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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

VICTIM (2010) Why this horror gem is the cinematic equivalent of striking gold...

Every now and then you blindly come across a film that completely reaffirms your love and faith in the horror genre. The experience itself is not only exhilerating, but inspiring as well.

Lately I have been despondent and just going throught the motions of day to day life. I felt like a dying battery, still going, but just barely. Any zeal and enthusiasm that I might normally have was lackluster at best and everything felt contrived and mundane. I think it's safe to presume we all go through funks sometimes and generally they work themselves out but as any writer or, in my case, struggling writer can attest- Sometimes a little jumpstart can be just what you need to pull you out of your creative and transcendental funk.

Lately I have been watching one movie after the next, mainly as an escape from the feelings of boredom and lack of creativity- This lack of creativity has extended to all facets of my day to day life: Personal relationships, writing, washing my hair, and my staple idealistic passion for the things that move the most, which for the purposes of this blog is horror cinema. 

Last night I came across what I feel is a horror gem and it happened by accident- As I have never heard of this film.

I wasn't expecting much. Just going through the motions.

First let me preface this by saying that I wasn't familiar with this title, and except for the brief description, I knew nothing about the plot. This is usually the best way to experience a film in my opinion, free from biases and influences of other opinions which can taint a film and make it less personal to the viewer.

I was hooked from the first few minutes, which carried effortlessly into the closing scene. I sometimes get so enthralled with a film that halfway through I will pause it, and ponder the storyline, usually trying to either predict the outcome or in the sickest of fashions, I will analyze and pour over the depravity depicted thus far in the film (my genre of choice is horror, so depravity of some sort is usually always present). That said, I paused this film halfway through and took a long hot bath. I obsessively tried to figure out where this story was taking me, and could not come up with a clear hypothesis. I couldn't shave my legs fast enough to get out of the hot water I was in, pun very cheesily intended, to get back to my movie.

It was about 3/4th's of the way through the film and I began to see where this story was taking me. It was a pretty bleak outcome for the film's anti-hero (is this an accurate term?) but for me, the viewer, it was a hodgepodge of emotions ranging from absolute terror to immense self-righteous satisfaction at the retribution and 'eye for an eye,' justice that we all crave during life's tragedy's and wrongdoings.

If there is a cosmic-karmic fairy godmother out there, she broke the mold on this one, to say the least.

*I hate those assholes that include spoilers in their reviews and/or blogs so I certainly won't ruin it for you. (YES I'M TALKING ABOUT YOU- Those that feel the need to update their facebook status after each new WALKING DEAD episode with details that I would prefer find out when I see it for myself.... You know who you are.) Proceed further without the fear of me giving too much away, but keep in mind I do express my thoughts on it, but in no way does it give away the ending or what transpires.

This isn't about whether the film is good or bad- Obviously I thought it was amazing- This is about the feelings of rejuvenation and passion one experiences when a film goes above and beyond in ecompassing all the reasons why the horror movie genre captivated them in the first place. I strongly feel this film did this in spades. With the ever growing popularity of horror films, too many people want to cash in on this and coincidentally we see too many over-commercialized and painfully generic and unoriginal films that in turn make so many horror aficionados jaded and uninspired. Just because you can finance a film and somehow get it out there doesn't mean you should do so. Futhermore, just because you slap a horror genre tag on it dosen't mean it can sustain itself as horror when compared to previous films in the genre that have stood the test of time. In this age, it's all been done and all we can look to now is originality and a grasp (followed by a solid execution) of what drives people to seek out horror films in the first place.

Fear, terror and the obsession of revenge against our enemies (which is a prevelent sub-genre of horror) is a primal thing, wired into our psyche from centuries of evolution. Untapped as it might be, it's there and it's raw, allowing for a myriad of juxapositions and outcomes. It is difficult to understand man without exploring fear and raw human behavior when faced with the unthinkable and the innate response to either survive or perish in the face of danger. When it comes to horror films, each glimpse into depravity, however uncomfortable it might be, which allows us to experience a brand of fear and terror that most of us can't even imagine and we surrender to this under the guise of plausible deniability and a suspension of disbelief. We can temporarily indulge in morbidity, and revel in it because that's what horror films have conditioned us to do. And that's pretty neat, ya know?

We're all voyuers- Some of us just prefer the dark side of human behavior, and horror films gives us a ready glimpse into that abyss.

But I regress....

VICTIM (2010) reaffirms and ignites all the passion I have for the horror genre. The film is unabashedly disturbing and delightfully original. Without the use of gore, which is great when done effectively;  instills a feeling of utter dread which leads to an uncomprisingly unsettling finale. It tapped into a facet of fear that is rarely seen in today's mainstream horror. Duh.

Depending on perspective, it's easily one of the best revenge-esque films I've ever seen. The dread and overall ambiance of the film mirrored French horror film, MARTYRS (doesn't matter if you hated MARTYRS- the plots couldn't be more diverse...) in the sense that gender played a role in effectively personalizing a female based horror.  VICTIM does this as well, but the gender aspect is more pronounced, and in contrast, is a male cast, and therefore speaks to the male psyche.

Easily one of the best horror films I've seen in years as far as content and overall execution. It's a film that will linger in your head, uncomfortably for a while.