending and intensely psychotic characters, but offers nothing entertaining, creative or new, going for the shock value of nipple slicing and rectum carving instead.

Collection, The  
Sigh. Another sequel. If Saw was the game show for a bloodthirsty brainless audience, this one is a fun house for the same people. The superhuman 'Collector' is setting up traps and collecting the survivors for some fun in his abandoned hotel packed full of scores of traps, mentally broken human freakshows, torture devices, and grotesque artwork with body parts. When the daughter of a rich man gets abducted, his goon squad decide to take matters into their own hands and abduct the talented thief from part one to help them find the Collector. Who will survive the hotel of death? Disregarding the stupidity of this whole idea, one would think that the money it would take to build such an elaborate fun house would lead the police to him. And if not that, then the tonnage of materials and unique devices that he obviously has to get his hands on that should provide fat clues to any detective with half a brain, not to mention the army of people he would need to build it, as well as the impossibility of building all these places without anyone noticing. I mean just imagine the logistics of rigging a whole discotheque with a combine harvester that comes out of the walls for butchering hundreds of people. But why do I even bother pointing out how incredibly stupid these movies are? Eat your popcorn and cheer, you idiots.

Collector, The  
You have got to be kidding me. Just when I thought the idiotic Saw franchise was finally on its last breath, the makers of Saw decide to start a new franchise with the same brainless twaddle. A thief breaks into a house he has been hired to repair, and finds that the new occupants have been locked in by a sadistic killer who has setup dozens of elaborate traps and torture tools in the house. The thief suddenly develops a conscience and tries to save the occupants. The masked killer is obviously the writer, because he has no reason to exist otherwise, and as with Saw, he has somehow managed to put together all of these contraptions and traps in a matter of hours, and the barebones, empty plot, as with porn, is only there to get to the endless scenes with the body fluids and torture toys. They even ran out of humans to throw onto the sadistic traps, so they used a cat instead for some bestiality torture porn. I'm currently thinking of collecting my favorite tortures from this movie and going after the writer and director. Let's see... maybe the one with the cockroaches inserted into a fresh wound, or the fish hooks, or maybe the floor covered in bear traps... oooh wait I think I'll use the acid-guillotine combo. Yeah, now I feel better.

Cyrus  
Yawn. Yet another dreary serial killer movie, completely derivative even with its twist ending. The only thing it has going for it is the acting, but it's more like 'why are these actors wasting their time with this' rather than the acting raising the level of the movie. An obnoxious reporter and her cameraman are tracking down a story of a highway killer, and she tries to pry the story of the killer out of a local, who seems to know a lot about him. The killer's background is told through a derivative relationship with his derivative evil mother, and his doomed relationship with his bitch-slut of a wife, to his first killing, the special meat he served in his diner, and beyond. Then starts the tortures and bouts of grauitous nasty violence in the basement. And then there's the idiotic twist, and then it's over.

Dread  
I don't understand why this made such a good impression amongst many horror fans. It didn't even begin to work for me. A group of students, led by a jerk, embark on a school project to study innermost fears. They start with filming other students talking about their fears on camera without adding any insight or anything resembling a research project. Then the jerk, who was just an average jerk until then, goes psychotic for the climactic 20 minutes, taking it 'to the next level' with no discernable rationale, and becomes exponentially more sadistic by the minute, performing extremely sick, emotional, physical and psychological experiments on various people that confessed their fears to him, without any trace of emotion, and his victims turn psychotic as well as if sadism were a highly contagious disease. Neither the characters nor their motivations make any sense. This is not a human that becomes sadistic, this is a contrived character in a book engineered to entertain with sadism.

Embodiment of Evil  
Coffin Joe is back, 44 years since his first appearance. Old age doesn't seem to have any effect as he is still obsessed with his usual project of breeding with the perfect woman to produce the perfect offspring, testing men and women with sadistic tortures to prove their worth while the local elements gather together to hunt and murder him. The setting is the modern world this time, and for a while, the appearance of Joe in his black cape in modern streets is funny. This trashy horror flick seems to be trying to outdo the current sadism trend with dozens of imaginative scenes of torture and sadism including butt-carving, rat-torture and nasty scenes of hell and necrophilia, all led by the evil Coffin Joe who now seems to be surrounded by idiotic cultists and dozens of naked women. The Coffin Joe of old would have never stood for this.

Final, The  
This movie made me realize again how empty these torture-porn movies are, because just by describing the movie in a few words, you can spoil the whole movie. There are no surprises, plot or character developments in this teenage version of Saw by way of Columbine. The bullied outcast teenage youth take revenge on the bullies by setting up an elaborate party where they proceed to submit each of their enemies to sadistic torture. Morality goes out the window and several other torture movies are ripped off, featuring needle torture from Audition, and forcing victims to torture each other to stay alive from a dozen other movies. There are some good moments and it will appeal to the masses of insecure, imperfect teenagers, but I'm just too sick and tired of this whole brainless and boring genre that was stupid to begin with.

Final Destination 3 (& 4 & 5...)  
The third in this series is where many felt that it had become merely about the gore. Not that this is a splatterfest by any underground standards, despite the couple of brief gore scenes per movie that are relatively over-the-top for a mainstream movie. But what these movies do offer is a gleefully violent attitude and, like the Saw sequels, they see bizarre and gruesome death as a form of entertainment and a game. This is the kind of movie where people don't just die, but get half of their heads sliced up by a propellor after that was pushed by an out-of-control truck, or where a dropped camera causes a series of malfunctions in a Rube Golderg sequence that eventually slices a boy in half during a roller coaster ride, and then seats his lower half neatly next to his girlfriend. It makes every object a source of danger, every location, pastime or workplace full of potentially fatal accidents. It gleefully takes intense situations and exploits them in this fashion, like when a series of minor mishaps cause an eyeball laser-surgery machine to misbehave in gruesome ways. The plot? It's the same plot for five movies now, each movie merely replacing the deaths in an identical plotline. One youngster saves a group of people from a spectacular disaster thanks to some magical premonition, and then they spend the whole movie trying to figure out who is going to get killed next to make up for their survival by a cheated angel of death. It was stupid in the first movie, and only gets more stupid and formulaic with every sequel. The extended, visceral and spectacularly violent opening sequence is usually the best aspect of these movies, but the rest is always too stupid and exploitative to enjoy in any way.

