I wasn’t going to watch this after seeing the preview. The preview looks very low budget and I didn’t want to give it a chance. But my sister texted me in the middle of watching this one and insisted that I watch this unbelievably cruel film as soon as possible. My sister, Missy, gives less slack on cheap horror films than I do, so I was surprised she was watching it. Now that I have seen it for myself, I’m surprised I didn’t hear any press on this movie, or see any reviews on horror blogs that I follow. This is in no way a masterpiece of a movie, but it does what it sets out to do- to create an excruciating and uncomfortable experience for the audience. This movie packs a punch, in more ways than one.
This Australian film chronicles the story of a father who loses his young daughter in the worst possible way and the severe consequences for all involved. This central premise alone should make most turn away even from the idea of it. Derek’s beautiful toe-head, 6 year-old daughter is kidnapped from his ex-wife’s home in the middle of the night. The scene when this innocent little body is found is truly devastating. This movie stirred emotions in me that I was not expecting and I was especially moved by the convincing emotional performances by these unknown actors.
What follows is to be expected. Six months after the funeral, Derek is emotionally unstable, understandably so; but he also believes that his deceased daughter, Georgia, visits him at night and talks to him in his head, which may not be so normal. And the fact that this pedophile, rapist murderer has not been caught yet only adds to the stress. Hopefully a reconnection with his younger (surfer slacker dude) brother, Tommy will help him get back to a somewhat normal life.
What follows after this point is totally unexpected. I don’t want to give too much away, but this horror is close to home. It is so fucked. I guessed correctly on who the killer was, but I didn’t actually think this would be the case. I am still blown away by the idea of this; that they actually took this route for the movie. Evidence in hand, Derek decides to keep this information to himself and take matters into his own hands. He begins asking his intellectual friends bizarre questions relating to torture- an irresistibly well-prepared foreshadowing for what is to come. Oh goody.
I feel that I can only suggest this movie to people who enjoy extreme gore films like Saw and Hostel. Our perpetrator wakes up bolted down to a table with a home-made tracheotomy, that way no one can hear him/her scream. Derek has methodically planned out six days of torture for each year that baby Georgia was alive. We are talking about spikes through the head, cutting, cauterizing, teeth extraction, barb-wire up the asshole all the way to the intestine only to be ripped out days later. We are talking extreme torture here, not for the squeamish. And believe it or not, it gets worse than that. This is grisly horror at its best, or worst, depending on how your mind works.
Derek doesn’t actually want to kill this person. He is conditioning the body for pain, creating a mental tug-of-war between brain and pain. Pushing them until they pass out and doing the same, a little further the next day, over and over again. My stomach hurt as I was watched this torture. I was like a squirming fish out of water. I even had a split-second thought of wanting to turn it off, which I have never done before. This makes Ilsa: SheWolf of the SS (which I watched right before this one) look like baby food- something anyone could digest. This, on the other hand, makes me sick. Even the idea of revenge isn’t satisfying at this point as there is not one single uplifting moment in this film. It is heavily depressing. I don’t know how this one slipped under my radar. I was pleasantly surprised and completely disgusted by this movie, all at the same time. I would say that’s a win, but I say it with a grimace.
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