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Victim, The (DVD)

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The Victim DVD reviewStarring Pitchanart Sakakorn, Apasiri Nitibhon, Penpak Sirikul

Directed by Monthon Arayangkoon

Released by Tartan Asia Extreme


The Victim is one headfuck of a movie … though not necessarily in a good way. I will give it some points for not following the tired old ghost stalking girl plot element for the first, say, 75% of the movie, but after that it all comes apart.

We start off in the shoes of struggling actress Ting, who will do anything to get her big break. When the police randomly catch wind of this fact, they ask her to play the part of murder victims for police re-enactments. Apparently in Thailand, they have this very fucked-up form of justice that allows, for example, a man who killed a woman with a hunting knife to get the knife back and re-enact how he killed the woman for the police. Seems a bit dangerous to me, but then I’m just an uptight gweilo.

Ting sees her big, big break when a noted supermodel is found cut to pieces, and vows to the spirit of said victim that if she gets the chance to play her in the re-enactment, she will do her best to honor the starlet. Vanity wins even for the dead, so of course the policewoman who is originally chosen to portray her meets with an unfortunate accident the day of the shoot.

More plot unfolds, we begin to realize that the police are way off base on their assumption of who committed the crime, and just when Ting is about to be killed by the real murderer … the film completely switches gears.

The Victim DVD reviewSuddenly, we realize what we’ve been watching up this point has been an actual movie being made. Ting is suddenly May, an actual famous starlet playing Ting in the movie of her story and there’s a whole other kind of ghost story going on because, apparently, May is possessed by some sort of evil spirit who we later find out is a character we’ve never seen before and has no bearing on any other plot elements.

Let’s just say I’m really glad I watch this with someone else cause alone I would’ve probably given up trying to figure out what the hell was going on right about the time the movie flips, which is about 40 minutes in if you can believe it. Sadly I can’t even say it’s worth sticking with to the conclusion, because the end is just another goddamn pissed off ghost doing pissed off ghost things. Man I’m sick of those.

But The Victim isn’t all frustrating. It’s shot beautifully, has a score that you can tell a lot of thought was put into rather than the usual orchestral yawn-fest and there are some great visuals throughout. Of course, there’s also some appalling use of CGI to balance those out (see the screen grab below for an example). The CG is even more occularly offensive because there are some quality practical effects done, as well, so it just feels like either laziness or a rushed schedule.

The Victim DVD reviewOne other thing I want to mention just because it’s a pet peeve of mine, considering how many things I watch with subtitles; there’s really no excuse to have sub-par sub titles any more. Back in the day it was forgivable because there wasn’t a lot coming into the country on a normal distribution basis, but now with Tartan being one of the leaders of putting out Asian films, to see one with subtitles this, well I guess the best word would be “distracting”, is just frustrating. You can read through them and imagine how they could be written better to sound more natural, but they just never get where they should be.

Don’t expect a lot from the DVD; though the picture and sound quality are obviously top-notch, the only feature to speak of here is a “making of” doc that clocks in about 20 minutes long. It’s apparently a TV special aired in Thailand about the making of the movie, and how for many of the crime re-enactment scenes they used the sites of real murders. The quality is sketchy on it, but if you dig the movie enough you’ll probably find this entertaining.

All in all The Victim isn’t what I’d call a painful experience like some of the other Tartan releases of late have been (like Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman which I couldn’t even bring myself to review); there’s just enough interesting stuff going on to make it worth a viewing, just don’t get too settled into the first half or your head’ll be spinning.

Special Features

  • The Making of The Victim
  • Trailers
  • MOVIE


    3 1/2 out of 5

    DVD



    1 1/2 out of 5

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    American Psycho Meets Creep – Strawberry Flavored Plastic Review

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    Starring Aidan Bristow, Nicholas Urda, Andres Montejo

    Directed by Colin Bemis


    Recently I wrote up an article here on Dread Central which was basically an open letter to anyone who was listening called “I Miss Found Footage.” Well, it seems like someone WAS listening, as I was then sent the link to an all-new found footage film called Strawberry Flavored Plastic from first-time writer-director Colin Bemis.

    The film follows the “still-at-large crimes of Noel, a repentant, classy and charming serial killer loose in the suburbs of New York.” Basically, you could think of the flick as American Psycho meets Mark Duplass and Partick Brice’s Creep. That, or you could think of it as “Man Bites Dog in color!” However you choose to label Colin Bemis’ psychological thriller, just make sure you check out the film once it hits in the future.

    As I alluded to above, the film is basically a found footage version of American Psycho. But that said, the film sports a twist on the charming serial killer subgenre that I have yet to see play out in any of the above-mentioned classics. I’m not going to go into spoiler territory here, but I will say that the film introduces an element to the tale that spins it into much more of a character drama than a straight horror film. Not that there is anything wrong with that!

    Truth be told, the film’s turn from serial killer flick into a layered character study might have been its kiss of death, but this slight genre switch is rendered a minor issue as the film’s central narcissistic antagonist is played by Aidan Bristow. Bristow is an actor you may not have heard of before this review, but you will hear his name more and more over the years to come, I promise. The guy gives (no pun intended) a killer performance as the film’s resident serial killer Noel Rose, and time after time surprised me with how chilling, charming, or downright vulnerable he chose to play any given scene.