Frontier(s)  
Another entry in the brutal French horror genre, this one copying other movies, mostly borrowing its plot from Texas Chainsaw Massacre. A group of young criminals and a pregnant girlfriend on the run from police, stop over at a free bed & breakfast only to run into a family of cannibal Nazis that torture and eat the men, and breed with the women. The violence, nastiness and gore, even though it isn't over-the-top, is monotonously relentless. The troubles with this one are that it's very uninvolving, and doesn't seem to be aware of itself as a whole, stringing together a series of emulated scenes from other movies, with badly filmed cop-criminal shootouts, seductive women and young sex a la Hostel, a tunnel scene that comes out of nowhere from Descent, a completely irrelevant element of Nazism, etc. Nasty scenes involving a buzz-saw, axe, ankle-cutting, etc. are there, but the protagonists are all dull, empty and unlikeable, the wackos look too normal and unconvincing, and the movie depends on a weak actress and no proper setup to carry the intensity of the climax.

Gag  
Yet another torture & sadism trend-hopper, this one horribly amateurish. Two thieves break into a home and find some twisted sadism and dead bodies, and soon become victims of a demented killer who owns the house. The rest of the movie just moves from one violent or torture scene to another as things get more complicated, but there is almost no gore, the acting is terrible, the motives and reactions are stupid, and there's no creativity in sight. Its peak of creative torture is the dumb idea of sliding a rodent through a tube into a person's mouth.

Girl Next Door, The  
Extreme sadism takes on a different form in this sickening movie, which is based on the true story of a girl and her disabled sister abused by a sick woman, her children and random locals. In this movie version, she is a psychotic aunt who raised her boys in her hateful ways, probably inspired by her self-loathing, and we get to see them team up to lock up the girl in their basement, torture her, then let the wave of sadism go unchecked as they mutilate her various body parts and rape her, all to the horror of a lovestruck but helpless neighbour boy. But even though this is based on true events, the movie feels completely fake, mostly because of the poor performances. They aren't bad actors, they just didn't fill in any shoes or channel their sick characters, which is perhaps good for them but bad for the movie. There is no gore and most of the graphic abuse is kept just this side of explicit, yet the setup of this pointless torture porn which includes children and parenthood gone very very bad, is as morally depraved as it gets. Interestingly, the less extreme "An American Crime" is based on the same story and stuck to more facts of the crime, but went for the other extreme, portraying the criminals as basically good-natured, weak-willed people that just happen to lash out in extreme and prolonged sadism. Neither of these movies felt real or provided any insight.

Great American Snuff Film, The  
Supposedly based on real events and allegedly makes use of a real 2 minute snuff film filmed by the serial killer himself towards the end of the movie, but this is all marketing and is overrated. Two demented killers kidnap a couple of girls, degrade and torture them in front of the camera before setting them up for the 'masterpiece' snuff film. The relationship between them deteriorates however and things get out of hand. A touch disturbing but mostly boring exploitation.

Hard Candy  
More mainstream, exploitative, cheaply provocative torture-horror boasting a feature-length torture scene which I think the film-makers deserve to be put through. This movie simply posits that extreme sadism (not justice) is justified where pedophilia is concerned. I have a screenplay for you: A 14 year old bratty, arrogant, psychotic, sadistic, intelligent boy lures his female school-teacher who has a thing for young boys (yes, many of these exist), plays mind-games with her, tortures her, methodically cuts off her clitoris and breasts while making cheap wise-cracks as she weeps, screams and begs, then keeps abusing her until he convinces her to kill herself. Will that movie work? Then ask yourself why this one did work for you.

Hate Crime  
Found footage merged with home invasion of the nasty, racist, ultra-violent kind. Three hyped-up neo-nazis invade a Jewish family's home while they are celebrating a kid's birthday. The whole movie then consists of various psychological and physical abuses, nasty rape and forced incest, eye-gouging, and more, as the guys vent and indulge in any whim, sadistic idea, or lustful urge that comes to mind. One flaw inherent in practically every found-footage film is the increasingly implausible contrivances of having the characters keep filming no matter what is happening to them, and for a sub-genre of movies that desperately want to seem more real than others, this is a fatal flaw. But this is just the beginning with this turkey: We get acting that wavers between chewing-the-scenery, passable, and amateur-porn, and characters that switch from sadistically aggressive to cry-baby to normal-guy-next-door in over-the-top manic mood swings. Half the time we don't understand them because they are muffled by masks, the rest of the time we wish we didn't understand their banal improvisations, and then there's the fact that we experience most of the movie from the neo-nazi point of view as they have fun chewing up the scenery. And then the movie tags on some text at the end giving us hate-crime statistics and a brief nod to justice, as if that would justify watching 70 minutes of people acting out their racist and sadistic fantasies.

Header  
Seriously? A whole movie about sicko rednecks deriving sexual satisfaction out of people's skulls? And no, that was not a spoiler, first of all because the movie starts with the 'action' right at the beginning, and secondly, there wouldn't be much left to review if I skipped that part. Imagine what the hillbillies from Deliverance would be up to in their spare time when they are really horny and really hate their victims, and then make a movie about their lives and how they love their grandpappies, and this may be it. Oh, and tack on a plot about a corrupt ATF officer with a sick wife who sells himself to drug dealers to pay for her medicine, and give this story a nonsensical twist ending that is just there for its shock value. A vile and witless waste of time that is too depraved to be funny and too in love with its sicko concept to be a real horror movie.

Hood Has Eyez, The  
A particularly nasty low-budget rape & revenge flick. Some skanks, a relatively more 'innocent' girl who is pressured into tagging along, and some loser, all find themselves in a bad neighbourhood where they promptly get abducted. There's nasty rape, nasty violence with a broken bottle, a nasty abortion, and even nastier revenge, all quite graphic. The acting transformation from innocent girl to crazed psychopath is laughably bad and for some reason features ridiculous pushups and a training montage, but everything else is adequate for low-budget movie, except for the fact that this is just time-wasting trashy filth, of course.

