Ginger Nuts of Horror
Come on in, the water's painful...
Dir. Taylor Sheridan, USA, 88 mins
Welcome back everyone, and today we're entering some truly agonising territory. Various of our films have been painful to watch, for a whole host of different reasons, but this one is simply all about pain. With a slightly different spin on the classic captive story, this is Vile. A 2011 release that garnered a decent response on the horror festival scene, will this one live up to its name?
So, Vile follows a group of friends who stop off to pick up a stranded woman at a motorway service station. With this being a horror film, naturally, this backfires horribly as the woman gases the youngsters. When they awake, we are well and truly into horror film territory – the six of them wake up in a strange house with no idea of how they got there. But a key difference here is that there are already six people waiting for them – and the story they have to tell is pretty incredible. The captured dozen all have a small bottle attached to the back of their necks – which they are expected to fill with the chemical produced when the human body experiences pain. All they have to do is injure themselves sufficiently and the house will unlock for them...
Sounds easy enough, right? Of course not, because mistrust and paranoia begin to grow amongst the group and the concept of dishing out the punishment equally suddenly becomes heartily unappealing. Throw in the fact that there might just be connections between them and you have a hugely combustible mix in a desperate situation.
The premise is really interesting, and does offer something a little more to the classic 'six people trapped in a strange scenario with no idea how they got there' set-up. The acting on the whole is decent, even though many of the characters are fairly stereotypical and conform to the kind of tropes you probably will have seen before. Some of the scenes of violence are fairly disturbing, and it does have many moments of torture that have to be taken almost willingly by those involved. The atmosphere remains uncomfortable throughout – there's a distinctly uneasy gender question at the heart of this one which contributes to that feeling. Some of the women want to take their share of the violence while others refuse to do so, and the men also differ distinctly in their views on the inclusion of the female victims.
Overall it's fair to say this is a good example of a film in its patch, but there's not quite enough here to make this a stone-cold extreme horror classic.
RATING: 6.5/10. Vile things are something that we do rather well here at Film Gutter, and this one does fit the moniker to some extent. There's a fair splash of gore and violence, and it's a film with a pretty claustrophobic atmosphere. But it doesn't really shake up a well-worn formula, and for that reason it's a good, solid 6.5/10. If you enjoy the likes of Saw, Hostel and others like them you might just get a kick out of this one.