Thursday, October 02, 2014


2.5 stars
“The root of violence is science without humanity.” -- Mahatma Ghandi. An opening quote in a horror movie denotes overcompensation. We are not judging your character for deciding to watch this terrible movie, the screenwriters want to say, rather, we are attempting to sell you our shallow story as something memorable.

Ghandi’s quote, in its entirety, tallies other “roots” of violence: wealth without work, pleasure without conscience, commerce without morality, worship without sacrifice, politics without principles. It will be the only intellectual stimulation your dendrites will experience over the next hour and 27 minutes.

Vile opens with a man restrained to a hospital bed, shrieking despite a mouth gag at his impending pain. An unknown figure in a white lab coat cuts his chest open and rubs kosher salt all over it, as the camera pans downward to a tube of translucent goo emitting from the man’s head.

Cut to two young couples double-dating in the woods, attempting to break camp before sundown. The two women seem to be best friends and one of them confides that she doesn’t know how to tell her boyfriend that she’s preggers. Upon leaving, they only get as far as a gas station before a hot cougar asks for a ride back to her broken-down car and some gasoline. The cougar makes small-talk with the ladies and tells them she distributes perfume; as a favor she’ll grab a few samples in her car. Everything seems dandy and the woman seems pleasant enough until she drugs them all with a tank full of knockout gas.

Once our original quartet gains consciousness, they awaken in the basement of an old rickety house, joined by others in the same situation. In another room, a pre-recorded video plays of a homely British woman shedding some light on the situation: their dopamine and adrenaline juices are being harvested to further science (hey, I thought Ghandi once said something against inhumane science experiments! Grow, dendrites, dammit!). They are all going to contribute to filling up the itty bitty bottles with tubes stuck to the back of their heads by eliciting feelings of panic, despair, and pain. In other words, they’ve got to torture each other, and they’ve got 21 hours to appease the homely British woman’s wants.
This is NOT what it looks like when I cook lobster.

There’s not much to the plot (but that’s not why I do Horrorthon). The characters aren’t memorable but they are outspoken at times which brings out their personality. Aside from the pregnant chick, another one is relentless about fulfilling her torture quota, one man is a stereotypical hippie, another is a typical loose-cannon personality, and another is the obligatory neutral-but-fair dude to whom everyone defaults decisions for the entire group. Oh yeah there’s like four more people but they don’t do much.

I swear at one point Bright Eyes was playing, and as much as I enjoy Bright Eyes’ music I couldn’t break the twisted look of my disgusted face.

Teeth bashing and scream queens. It's October again.
If I had to pick just one thing to better the movie-watching experience, it would be the sound equalizing. I increased the volume for scenes with dialogue then immediately had to turn it down for characters’ screaming and yelling fits.

I decided spontaneously on a first H-Thon film as I have had luck in the past finding gems that haven’t been reviewed yet. This one is no exception and was “recommended” by Netflix due to my viewings of Hunger and Thirst. Unlike Thirst, both Hunger and Vile follow the concocted formula of kidnapped people placed in a mysterious location and forced out of their comfort zone in order to survive. If the first critical thought I had in this movie was, "in what ways can we bring humanity back into common scientific practices?" then the final one was, "what does it take to succumb to such horrific acts upon others, and if one survives after the end credits, how does one begin to love oneself again?"


DCD said...

Wow. Umm - way to hit it out of the box on the first try, I guess? You are braver than I, Crystal.

AC said...

Kudos for choosing movies so spontaneously. I have to research everything at least a little, often distressing Mr. AC.

Mr. AC said...

Seems like there must be easier ways to harvest hormones and neurotransmitters. But maybe not because they kind of do the same thing in Liquid Sky. Hmm, I think there may be a Thon theme here.

Johnny Sweatpants said...

Except for the use of the word "preggers" that was a great review Crystal! I overheard the last half hour or so when I got home from work and I I could hear is screaming and sobbing.

Was Bright Eyes the most inhumane torture device in the film?

Crystal Math said...

Sweaty Johnnypants -- as much as I enjoy the lyrics of Conor Oberst I do have to be in a mood for his signature crooning, quivering voice.

Crystal Math said...

Mr. AC I have got to see Liquid Sky! I just read the imdb synop

Landshark said...

Great review. That Bright Eyes line cracked me up. Seems pretty incongruous...

Catfreeek said...

Yes Crystal you have GOT to see Liquid Sky. You should also give Blue Sunshine a roll just because I'd looooove to read your review of it.