Hostel: Part III  
Was there any doubt this would be a pointless sequel? This time it stupidly takes place in Las Vegas which removes the 'Americans far away and helpless in East-Europe' factor, and because we know what to expect, the writers try to manipulate us by reversing our expections as to who is a hunter and who is a victim. As far the torture is concerned, the gore is minimal as with previous entries, and like with Saw, it's only about coming up with entertaining kills now, with people in fight scenes coming up with complicated ways to kill their opponent instead of getting it over with, and an audience giving points this time like its some kind of stupid computer game. The stupidest scene involves death by cockroaches. I hope this flop will be the death of this franchise.

Human Centipede II (Full Sequence), The  
The first movie was as vile and disturbing as it gets, but it knew when to hold back, constructing a horror movie with riveting performances, pushing audiences systematically way beyond their limits without resorting to boring gornography for its own sake. To repeat this in a sequel seemed not only impossible, but pointless, yet the director seems to have risen to the challenge and met it head-on with surprising creativity and effectiveness. This sequel takes places in a world where the first movie exists only as a movie. A pathetic and very disturbed short fat man obsessed with centipedes has adopted the movie Human Centipede as his new love and hobby. His background includes an over-the-top, controlling, suicidal mother, a surreal, pervert shrink, and possible molestation as a child. The first 60 minutes of this 90 minute movie tells only his story, his efforts to collect his own human centipede, and his psychological and violent breakdown. It is very disturbing, features yet another riveting performance of a completely different kind, and once again, draws you in. If the movie had left it at that, with incomplete centipede attempts, but a complete exploration of a twisted psyche that finds this kind of thing fascinating, then this could have been watchable and maybe even interesting horror. But then, finally, there is the building of the Human Centipede, this time with a dozen human beings, and this time, by an insane amateur who has no clue what he is doing, using a hammer as anaesthesia, pliers and kitchen knives as surgery tools, a stapler for connecting everyone, and laxative for the ultimate goal. Since this movie is "100% medically inaccurate" but 100% realistic and graphic, this results in an ultimately repulsive, grotesque, retch-inducing half-hour merciless sequence which I don't think I need to describe beyond this. Whatever you imagined for the last two sentences, multiply it by ten, and throw in some gratuitous sleaze and filth, and pregnancy gore. Unfortunately, these 30 minutes seem to be the ultimate goal of this movie, which is why I cannot say anything positive this time. Some of us may wonder what is wrong with the director, but what about the actors?

Invitation Only  
Eli Roth has a lot to account for. Not only did he make 'torture-porn' trendy, now he even has Taiwan modeling its movies after his Hostel. This movie combines idiotic killing motives from the worst slasher movies with a couple of sadistic torture scenes that show yet another variation on the Hostel theme, and it even rips off a scene from Saw. A working-class teenager is invited to a special party where they grant wishes. Slashings, violence and torture ensue. Yawn.

I Saw the Devil  
Jee-woon Kim hops on Park's brutal vengeance bandwagon a few years too late. This one tells the tale of a cop whose girlfriend is killed by a very cruel serial killer, who then goes on a controlled, immoral, irresponsible and even more cruel vengeance spree. He plays with the serial killer, angers him, lets him go loose before swooping down and punishing him some more with brutal and graphic torture, before the whole thing repeats and escalates once again. Trouble is, innocent people keep getting hurt from all of this sadistic hatred, the ending punishes even more innocents, and the cop turns out to be even worse than the killer, especially since he should know better. So much so, that it just doesn't make sense. It's like a zoo-keeper torturing the lion for eating animals, before releasing him on unsuspecting humans again. There is no doubt that this movie is extremely well done with superb cinematography, special effects, style, intensity and acting. It's just too morally bankrupt, hypocritical, exploitative, unrealistic and pointlessly sadistic to be interesting.

I Spit on Your Grave (2010)  
The first scene shows a girl driving through the woods. Right away I'm thinking: Does this actress know what movie remake she is in and what she is in for? Why is she doing this? The last scene shows her smiling after having submitted her rapists to some very gruesome torture and kills (it's impossible to spoil a rape/revenge movie), and then I understood how this works. Camille Keaton is quoted as being convinced to play this character because she is a nice, ordinary girl who, in the end, becomes strong and empowered. But these movies are about the rape, not the revenge. Otherwise they wouldn't feature rape, sadism, full nudity, and rape foreplay for a full 40 minutes in endless graphic detail. The first half felt like a copy of the original with nothing new to offer, the second half adds some modern gruesome torture-porn with elaborate setups in order to give the rapists their due. Maybe she will come back for revenge again when she finally realizes the film-makers were just out to exploit her.

I Spit on Your Grave 2  
Sure, why not. Let's make a sequel to a remake of an exploitation movie. We need more quality material like this. But, wait a minute: Isn't a sequel supposed to be a continuation of a story with some common characters rather than the same story in different settings and different characters? But never mind all that, this is all about exploitation. The movie-makers exploit the original movie title and its fans, and the audience exploit the actress who thinks she is in a rape-REVENGE movie rather than a RAPE-revenge movie. The settings, acting and direction are actually all quite good, and the movie makes us hate everyone so much that the revenge part of the movie almost feels like a liberation and release. But that is only because the movie takes more than half of its running time abusing its pretty model-actress with everything from serial rape, drugs and beatings, to cattle-prods, burying alive, urine, and psychological abuse. But it thinks it justifies all this because it gives her the last third to drown her abusers in feces, use a vice on testicles, and combine slashings with rotten food, and, of course, no one would dare condemn her for it. It's bad enough that the movie-makers think they justified 100 minutes of non-stop sadism and titillation by using revenge as an excuse, but, if you think about it, the actions of the abusers don't even make sense, not to mention her superwoman strength when overpowering men. But the movie doesn't exactly expect its intended audience to think, so who cares.

Johnny Sunshine Maximum Violence  
Now I know why they call this trend torture porn. This limp low-budget movie tries to be cutting-edge nastiness by depicting a future where the streets are overrun by zombies, zombie slayers that torture and kill zombies, drug-addicts, where necrophilia is a way of life, and where the most profitable and popular product is a snuff movie. In addition, a hot girl is given kinky outfits and shown having sex with her victims while torturing and killing them. Sounds like promising exploitation or a gorehounds delight? Think again. The result is so weak that the victims and zombies look the same and the protagonists aren't much livelier either, not much is shown, including the gore, the plot is mostly non-existent, making this a series of vignettes, like a porn flick without the porn.

