Come on in, the water's execrable...
Snuff 102 (2007)
Mariano Peralta (Argentina)
Welcome back to Film Gutter, and my word, we are so far out in the foul waters of extreme cinema here we can't even see land. Today we are floating on some driftwood in practically uncharted territory, because today's offering is genuinely disgusting, reprehensible and practically impossible to watch. I said a while back that Thanatomorphose was the film that nearly broke me – well, damned if this one didn't come even closer. I can genuinely say before I get into this review that I can't see anything more shocking or disturbing than this getting any kind of release. Welcome to Snuff 102, a 2007 Argentinian offering that does not mince words anywhere along the way.
So, what are we getting into here? Well, we effectively have three lead characters, none of whom are named at any stage. We have a masked man as our killer – the person producing the snuff videos the title intimates at – as well as a young University student conducting some sort of study into the effects and implications of snuff films. She contacts a psychologist or academic – some sort of expert in the field – and their conversations are the only thing that give you a breather from the horrific violence on display through most of this movie. These scenes between student and academic are very philosophical, with a great deal of theorising and in-depth thoughts on what snuff is really about. It's trying to say something, for sure, but what exactly that is I never got to the very bottom of.
And when we're not enjoying these deep conversations, we are right at the other end of human experience, presented with a blend of our student's online research (including some apparently real animal slaughter), some of our masked man's 'greatest hits' from the past and some gritty, bleak and unflinching scenes involving his three current captives, numbered 100, 101 and 102. See what they did there?
I can't lie – this film tested my resolve in a big way. The whole look and feel of the thing is so believable and so gut-wrenchingly presented it genuinely made me wonder what I was doing forcing myself into watching such extreme cinema. There were scenes in this that really shook me up. It was hard to view the first time around, and it's hard to relive to boot. The murders the masked man inflicts on his victims are horribly thought-through and absolutely brutally delivered, each travelling along a host of grotesque phases. The three victims endure increasingly awful miseries as the story roars on to its conclusion, where the full picture of the movie does click together. There's one scene in particular in the early stages of the film I doubt I will ever forget – it makes my stomach turn even now just to think of it.
So, if Film Gutter is ultimately the effort to find what is utterly the most shocking, most cruelly-devised, most visceral and impactful extreme horror film ever made, this might just be mission achieved. If there is one that can surpass this I'll be pretty surprised to find it. Every film I review from now on has this to surpass in terms of pure unpleasantness. And, in all honesty, I can't recommend this to anyone, even the most hardened extreme cinema viewer. There's just nothing to like or enjoy here, nothing redeeming at all.
Take these as parting words – I've watched it so you don't have to...
RATING: 4/10. Hard-hitting? No mistake? Interesting? Not that much. This movie is no doubt trying to find something deep or pass on a message about one of society's greatest taboos. But the ultimate effect is ultimately a blend of fairly boring moralisations and ramblings between two broadly-drawn characters, intercut with what was for me some of the most morally bankrupt material ever committed to a legitimate movie with a legal release. This'll haunt me for a long time, and I'm glad to draw this review to a close and hopefully never have to see – or think of – this movie again.
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