Animalistic (aka We Are Monsters) 2015
Directors – Sonny Laguna, Tommy Wiklund
Writers – David Liljeblad, Sonny Laguna and Tommy Wiklund
Runtime 83 minutes
A Stockholm Syndrome Film
Wild Eye Releasing
Hanna Oldenburg stars as an Australian oil company representative travelling abroad to seal a partnership. After an initial signing her work-cation takes an abrupt plummet into something other than relaxation and enjoyment when she finds herself in a taxicab heading to an unscheduled stop and a driver with a ferocious sexual appetite and a nefarious agenda.
Sans tossing spoilers wily-nily like breadcrumbs from the hands of a pair of terrified, lost in the woods, Fairytale land adolescents I’ll skip to all one needs to really know… But don’t confuse this with the Tigers in her bed part 2 book with the same moniker.
Back on track… There’s a cabin in the woods (isn’t there always?), a serial killer, his mentally incapacitated companion (“I like them their french fried potatoes”), brutal rapes aplenty and dubbing which might allude to the possibility that Hugh Jackman may have made an uncredited film in between various Wolverine and numerous musical entries listed on his IMDB page.
The film takes a while to get going, in which time the viewer might notice the films main stars stunning similarity to Anna Farris. However, from the very first it illuminates the senses with an unmistakable Grindhouse-esque vibe.
Overdubbed and boasting an epic unrelenting soundtrack/score (which in instances borders on snnoying) it aims to please, shock and titillate. Though oftentimes what it offers glaringly points towards its more than obvious influences. The middle of no-wheres-ville location and shaky, no frills, unflinching camera work makes anyone familiar with the rape/revenge genre think of both Day of the Woman (better known as I Spit on your Grave) and Wes Cravens first foray into the genre market – The Last House on the Left. Although one can’t count out the fact that it also runs along much the same guidelines as another (much earlier) film in the same genre, also produced in Sweden, Thriller (aka They Call her one Eye).
Predictable for anyone familiar with cinema of this ilk Animalistic oftentimes features what feels like a checklist of things not to do when you’ve kidnapped someone for purposes of your own deviant amusement. For instance, you would never (underline or bold this word) state…stay here. I’ll be right back…(umm, yea sure) and repeat the word bitch and whore when you should be repenting at the hands of your soon-to-be executioner.
Animalistic isn’t without its share of nastiness, other than, obviously, its sequences of molestation, creepiness and unwelcome insertion. Grisly practical effects are also on hand to whet the appetites of the gore hounds among us. Surprisingly the effects boasted are effective and of the calibre to make the viewer squirm in instances.
One scene is reminiscent of a sequence in Eli Roth’s Hostel though taken to another level entirely with its intensity, another reminds me of the feature Tuck and Dale versus Evil (hopefully I got that title right).
Ultra creepy and difficult to watch at times Animalistic deserves more than its abysmally low score on IMDB and isn’t just the normal run-of-the-mill rape/revenge flick which it may appear to be to the casual viewer. It boasts grisly atmosphere, a gritty aura and a genuine air of nastiness, helped out considerably by Ralf Beck’s stunning performance as the psychotic, though stoic, Jim and Hanna’s portrayal of someone who’s been broken to the point of madness and beyond. Many have attempted the same though have only failed at obtaining and mixing the required ingredients to unlock the mysterious same effect.
Naturally, Animalistic sports numerous faults. It doesn’t feature Bianca Bradley, of Wyrmwood fame which the artwork might suggest (ok, perhaps a little) and it isn’t as polished and stylish as it could be, although the raw aspect fits the film and subject matter making it more relateable. With this in mind I believe it still fares better than the majority of others with much the same premise and this is why I’m supporting it and applaud Wild Eye Releasing (in giving it the light of day in distributing it to a wider audience) by giving it a reccommendation. But don’t say I didn’t warn ya, it is hard to watch at times warranting a viewing outside of a church or even a family gathering.
Doll Syndrome (2014)
Director – Domiziano Delvaux Cristopharo
Writer – Andrea Cavaletto
Runtime – 95 minutes
The Enchanted Architect
Wild Eye Releasing
When you see sprayed ejaculate in the opening five minutes of a film that isn’t an adult film, perse’, you know you’re about to dragged down an unforgiving steep gradient in the viewing experience to follow. But when it’s a feature from none other than the celebrated director of Flesh Mannequins and Red Krokodil you might expect no less.
Doll Syndrome’s main character, referred to simply as “him” in the films credits, is emotionless, expressionless and robotic though this could well be blamed on his medication. Continued vomiting suggest internal issues with the medication or it could be the pain of insufferable existence? Dream sequences/out of body experiences depict him going about his daily duties without a spark of emotion. He combats his seemingly mundane existence through participation in various hobbies and devout religious study. Who am I kidding? He chooses instead to scar and mutilate himself in order to feel ‘something’.
It’s all to no avail however, and he finds himself becoming infatuated, a mental state which develops, in no time whatsoever, beyond obsession with a character known simply as “she” whom he studies relentlessly whenever he is able. A relentless synth rock soundtrack adds to the films aura adding to its unnerving nature. The film also features deafening silence, not a single word is uttered within its entirety, although sounds issue from everything but its characters this element adds to the films presence and powerful feel. The film progresses and goes from simply strange, featuring vivid close ups, extended unflinching shots with attention to the minutest of detail, to outright deviant (and bizarre in moments). Sequences on display include but are not limited to self pleasuring oneself while tongue bathing an unwashed toilet seat, relations with a partner whose most personal of items includes a puncture kit, urinating on oneself, chowing down on cigarette butts, self mutilation of the genitals and handiwork with a stapler.
This is squirmy, squeamish stuff folks and these visuals aren’t meant for those easily disturbed. This is a rough film on the senses and not one that’ll not soon be forgotten no matter how hard you might try. certainly not one you can watch in company even less one you can make a drinking game out of unless you have a legendary gag reflex, a strong constitution and friends of similar ilk.
doll Syndrome is by no means an extravagant affair instead it merely showcases five participants. One complete with numerous valves, a puncture repair kit and an expertly hidden sound box, and no names disclosed other than “him”, “her” and “the other”. In actuality it’s a complex piece of art but hardly a film most will be able to digest fully without query or a large receptacle handy (to collect vomit).
Unlike many others Doll Syndrome is truly deserved of its unrated status (bravo to Wild Eye Releasing for giving it a chance to hit a wider audience) is uncomfortable to witness and unsettling to even discuss. It’s a feature I will only (be able) to watch once and will be unable to forget.
Recommended for those with a strong constitution and an appetite for cinema obscure that’s off the wall, unique and often beyond unsettling. Don’t say i didn’t warn ya!
Your slave to cinema obscure, experimental and often very difficult to watch
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