KatieBird *Certifiable Crazy Person  
A woman drags her shrink into the bedroom for some one-on-one talk right after her father's funeral. Did I say talk? I meant rape and torture. No, she's doing the raping, and the torture is applied to both him and her, in both cases by her. See, she's a crazy sadomasochist brought up by a serial-killer father. The whole movie cuts between scenes of their intimacies, and her telling the tale of how she was brought up, and her first initiation into torture and murder. Features gruesome scenes involving a hammer and hacksaw, and even more gruesome scenes of teeth pulling, after which she tortures herself with the pulled teeth. The acting is good, the horror is gruesome, her mental state is somewhat forced, the soundtrack gets annoying, but the thing that really makes this unwatchable is the abuse, misuse and overuse of annoyingly distracting and pointless split screens throughout the whole movie.

Kidnapped  
Spanish brutal home-invasion horror movie that stunned audiences. Personally, I found everything about it so pointless, that it bored me, but I seem to be alone on this. The invaded family is one-dimensional consisting of man, controlling wife, and obnoxious teenage daughter, despite an initial character setup stage in the movie. The movie lets us know that the invaders have been doing this for a while, yet they don't seem to have a plan on how to get the money they want, one of them is a cold psycho, another is an out-of-control beast, the other a mild-hearted criminal, which makes their success as a team lose plausiblity. The plot consists of a simple home invasion falling apart in realistic and obvious ways given the above setup, but there is nothing to watch in the movie except violence. And as far as the violence is concerned, except for the ultra-realism and a brutal face-smashing scene straight out of Irreversible, it's nothing you haven't seen a million times before. Which leads me to believe that it was the combination of long, carefully-designed realistic takes, 24-esque real-time, split-screen tension, and hysterical teenage daughter (who begins to panic in the first second and gets worse by the minute) that inflicted the pain on audiences. I found her annoyingly over-the-top, and the technically adept movie brutally empty.

Last House on the Left, The (2009)  
Yet another remake of Virgin Spring. For the fourth time, two girls encounter some nasty criminals who take them to the woods and matters escalate to rape and violent sadism. In an ironic twist of fate, they find themselves at the mercy of the parents of the girl, and this leads to an even more violent second half as the parents take the law into their own hands, bringing to mind Straw Dogs. This one is a well-made slick modern horror movie with intense scenes of violence and realistic acting and escalation. But I hated this movie nevertheless for two reasons: One is that this is the third remake whereas the original didn't need any. The second is that this one has dishonest intentions. It wants to be a dramatic horror movie to be taken seriously, but films all the violence and rape with explicit zoom shots, eroticizing the rape, and exploiting the violence with gratuitous deaths by kitchen grinder and microwave. The ending is the most revealing: Instead of ending on a thoughtful note or on the faces of the traumatized victims, it goes for a gratuitous nasty revenge gore shot. This one wants to exploit its cake and eat it too.

Lost, The  
This is a 2-hour movie about a pathetically angry, insecure, sleazy, murderous, mysoginistic teenage asshole. He kills on a whim, abuses all girls he encounters (because this is a Jack Ketchum movie), and when he goes on a rampage because things don't go his way in his small-town life, there is no telling what he will do. Think of Bully, or the vastly superior Eden Lake. The only good thing I can think of to say about this movie is that the lead performance is truly vicious and possessed. Assholes don't deserve whole movies devoted to them, and they certainly don't make movies interesting. I don't see why anyone would want to waste two hours watching a character study of a jerk. Just because he killed girls?

Loved Ones, The  
You know the demented dinner scene from Texas Chainsaw Massacre? Of course you do. Well, this is like that scene expanded to a feature-length movie, with one crucial difference: With that movie, it all tied in to their obsession with slaughterhouses and you felt it was part of their madness; with this one it's just two ordinary looking people who are sadistic for no discernable reason. Yes, it's Torture Porn time again, kiddies, and no, that genre hasn't killed itself off yet for some reason. Brent is kidnapped by a girl he rejected for the prom, because that's all it takes to cook up a new torture-movie nowadays, and she and her father take turns torturing him with drills, knives, forks, salt, chemicals, and whatnot. The whole neighbourhood, as well as Brent's father, are all suffering indirectly because of this family, which somehow justifies a comic sub-plot involving a loser and his horny, self-destructive goth-girl date. It's got black humor, and the movie is well structured and filmed, but those are the only good things I can say about this one.

Macabre (AKA Darah)  
Derivative Indonesian ultra-violence that is partially a retread of the French 'Inside' with less gore, and also a variant of the backwoods genre with a twist: This time the raving killers are rich and noble-born folk instead of inbreeding hillbillies. Perhaps it says something about Indonesia that it is more afraid of its rich folk, then again, perhaps I am reading too much into it. Otherwise, it's the same old drill: A group of annoying youngsters encounter a mysterious girl that leads them to her house where a raving bloodthirsty family awaits. Besides being derivative, the victims spend the whole movie running around like stupid insects, always doing the most inappropriate things and almost never fighting back until the end when it's time for some of the killers to die, and then the killers start doing stupid things. People are butchered in various gory ways, and some die randomly, the rest keep coming back for more slashing, beheading, smashing, chainsawing, stabbing and burning until its time for the movie to end.

Man Bites Dog  
This dark Belgian hit explores the theme of the media's fascination and documentation of killers to the point where they start participating. A group of students follow a deranged killer around while he teaches them the fine arts of murder, rape, disembowelment, the killing of a child and how to get rid of bodies. In between murders, he is socially interacting and rambling on annoyingly about random subjects. Vastly overrated; Very empty sadism.

Martyrs  
Another brutal French horror movie, this one a movie of two halves: Brutal home invasion and a tale of psychological insanity in the first half, and torture-porn in the second, finding a new angle to the Hostel type of torture-horror. This time, the rich folk are after the discovery of what's in the movie title (since it's in the title, it can't be a spoiler), and they will go to extreme and merciless ends to reach it. Theoretically, this should create a visceral and at least somewhat intellectually interesting entry in the genre, but a few things destroy this possibility: First, the concept is never developed, only mentioned briefly to give the carnage an excuse. Secondly, the characters make no sense, being ridiculously stupid or inexplicably sadistic. Thirdly, the movie is too unfocused and is basically two movies in one, setting up a psychotic, traumatized killer for the first half, only to drop it as a pointless dead end and veer into a completely different movie for the second half. The ending teases with yet another undeveloped idea that seems interesting at first, but which doesn't improve what came before if you think it through. In short, it's just another useless and contrived nasty torture movie only with superficial pretensions of deeper meaning, and it lacks the minimal black humor of Hostel.

