Here is a movie that knows how to confuse. It isn’t a bad movie at all; it’s a rather compelling story about a serial killer; Silence of the Lambs style, but with the flair of Small Town Europe. So let’s start with the story. A Berlin cop named Seiler manages to capture serial killer Gabriel Engel, who confesses the murder of 14 boys. During the investigation, it turns out that Engel was in the area where a 12 years old girl was killed, in a small village outside Berlin. The country cop Michael Martens is brought in to help interrogate Engel and find out if he also killed the girl.
What irritates me will likely not irritate someone who doesn’t speak German or is familiar with German language TV in general. First of all, it seems very odd that German A-listers – most notably Wotan Wilke Möhring as Martens and Heinz Hoenig as Seiler – are the key players, yet Norman Reedus (who plays a cop with no lines who is in the movie for roughly 3 minutes) is listed in the opening credits. Why is he even there? I don’t understand. However, this is just a small distraction, considering the screentime he has and the complete length of the movie (just above 2 hours).
André Hennicke is just great as Gabriel Engel, but he would also be great as… Jürgen Milski. For context: Jürgen Milski’s claim to fame is coming in second in the first German season of Big Brother, a lifetime ago, after which he moved on to a C-list “celeb” for no particular activity. His career includes some party animation on Mallorca and “Ballermann-Parties” and appearances on shows like Dancing with the Stars, I’m a celebrity – Get me out of here, celeb cooking shows and hosting a call-in quiz show. It is confusing as hell if the depraved child killer is a dead ringer for a the archetype of a carnival cruise DJ. And this is why I say André Hennicke does a hell of a job in this movie – he’s convincing as killer despite having a lookalike like that.
The last quite irritating point only comes up for German native speakers – it’s Seiler, the seasoned city cop, who exclusively speaks in slang terms. I have no idea what the writers were thinking here. You simply don’t hear cops refer to DNA evidence as “the jizz of that sick cumfuck”. At absolutely no point does this character talk like an actual cop, or even a regular person – it seems like an attempt to be gritty and grizzled, but it sounds like a 9 years old kid trying to get a reaction from teachers by using vulgar terms. This is very distracting, and if I wouldn’t find it even worse to watch dubbed movies, I would have switched to English during the movie.
Famous Last Words: Surprisingly good movie that manages to overcome most of the irritating things, but not all.
Frankly, one of the weaker Lovecraftian remakes. The cast and acting is nice, but I really can’t get over the effects in this one. Yes, it’s a TV movie, so I should be forgiving, so I’m not saying it’s total trash and unwatchable. It’s sort of entertaining, but still – the comical green glowing and the tentacles just stand out as awful. Also, I’m super lazy today, so I just leave it at that.
Famous Last Words: Not every movie needs a remake.
For Christmas, I decided to watch something quiet, tranquil and less gory than ususal – a movie based upon the case of Andrei Chikatilo, the most prolific serial killer in the Soviet Union. “Citizen X” does a wonderful job here; the cast is excellent and the atmosphere transports the frustration of the investigators, yet isn’t frustrating to watch.
In the very beginning, I feared the movie would make the common mistake to slap fake accents on everyone, but luckily this isn’t the case and the few instances where a Russian accent comes through are believable. Unlike the various true crime documentaries that feel the need to have English voice overs with a thick accent to translate the native speakers. Seriously, what the hell? But that has nothing to do with the movie. That I kept thinking “what if Chikatilo was played by Brad Douriff? Would that make the movie even better?” may be relevant, and I can answer it with “na, it’s fine as it is”.
Famous Last Words: A better documentary than actual documentaries – recommended.
This is what comes out if you crossbreed Jeffrey Dahmer, Carrie and the Overly Attached Girlfriend meme. It is not neccessarily a good thing.
There is Lana, Lara, Laura, Lorna or something, who asks Ben to go to the school ball with her, and learns that Ben is going with his girlfriend Holly, Molly or Hailey. This leads Lana-Lara-Laura-Lorna’s dad to kidnap Ben, play school ball at home for his daughter, and this results in the attempt to drill a hole in Ben’s head and boil his brain with hot water to make him “one of them”. “Them”, in this case, is Laura-Lorna’s mother (?), a zombie-like creature who apparently already underwent this procedure. And possibly the cannibal freaks living in the basement.