    Bristow’s performance is, in the end, the major element the film has going for it. But that said, as a fan of found footage, I was smiling ear to ear at first-time director Colin Bemis’ understanding of what makes a found footage suspense sequence work.

    In Strawberry Flavored Plastic director Colin Bemis is confident and content to allow full emotional scenes to play out with the camera directed at nothing more than a character’s knees. Why is this so important? Because it keeps the reality of the film going. Too many found footage directors would focus on the actors’ faces during such emotional scenes – no matter how contrived the camera angle was. In this film, however, Bemis favors the reality that says, “If you were really in this emotional state and holding a camera, you would let it drop to your side.” I agree, and it is small touches like that which make the film feel authentic and thus – once the shite hits the fan – all the scarier.

    On the dull side of the kitchen knife, the film does feel a bit long even given it’s short running time, and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of visceral horror to be found within. Again, graphic blood and gore aren’t a must in a fright flick, but a tad more of the old ultra-violence would have gone a long way in selling our main psychopath’s insanity and unpredictability. But all the same, the film does feature a rather shocking sequence where our main baddie performs a brutal home invasion/murder that puts this film firmly in the realm of horror. In fact, the particular POV home invasion scene I’m talking about holds about as much horror as you’ll ever wish to witness.

    In the end, Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic is a must-see for fans of found footage and serial killer studies such as American Pyscho, Creep, and Man Bites Dog. I recommend giving it a watch once it premieres. If only to be able to point to Aidan Bristow in the near future and tell all your friends that you watched (one of) his first movies.

    Until then, check out the film’s trailer HERE, and follow the movie on Facebook.

    • Strawberry Flavored Plastic
    3.5

    Summary

    Lead actor Aidan Bristow turns in a star-making performance in Colin Bemis’ Strawberry Flavored Plastic, a found footage film that plays out like Man Bites Dog in Color before introducing a new element to the charming-serial-killer subgenre and becoming more character study than a straight horror. Think American Psycho meets Creep.

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    Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 148 – Inside (2017 Remake)

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    We’ve all heard the old saying, “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Well, I’m here to tell you that’s only partially true. It seems there is a third certainty that had been omitted from the original quote, “It is certain, if you enjoy a movie, at some point someone will remake that movie.” Now is the time when one of my favorite movies gets reimagined, “for an American audience”.

    In the late 2000’s an explosion of “French extreme” horror films was released. Martyrs and or High Tension can often be found on any number of lists of the “most fucked up horror movies ever”. Unfortunately, the vastly superior Inside is often forgotten (as well as Frontier(s), but that’s a whole ‘nother rant). Now, ten years after it’s initial release, Inside has been Americanized. Don’t worry, we watched it so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.

    Mommy says you’re not dead. Is that true? It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 148!

    If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

    The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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    Totem Review – It’s Not Always A Bad Thing To Look Up From The Bottom Level, If You Like That View

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    Starring Kerris Dorsey, James Tupper, Ahna O’Reilly

    Directed by Marcel Sarmiento


    Following the untimely death of a family’s matriarchal figure, a young woman finds out that managing to hold all of the pieces in place becomes increasingly more difficult when otherworldly infiltrators make their presence felt. We’re going to have to work our way up this Totem, as

    17 year old Kellie is the leading lady of the home following the passing of her mother Lexy, and with a needy father and tiny tot of a baby sister, she still keeps things in working order, regardless of the rather large hole that’s been left in the dynamic due to the death. Kellie’s dad after a while decides to ask his lady-friend to move in with the family, so that everyone can move onto a more peaceful existence…yeah, because those types of instances always seem to work seamlessly. As fate would have it, Kellie’s sense of pride is now taking a beating with the new woman in the mix, and her little sister’s new “visitor” is even more disturbed by this intruder – only question is, exactly who is this supernatural pal of sorts? Is it the spirit of their dead mother standing by to keep watch over the family, or is it something that’s found its way to this group, and has much more evil intentions at hand?

    What works here is the context of something innately malicious that has found its way into the home – there are only a couple moments that come off as unsettling, but the notion of having to weave through more than half the film acting as a sullen-teen drama is rather painful. The presentation of the “broken family” is one that’s been done to death, and with better results overall, and that’s not to say that the movie is a complete loss, it just takes far too much weeding through at times stale performances and even more stagnant pacing to get to a moderately decent late-stage conclusion to the film. Under the direction of Marcel Sarmiento (Deadgirl), I’d truly hoped for something a bit more along the lines of a disturbing project such as that one, but the only thing disturbing was the time I’d invested in checking this one out. My best advice is to tune into the Lifetime channel if you want a sulky teen-melodrama with a tinge of horror, or you could simply jump into this one and work your way up…but it’s a LONG way to the top.

    • Film
    2.0

    Summary

    Sulky, moody, and ridden with teen-angst buried in the middle of a supernatural mystery – SOUNDS like a decent premise, doesn’t it?

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