Meat Grinder  
Thai female serial killer movie featuring a woman who solves all of her problems, big or small, by chopping people up and serving them inside her noodle brews. Of course, since she's a woman, it's not her fault, but the fault of her family who abused and raped her in endless ways, and her insane mother who decided to be her daughter's only positive influence by bringing her up to be a good little serial killer. So for the duration of the whole movie, we get a series of gory choppings, slicings, carvings and piercings mixed with sex, rape, incest, and constant, horribly confusing intercut flashbacks and flash-forwards. A terrible copy-and-paste job focusing on violent exploitation that tries to pass off as a meaningful social message.

Morituris  
Hailed as a return of old-school Italian horror but this could only be true if old-school Italian horror consists of 80 minutes of extreme misogyny. Because that is all this movie is about: Endless scene after scene of gratuitous brutal abuse of women. First, these two girls are taken into the forest by three vile rapists who are pretending it is a friendly encampment in the woods until it is time for their sport. Then we get endless rape, rape with scissors, brutal beating, etc. Then that gets old, so some cool-looking but nonsensical zombie gladiators reminiscent of the Blind Dead appear to show them how it is really done with very savage ripping of flesh, crucifixions, face-smashing, and so on. Talk about a movie not earning its violence...

Mother's Day (2010)  
Bousman has really directed one too many Saw sequels because it obviously has turned his brain into mush. This movie is full of sadism for its own sake, people turned against each other just for fun, normal people having ridiculously vicious secrets, and every single average human always chooses self-preservation over anything viciously nasty they are asked to do. All this transplanted into a home invasion movie which is supposed to be about a control-freak mother who gets her boys to do her dirty work for her. It's like he can't stop making Saw movies. Another thing you need to know is that this is a scraping-the-bottom-of-the-barrel remake of a terrible, campy, backwoods Troma horror movie, except it only re-uses the basic concept of a mother getting herself and her boys whatever they need in violent ways (including an unwilling naked chick when required). The main actors are unconvincing, especially when their convoluted motives emerge, including De Mornay as the mother. The result of all this? An unintentional laugh-a-minute bomb of a movie with shoehorned sadism that isn't even as gory as the tiresome Saw franchise.

Mum & Dad  
So now the British are doing it too? A girl working at the airport finds herself abducted and kept as a pet by a very sick family that live by scavenging off the airport and airport people. The Dad has a perverse sexual thing for raw meat and tends to explode in anger and sadistic, nasty violence. The Mum is into mutilating and torturing her human pets. Other 'members' of the family are forced into this way of life due to years of abuse and lack of options. The movie would be quite effective demented horror like Texas Chainsaw Massacre, except, because of the lack of background and perhaps also the choice of actors, it is never convincing and feels nasty just for the sake of being nasty.

Neighbor  
Torture-Porn has never been this pointless. There's this ditzy chick that goes around invading homes and torturing everyone in it in the most gruesome ways just for the fun of it while she enjoys abusing and eating the contents of their house. Presumably because she is as bored as the director of this movie. This guy is planning a party and took mushrooms, so he and we are never sure if what is happening is real, in the past, or actually happening now, but after a few repetitive flips of reality, we don't care anymore, especially since there is no point to this confusion either. So the only thing left is the very graphic gore and torture involving drills, worms, hacksaws, needles, taking apart of a knee cap, and other nasties. The movie is campy and seems to have been intended as a comedy, but it isn't funny, so what's the point?

Offspring  
Another pointlessly grotesque and messy film adaptation from Jack Ketchum. This one features a commune of feral cannibals that are so nihilistic and murderously aggressive, that it is impossible to believe that they would survive for this long amongst civilized society. Not to mention that they are laughably unconvincing in bad wigs, over-the-top acting, grunting communication skills, shaved legs and all. The movie is short and dives right in as a family tries to survive an encounter with these feral cannibals while the police hunt them down. As this is Ketchum, this setup isn't enough, so we get gratuitous vagina eating, little kids doing brutal gory things, little kids being killed, a self-flagellating cannibal-pixie girl (who looks like she just finished conditioning and brushing her hair), rape of a captive old man, and feral-baby breast-suckling (how does a baby become feral exactly?). These movies are definitely not encouraging me to read a Ketchum novel.

Pathology  
Just another one of those movies with a group of hot-looking, arrogant and very bland youngsters in a fantasy world where they are all geniuses without any effort required. Except that here they are disturbed and despicable pathologists that like to play a game where they kill people in convoluted ways just so their peers can guess how they did it while getting high and having kinky sex. So this goes beyond murder: Dead bodies are played with, abused, ripped apart in autopsies in random disturbing scenes designed only to shock, like when they cut the 'poop-tube' or play puppets with the cadavers. Sex is mixed with death and murder like something out of Crash, and they all pull perfect theories out of their butts without performing any work, while their superiors conveniently bow out of the way. The gore is nasty but borderline extreme. The protagonist of the movie, who is even less likeable than the group, gets involved in these games until, predictably, things get out hand. A waste of time.

Penance  
Torture, strippers, and a Blair Witch/Rec cinematic style of 'cinéma-vérité'. I'm sure the makers thought they were being clever. This stupid film tells the stoy of a mom who was 'forced' to become a stripper due to financial problems. Cue a stripper training montage, and before you know it, she finds herself in the hands of a wacko who wants to teach strippers moral lessons a la Saw. The psychological abuse and torture isn't too graphic but it fills most of the movie and includes genital mutilation. For some illogical reason, they all pass the camera between themselves and are compelled to film everything, and the actors and motivations are all poor.