So far, so good. It’s not such a bad premise to have a deranged teenage girl creating a braindead homecoming king. However, this movie tries too hard to be smarter than such a story allows. It begins with Ben killing his father in a car crash caused by a bloodcovered boy standing on the road. This boy turns out to be the brother of the goth metal chick Ben’s chubby stoner friend takes to the actual school ball. And the son of the (seemingly only) cop searching for Ben after he fails to pick up Holly-Molly-Hailey. This subplot adds absolutely nothing to the story. Chubby Stoner and Goth Metal Chick add some awkward sex’n’drugs scenes that are irrelevant and not even neccessary to get a higher rating. The torture scenes involving Ben are perfectly enough to qualify this movie as something between mild torture porn and rape’n’revenge with a male victim.
The stupidity highlight reel shows Ben trying to escape by climbing on a freaking tree, and the kidnapper duo throwing stones at him until he falls down; the incredible coincidence of a perfectly functional flashlight just happening to be in the basement when Ben is thrown in there, and the rather random incest implications that just scream “we’re working down a list labeled CONTROVERSIAL THEMES”.
Famous Last Words: Nice try, but nothing more.
Promising idea – some mysterious scientist kidnaps a bunch of people who have to torture each other to release a certain amount of brain liquids that are only released when experiencing extreme pain. Though this does have the more interesting angle of torture porn – unwilling torturers doing what has to be done to survive – it sadly makes some big mistakes. First, the abduction of the group of friends is ridicolous. Instant K.O. perfume? Oh come on. Second, pretty much everyone is way too easily on board with “alright, let’s just torture this guy”. Third, despite a few characters standing out for having a personality, they are ultimately mostly forgettable and I couldn’t put a name to each face most of the time. And last but not least, the plot twist and… let’s call it the attempt of a classic rape’n’revenge ending, underlined the absurdity of the brain implants premise. The unplugging and collecting of the bottles was too unrealistic – up to this point, it was possible to suspend disbelief and not question the implants too much, and the torture, injuries and consequences were believable.
All in all, it’s probably one of the better movies in this category due to little time spent with building up the doomed characters, an acceptable death toll and generally moderate, realistic gore, but still stays behind the expectations.
Famous Last Words: Nothing special.
Christ on a bike, what a shitty movie. 80 full minutes with airheads: uninspired kills, inconsistant “story”telling with no logic or structure, acting on soap opera level, shaky camera to obscure the underwhelming effects, a pseudo-BDSM theme and painfully stupid cardboard cutout cliché characters.
Maybe I can’t appreciate dumb chicks in bikinis enough, maybe I lack of the ability (or desire) to even attempt to keep 5 near identical looking strippers apart, maybe I’m just jaded. But I simply can’t see any redeeming qualities in a movie where absolutely no-one notices that one of the various killers wears a handsome-human rubbermask over his Freddy Kruger pizza face; people apparently change their names at will, everyone has a surprise sibling and the attempt to make sense of it all in a wooden epilogue police report fails horribly by adding more “background” to random, previously unimportant “characters” than the first 76 minutes.
So, umm. Story. 6 strippers get hired to do a fetish movie in a house by a lake. Some dude is there as a host. There is some violence; some pseudo-reasons (“mutilation as artform”), much confusion who is who and why they are there and how they know each other; various other guys and possibly two or three previously never mentioned women and everyone is somehow the killer, related to the killer or the victims, of which most – disappointingly – survive. After all that, a failed “edgy” final scene of a girl going insane. Or whatever.
Famous Last Words: Someone misunderstood “torture porn” – it’s supposed to be a genre that treats violence like a porn film treats sex; exploitative, sensationalist, unapologetic and uncensored. It is NOT supposed to be a genre that has strippers, a lame fetish theme and is a pain to watch. And that’s exactly what “Experiment in Torture” is – could as well be titled “Experiment in Viewer Patience”.
In this movie, two of my favorite things in the horror genre come together: Jeffrey Combs and torture porn. What could go wrong? I don’t know, because “Would You Rather?” did everything right.
Iris has a brother in need of a donor organ and a lot of debt, which is why she agrees to the strange offer an associate of her doctor makes: She can participate in a “game” played on a diner party of his “foundation”, if she wins, all her problems will go away. For similar reasons – mostly, crushing debt – an illustrous group of seven other people also accepted this offer. It soon turns out the game isn’t as harmless as they thought, as the excentric millionaire enjoys making people do horrible things to themselves and other players.
Perfect premise; the tension is always better if normal people do awful things to save their skin than a deranged psychopath who does awful things just to be a deranged psychopath and “because”. The 8 victims have distinctive personalities, different strategies and ideas of survival and team spirit and the likeable ones are actually likeable. I’m not quite sure where they were trying to go with the doctor’s attempt to save Iris, or the jerk son’s existance, but those are minor issues and easily overlooked by the well-paced “game rounds”.
Famous Last Words: Excellent, not overly gory, yet delightfully unsettling torture porn – recommended.