Grotesque

Grotesque.  Well, I can say at least two good things about this movie.  Three things actually. The title is not misleading at all.  You are told you will see something grotesque and it certainly delivers.  On more than one level actually but more on that later.  The second thing I can say is that it does something new or something at least that I’ve never seen before.  The third?  It’s short. A quick disclaimer: this movie is not for kids.  Gotta be eighteen or older to see this one: it’s very graphic, showing explicit scenes of sexuality and torture.  Viewer discretion is advised.

Grotesque is the “story” (I use the word loosely) of an unnamed doctor who gets his jollies by torturing folks, in this case a couple who  are out on their first date.  The movie begins promisingly enough.  A creepy dude in a van hops out and whacks our happy couple upside the head.  He drives off while oddly upbeat music plays.  The camera is fixed staring out the windshield while in the back we hear the girl groaning.  The Doctor stops and whacks her over the head again (because being knocked unconscious twice never hurt anyone.)  They wake up in a dungeon like basement and the torturing begins.

And that’s the plot.  People get tortured.  This is torture-porn like Hostel or Saw.  I don’t really consider this sort of thing horror, at least in my mind.  Horror as a genre (be it movies, books, or whatever) has a distinct formula.  Terror, the Revelation, then Horror.  Terror is the build up or anxiety, the Revelation is when you reveal what you’ve been hinting at for the whole movie, and then horror is the fear and revulsion in the aftermath of the Revelation.  This is a gross oversimplification of how the genre works, but it’s a nice way to analyze it.  Watch Ju-On, Ringu, and Audition to see what I mean.

None of that happens in Grotesque.  There is no plot, no build up, and really no fear.  It goes for the visceral shock response, which certainly is part of horror, but is not the whole thing.  I would liken this more to a porn flick (hence the torture porn moniker.)  Porn has a thin plot that’s little more than an excuse for the visceral (in this case sexual) and explicit material to follow.  Grotesque definitely falls in this category, just replace sex with torture.

I said the movie is grotesque in more way than one.  And that’s true.  It’s a bad movie.  It’s a terrible film in general and a terrible horror film in particular.  It’s grotesque in the horrific tortures it portrays.  Fingers are lopped off, the man is castrated, and the girl has her arm cut off.  That’s just a brief survey of the atrocities committed in this movie.  It’s grotesque in the sexual content too.  How to put this nicely…the Doctor “pleasures” his victims while forcing the other to watch.  You don’t actually see genitalia at this point, but the sound effects are more than enough to let you know what is going on.

At least the movie is honest in its intent.  It says its grotesque and it certainly is.

As for the new thing, this movie shows an honest to God sadist.  A sadist is one who enjoys inflicting suffering on others.  They are sexually stimulated by it.  And the Doctor in this movie is quite up front about his intentions: he tells the couple that if they satisfy him sexually with their will to survive he will let them go.  I’ve never seen that in a horror flick that I remember anyway.  Usually the killer is a cackling madman or he’s doing it to prove a point about how evil people are.  Nope…this guy just wants to get his jollies.  Weird way to go about it.

Anyway…yeah this movie is bad.  If you’re a gore hound though you will enjoy this flick.  I’m really not into that sort of thing, but if you are hey whatever.  It’s your business.

Oh and if you make it to the end…the climactic confrontation between the Doctor and the girl actually made me laugh out loud.  It was so stupid that I couldn’t help myself.  You’ll see what I mean if you can sit through this dog.

However, unless you really like gore flicks or you’re just morbidly curious, I would avoid this movie.  If you do find yourself watching it, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you…