Perfect House, The  
Anthology of three gruesome and sadistic murders committed by various psychos. Except that these film-makers decided we don't need the horror story and buildup anymore. Why bother with an actual movie when you can simply show three nasty climaxes of horror movies together, like porn scenes? A couple planning to buy a creepy house is the wrapper, and then we get three short movies about nasty things that happened in the basement. One idiotic short is about nasty parents playing favorites with their two children, leading to surprise secrets and murders. The second short is just another cliched movie about a serial killer and his long-suffering victim in the basement, who both 'entertain' a new victim every week for some sadistic games and gruesome torture. The third is about a next-door neighbour that decides he hates his neighbours so much, he will give them some brutal moral 'lessons' such as making two little boys fight themselves to death and causing a splattery mess with a hated gardening tool. Whatever. When you decide to make a real movie instead of a highlight reel, let me know.

Pig  
Plotless hillbilly nastiness that, like August Underground, just points the camera at an insane, giggling psycho and his antics with his inbred family at his trailer home in the woods. He babbles endlessly, bursts into sudden bouts of violence as he beats and cuts up his family of inbred, insane pregnant women and daughters, has some fun with urination, cannibalism and rape, and frequently washes himself in between. But, as opposed to that movie, this doesn't feature extreme, creative gore and the acting is so over-the-top that they are almost never believable. Uniquely, the movie is presented as one long take with much improvised insanity and a few hidden cuts when a gory special effect is needed, but seeing as this is just a lot of improvised overacting, I am not impressed. A normal character might have helped a bit as a contrasting anchor. The twist ending of this experiment catches you completely off guard and makes you think for a bit, but after 90 minutes of extreme boredom, this tiny and mostly nonsensical provocation is just not enough.

Red Cell, The  
Wow, it doesn't get worse than this. Imagine a 10 year old's version of a Saw clone with no budget. The setting is a basement with cardboard walls where a teenager with cancer is 'locked up', forced to undergo somewhat gory home-surgery with drills and surgical knives, mind-games by his captor and hallucinations involving another victim who may or may not have gouged his eye out. We are never sure of what is really happening and the captor claims he is there to save him. The acting is horrible, the plot twists predictably from the start, the lighting is terrible, and every second feels cliched and copied from other movies.

Rest Stop: Don't Look Back  
Even ghosts are hopping onto the torture porn bandwagon I see. What's next, vampires will put aside their fangs and saw people to death just because it's popular? This stupid sequel to a poor movie has some army dude and his girlfriend track down his lost brother, thus providing more fodder for butchery. They get stuck in a supernatural loop in the same rest stop, where ghosts appear just to drill holes into your flesh, and backwoods preachers and their entourage of freaks pray for your soul before gouging out your eyes. The level of torture gore is increased over the first movie which was borderline-extreme, but the obviousness of the writer's commercial unoriginality and audience manipulation is the same.

Sadisticum  
Underground German torture movie by Sebastian Radtke who probably watched one too many torture-porn movies. The 'protagonist' is a pathetic insecure man who lashes out whenever he is humiliated or attacked, and when he unleashes his wrath, he finds it makes him powerful and alive. Before you know it, he declares himself a master of torture and gives a course in torture with live victims and audience. Even the police are ineffective against this megalomaniac for no good reason other than that he is on an ego trip. A dull movie with unimaginative torture scenes offering some gruesome gore inflicted by various tools, and the idea and narrative is so undeveloped that it feels like half a movie.

Saw 4  
While the first three felt like a self-contained, continuous and inventive trilogy, this one is just the studios milking the cow and creating an endless franchise a la Nightmare on Elm Street. In a stupid plot development, the Jigsaw killer is dead but is still calling the shots, making people torture each other to learn life lessons with elaborate contraptions setup in advance while potential proteges do his post-mortem bidding. Not only is this concept beyond contrivance, it's all by the numbers now: Another year, another set of brutal torture contraptions, by now dull, with weak writing, some tangential background on the Jigsaw killer, some forced attempts to tie it all together by simply cutting the movie together with scenes from other movies, and an over-the-top gory autopsy as a prologue, all inconsequential, unbelievable and unsurprising. By far the worst in the series.

Saw 5  
The franchise is now lost in brainless sequels, getting around the death of its killer by using the dual-approach of showing more backstory with events that occur before the events that occur in the previous movie, as well as showing post-mortem followers trying to continue the killer's work with endless surprises. This is as ridiculous as it sounds, the killer now reaching God-like status, knowing everything about people that even the FBI doesn't know, and planning ahead quadruple backup plans that predict everyone's moves without any mistakes. This time there is a good-cop-bad-cop game as they try to out-think each other while 5 people are locked in a room with elaborate games designed to teach them co-operation. The gore and nastiness is relatively very subdued, making this more palatable, and the games actually get entertaining at times, like a Fear-Factor episode, only with death. This ridiculous game-show approach shows itself with a simple example: A machine is setup to collect the contestants' blood to unlock a door. It could have used a simple needle, but instead they have to insert their arms into buzzsaws. In addition, they don't even think to cut themselves up more neatly, or even to use urine and saliva instead.

Saw VI  
I don't blame the studios for making another idiotic sequel, they only want money. I blame you for watching this, thus encouraging them to do it. This is so formulaic by now, I don't even have to review it. More convoluted nonsensical flashbacks, more cleverly designed but idiotically conceived Fear-Factor contraptions with gruesome results that must have taken an army of workers to build over many months rather than a handful of people in their time off, more ridiculous life-lessons to learn, more yawning. I watch these to complete my encyclopedia. What's your excuse?

Saw 3D  
The profits were starting to fall so marketing kicks in with a 'grand finale' and a 3D label, and it worked. You idiots. There will be more, because it is still making a profit. Sequels, prequels, sidequels, interquels, reboots, specials, and eventually supernatural plot twists. Why stop? The opening features a game involving a love triangle straight out of a soap opera, only it involves buzzsaws and a gaping crowd. A new low, but amusingly appropriate for such a dumb show that panders to its audience. This one has increased energy, appearances by survivors from previous games, more contraptions and games, and more splatter than I remember from the previous outings, but that is probably because they wanted to fling some blood at the audience in 3D. But the writing is the same idiotic stuff with nonsensical twists, an omnipotent dead killer predicting everyone's moves perfectly for years ahead, game participants that never think out of the box, etc. But who cares about the story? This is Fear-Factor with gore, sadism and deaths. Our gladiator arena for braindead audiences.

