Johnny Sweatpants & Abduscias
Words from a Freeek:
Way back in December of 2010 during a lovely dinner at DCD & Desroc’s house, this film came up in discussion around that very dinner table. We were having some light dinner conversation about the most disturbing films we have ever seen, Antichrist & Martyrs were at the top of the list until Desroc brought up Serbian Film, I had never heard of it. As soon as he said it was so awful that he couldn’t make it through the film, I knew I had to see it. Abduscias and I discussed it on the way home and we were on a quest. I immediately called JSP and asked him if he had ever heard of the film, he hadn’t, we were all intrigued. Not long after, Abduscias obtained a copy of this controversial, forbidden film. We knew JSP would be in town for Handsome Stan’s wedding in June, so we waited, this was one film that we needed to watch together. When JSP, Abby & I settled in and popped that DVD in we had no idea what we were in for. Of course, we all had to rewatch it this October so we could present this review and make it count!
Words from a guy in Sweatpants:
I appreciate that Catfreeek insisted on including me in the viewing experience but had I known what I was in for I may have reconsidered. Nevertheless it was a memorable evening and I'm happy to have shared it with two of the biggest horror freaks I know - Cat & Abduscias. There's a reason why this is one of the most banned films of all time. It pushes several boundaries in creatively abhorrent ways. Every taboo I can conceive of is fair game - rigamortus, pedophilia, child abuse and baby murder. Serbian Film is without a doubt, truly disgusting. I should however point out that this is no half-assed, low budget affair. The cinematography is masterful and I have yet to see better acting all year. What struck me most was the chemistry between the Miloš and Marija. Marija is a darling wife and loving mother. She is obviously aware of the way Milos makes his living but she wants him out of the business. Sympathizing with the characters gives their upcoming ordeal a more soul-crushing impact.
Words from a Newbie we call all Abby:
The film has a great porn sountrack, realistic violence, and this film sticks in your mind, talk about disturbing movies! It’s a very artistic movie that makes you think, “Hmmm, what would I do in this situation?”
On to the review:
The film wastes no time in making one feel uncomfortable, the opening sequence is a scene from a porno film. As the camera pans back we see the scene is being played on a TV and there is a little boy watching it. When his parents catch him, the Mother mildly chastises him and shuts the film off, while the father states nonchalantly, “It’s no big deal, I watched my first porn when I was his age.” To this the mother replies, “Yes, but your father wasn’t starring in it.” Although this scene was unsettling, it was like watching a clip from Bambi compared to the rest of the film.
Milos is an aging, semi-retired porn star with a 2 foot schlong in his trousers. He and his wife are struggling financially, Milos, once the rock star of the Serbian porn scene, now has to resort to doing scenes for low budget porn just to support his family. A former co-star contacts him and proposes an opportunity that would leave him financially secure for life. He agrees to meet with Vukmir, the strange director of the film, who indeed offers him enough money to finally solve all his problems. There is one catch, the film has no script so he will not have any idea what is involved until the actual filming is underway. He goes home and mulls it over with his wife and the next day Milos signs the contract.
Vukmir strokes Miloš's ego and convinces him that he is more than a mere porn star. He is an artist. Every “actress” he’s ever worked with wants to marry him. Artistic porn is all the rage and they’re poised to make millions in the foreign market. It's an enticing offer, comparable to the "one last score" scenarios often used in heist movies.
Milos notices that this is far more sinister than your typical porno. In his first scene he is instructed to “hit the whore!” which he does. The young girl smiles and the director claps as his costar cries in this hightly disturbing scene.
Once the filming commences, a red flag is thrown almost immediately. Miloš is fellated in a darkened room while being subjected to a video of a preteen girl sucking a popsicle. Appalled by what he may have gotten himself into, Miloš decides to pull out of his contract only it's too late. He's beaten, drugged and dragged into a world of unspeakable horrors.
“All those girls you threw away like condoms. How come you’ve never done me like them?”
“Well I love you, I just fucked them.”
Director Srđan Spasojević weakly attempts to excuse the debauchery in the film when Vukmir philosophizes "we are all victims muddled with a vague explanation of life". In subsequent interviews he's defended the movie by claiming "This is a diary of our own molestation by the Serbian government... It's about the monolithic power of leaders who hypnotize you to do things you don't want to do. You have to feel the violence to know what it's about." To me this comes across a pile of moist bullcrap. Clearly Spasojević's primary (and arguably only) goal was to shock and disgust. The second time around I was less repulsed and able to appreciate it for what it really is - the mother of all envelope pushers, nothing more, nothing less. I only wish he owned up to it.
We struggled with what to rate it - five stars, zero stars or three stars? Finally we settled on four stars because it was gripping, intense and like nothing any of us had ever seen before (or want to see again).