Scar  
Horror film-writers in Hollywood seem to be scrambling for the next new sadistic idea to hop on the torture bandwagon, making up a new excuse and horrific psychological context to display graphic torture. This movie had one of those ideas. Unfortunately that's all it had. This is a dumb, severely cliched slasher movie revolving around a sadistic killer in the morgue and his presumed return years later when teenagers start disappearing again. The survivor of the previous killing spree provides the drama. As for the gimmick: The killer gorily and nastily tortures girls in pairs, allowing them to end the torture by telling him to kill the other girl. There. Now you don't have to see this boringly nasty movie.

Seed  
Uwe Boll jumping on the torture-porn bandwagon. A serial killer who killed 666 people is captured by the law, which fails to kill him after three attempts in the electric chair but instead of setting him free, they bury the whole thing and hope for the best. This terrible movie starts with some completely gratuitous footage of brutality against animals, then some footage from the serial killer who has time-delay stop-motion fun with his various jailed and dying victims, then for most of the movie it becomes a boring, dimly-lit slasher movie vs. laughably stupid cops, with only one torture scene of the killer slowly bashing a woman's head with a hammer for 5 whole minutes (both relentlessly gruesome and pointlessly lame at the same time). It only starts getting horrifically intense at the dark ending, but by then it's over.

She's Crushed  
Fatal Attraction, the torture-porn version? Hardly. The psycho-possessive woman in this movie is so over-the-top and one-dimensional, that she is more boring or funny than scary. It's like some teenage boy's version of what a psycho-stalker woman would behave like. The plot is so predictable, there is no point describing it. What would a psycho-woman do to a man she wants who already has a girlfriend, friends and a kid? See, you know the movie already. Except here, there is a lot of gratuitous torture and death as well. One scene features about seven different grotesque, sadistic things one can do to the same set of toes. Ridiculous pulp, with terrible sound to boot.

Sick Girl  
Now that you've seen the title of this movie, you know all there is to know about this boringly sick movie, as if someone decided to see how many sick things he can get a girl to do on screen. Izzy is left alone to raise her little brother after her big brother joins the marines. She makes incestual advances towards her brother, urinates on a nun for no good reason, then starts killing or torturing anyone who impresses her the wrong way, including kid bullies, her brother's girlfriend, random horny guys that hit on her, and girls that make fun of her. The tortures include breaking a kid's bones and turning him into a Christmas tree, letting a rat eat someone's face, and for the climax, raping a girl with a spike and severed penis. See, now I've spoiled the whole movie because there's nothing else left to talk about. Local law enforcement seems to be non-existent, there is no character insight or reason for the sadism, no real plot, and although the lead actress has an unusual face, she can't act, making this boring.

Snuff 102  
Slasher movie cliched story meets August Underground with a sprinkle of intellectual provocation. Most of the movie shows very extreme and realistically graphic snuff gore and nastiness as a psycho tortures, rapes, carves, hammers, slices, chops and slashes his female victims for his video collection which is numbered 101, 102, etc. The rest of the movie deals with a student doing research into snuff and visual violence, a professor who talks about the social and psychological aspects, and some pointless back-stories on how the girls got into the clutches of the butcher. Features very gritty and grainy cinematography and a pounding industrial soundtrack. Although it sounds like the ultimate nasty horror movie and it actually does get quite intense, I found that it doesn't add up to anything. The plot is uninteresting, the horror is just endless nastiness, and the professor makes uninteresting and idiotic statements like "women have always been objectified as body parts" and "porn is snuff because the camera reduces women to body parts".

Somebody Help Me  
A by-the-numbers teenage slasher movie coupled with a torture-porn movie, neither of them offering anything new or good. Some youngsters stay in a cabin, they start disappearing, they start dying. Before they die, their faces are taken apart surgically and graphically for no particular reason. The writers didn't bother to do anything but cash in on these genres. This is the kind of movie you forget as soon as the credits roll.

Stoic  
Uwe Boll directs a focused movie based on real events where some prison cell-mates suddenly decided to abuse their fellow cell-mate in increasingly disgusting and sadistic ways, until it got way out of hand. The whole movie takes place in two locations: The prison cell and the interrogation cell. The abuse starts with toothpaste and progresses to sickening body fluids, violence and brutal rape. The acting isn't bad, but the biggest problem is with the lack of convincing realism. This movie wants us to believe that it happened due to some kind of mystical 'group psychosis', or, alternatively, it wants to blame the system for locking them up together, or some lame excuse like that. It's not like the sadism built up gradually as in Lord of the Flies. This just came out of nowhere, leading me to speculate that they were probably just violent animals to begin with, or they held a grudge, or got into a fight. But then the movie wouldn't be so interesting now would it? Then again, this one wasn't interesting either.

Strangeland  
Dee Snider attempts to cash in on the Silence of the Lambs trend by coming up with a new sadistic killer who is obsessed with piercings, pain and stalking over the internet while trying to discuss this philosophically. But this movie only comes off as an obviously inferior clone despite its disturbing, creepiness factor and the graphic brutality.

Super, The  
If you find yourself complaining that they don't make grindhouse like they used to, then this is the movie to watch. The cinematography, gritty and seedy atmosphere, and most importantly, the character development, are all here. Unfortunately, at least for me, this is a failed attempt because it wants to provide modern-style gratuitous shock, violence, sleaze and torture and still eat its cake too. See, the superintendent is that old overused excuse for anything twisted and violent: A damaged Vietnam veteran. He wants to be nice to his wife and tenants, but every little thing seems to make him fly into a rage, and violence ensues. He finds himself allied with a Russian Dominatrix tenant and her criminal acquiantances, all with a liking for sadism and killing, and the violence starts getting out of control. All this would have been enough, but the movie adds snuff films, forced cross-dressing necrophilia, various sexual perversions, graphic eye-gouging and more, all of which the superintendent calmly enjoys, clashing with the conflicted character setup of the movie. This is not only gratuitous, but kills the main character development of the movie. Also features not one twist ending, but two. Less is more, guys.

Tattoo  
A German Se7en clone that not only offers nothing new, it has a nonsensical premise concerning a twisted fascination with tattoos, and especially the skin they are imprinted on. It even has a moody detective and a young apprentice tracking down gruesome deaths, and the movie piles on the visuals with gratuitous mutilated corpses in a morgue, skinned victims, a sewer, gruesome gifts in a box, and even a burned corpse with an intact breast. Stylish and atmospheric, but predictable, dull and brainless.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning, The  
Watching this piece of nasty brutality, I found myself wondering why I enjoyed the plotless, filthy, brutal Devil's Rejects but not this. The answer was simple: Style, dark humor and character. This prequel to a tiresome remake of a classic horror movie with 3 bad sequels has no excuse. It serves up another collection of teenagers for the slaughter, then slaughters them gorily and sadistically. It builds up some tension and terror at times, then dashes it with stupid behaviour, scenes of a skimpily-dressed girl crawling, and unfunny camp that caters to fans of the serial killer Leatherface. The typical stupid-girl formula is matched by an even stupider macho-scene involving a young man trying to prove himself to a killer through push-ups. It promises some back-story, then runs through the most idiotic setup: Leatherface uses a chainsaw just because it was there, and the family eats humans because they're poor and hungry, while a fat cow wanders around the streets smashing up cars. Useless and undeserved extreme violence.

Thrill of a Kill, The  
The opening dream-sequence is the only good thing about this very uninspired and dull movie that uses every possible cliche about a serial killer. The killer's silly background involving hatred for his slut mother is told in flashbacks, but mostly, this is just some fat guy sadistically playing and killing young girls. There's even a repetitive scene where he appears out of nowhere, bashes her over the head, strips her and leaves her in the forest just so this whole sequence can be repeated and we can watch her collect her clothes repeatedly. All this should spell out some kind of comedy, except it isn't funny and the movie just keeps going endlessly with random humiliations, sadistic bloody carvings and slashings, cannibalism, rape and various sexual perversions. The splatter is borderline, but the sadism would be extreme if it weren't so dull and unrealistic.

Tortured, The  
The makers of this movie are so eager to torture someone on screen, that they contrive a scenario where a child is tortured and killed by a despicable maniac just in order to justify their ambitions. They then rush through the clumsy setup, write painful cliches as the dialog, hire bad actors to chew the scenery in forced and annoying melodrama, and finally slow down when they reaches their intended goal: The chance to use up all of their limited creativity in torture scenes involving angry parents who happen to be doctors, using medical jargon to come up with grisly sadism. After it climaxes in gruesome torture scenes, the movie gets a guilt trip and wants to moralize, so it adds a heavy-handed and very stupid twist that makes no sense and is impossible if you think about it for 2 seconds. This is worse than a complete waste of time, it is an insult by sadistic movie makers.

Torturer, The  
Lamberto Bava's comeback movie may be technically nice to look at but combines the worst aspects of a dull Pinku with an over-emphasis on nasty torture, and a dumb giallo with a random surprise killer and idiotic Freudian psychology. Dumb girls are being auditioned; Dumb girls are made to undress; Dumb girls are being tortured to death; Guess who is the perpetrator. Bottom of the barrel recycled plot, not enough nudity, no interesting gore.

Train  
"Hostel on a train with much more gore" just about sums this one up, except it's so empty-headed, badly acted and pointless that it makes Hostel look like a masterpiece. Young American wrestlers on a tour in Russia go to a party (cue the programmed sex and nudity), then embark on a special train, only to find it is run by a group of organ harvesters. Except these guys and gals don't simply drug you and steal your organs, they, for no good reason whatsoever, beat you to a bloody pulp with brass knuckles, urinate on you, slice open your back and hammer your spine to stop you from squirming, then pull out your eyeball or penis all the while you're still unrealistically alive and screaming, then they move on to the next victim to get a different organ from him instead of harvesting them all from the same person. This one is so gruesome, it managed to be both a gorehound movie and a torture-porn movie, except it is so incompetent that it is never scary, just boring sadistic gore. I hate you Eli Roth.

Turnpike Killer, The  
Early, grainy, retro serial-killer flick from the makers of The Super, modeled after Maniac and the like. A heavily muscled man is capturing women for torture and death at the behest of an inner voice talking about sins, chosen ones and other nonsense. He turns on the charm one minute, then suddenly is a creepy stalker, turning psychotic over stupid little things and his own delusions. Most of the gore is off-screen, but it is nasty and gritty nevertheless. One scene features him abusing and then killing a young couple in front of each other and teasing him with her intestines. There are serious lighting and sound issues, the acting ranges from barely passable to poor, and the movie as a whole is just boring, uninspired exploitation.

Unforgiving, The  
South African movie with 75 movies of constant violence backed by a non-linear puzzle that has to be restructured by the audience regarding who is after whom and when it all happened. This may sound good, except that the presentation of the puzzle and its clues in initial scenes are purposely misleading and are basically lies told to the audience. In addition, there are a couple of twists, at least one of which makes no sense. The soundtrack consists of constantly overblown punctuated sound, as if the directors thought that every scene is a climax, which of course gets annoying very quickly. The dialog is painfully bad, the gore is minimal despite the constant violence and some torture scenes involving a huge drill. And finally, the whole movie is filmed in close-up shaky-cam so that your eyes have had enough after ten minutes. In short, unwatchable.

Woman, The  
Another collaboration between Jack Ketchum and Lucky McKee, and yet another undisciplined, unconvincing mess. A sadistic father and son combo dominate and abuse every woman they come across, to the most sadistic extremes they can think of, because we all know that's how men are. Get a clue people: It's not misogynistic when men are portrayed as abusing women, it's misandrist. The father finds a feral women in the forest and brings her home as a pet, forcing his wife, son and daughters to join him in his pet project, except, of course, he has obvious ulterior motives. Gender hatred, fear, sexual aggression and sadism ensue. McIntosh's performance as the wild woman wavers between ferociously gripping and laughably 'I am woman hear me roar', as if the director told her to act like a woman about to bite a man, rather than a woman brought up by wolves. The movie can't seem to decide whether this is a sequel of Offspring and therefore she is the last surviving member of a cannibal commune, or whether she was raised by wolves. It also doesn't help that she was found wearing clothes, is too flabby to be living off the forest, and for some reason, decided to shave her armpits and legs. The surprise ending further undermines this mess of a movie that has its moments, but which, in the end, is just a movie that wants to push buttons without earning them.




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