Directed by: G. Patrick Condon
Run time: 92 minutes
The Lowdown: It’s not very often that you stumble across a horror film that’s so original, that addresses scenarios that you’ve actually wondered about when watching a horror movie, and that keeps ramping up in ways both thrilling and unexpected.
G. Patrick Condon’s Incredible Violence is such a film, and it’s a fucking marvel to behold.
There’s so much happening in Incredible Violence. There’s the actual movie, a re-enactment of the movie and a movie within the movie. And all three are handled with such care and attention to detail that it leaves you slack jawed.
The basic gist is that Condon, who himself is a character, albeit as played by different actors, received $250,000 to make a low-budget horror movie. He blew the cash and has no film to show for it. Now he’s living on borrowed time before the guys with crooked noses come looking to extract a pound of flesh for their investment gone wrong.
He's wracking his brain to come up with a solution. One suggestion is to put an ad online soliciting actors but don’t tell them they’re going to be a snuff film.
The director is not amused. “I fucking hate movies,” he says at one point. He also despises actors, whom he calls “vile little beings.”
Still, he decides to do an open casting call and rents a secluded house in a deep forest. One by one, his actors arrive, including Grace (M.J. Kehler), a naïve starlet who thinks this will be her big break.
Each morning, the actors receive script pages via a printer set up downstairs. They never meet the director, who keeps to himself in the attic in a modified man-cave.
At this point, you might be thinking, okay, this sounds pretty average. But, just wait.
The first kill is both unexpected and outrageous. The director accidentally kills an actress off-camera, so he moves her body back into view and then strips her. You can tell he’s mentally checking off a list of boxes of all the various exploitation hallmarks that horror fans expect to see, from bare boobs to ample blood.
But it’s what happens next that distinguishes Incredible Violence. When the director goes to clean up the murder scene, he finds that scrubbing away blood is not as easy as it looks in the movies. He furiously scrubs for hours to the point of being so thoroughly exhausted that he barely wakes up in time to submit the script pages for that day’s shoot. Only, it’s the same scene all over again.
Condon splices in snippets of a fictional show called Celebrity Autopsy throughout, which adds a layer of subversive intrigue, as well as an unsettling glimpse at where cable television might be headed once house-flipping reality shows run their course.
With each passing day, the actors transform more into their characters, taking the direction from the page and embellishing with sadistic flourishes.
It’s clear something is happening that is not of this world. There’s an almost supernatural influence at foot that’s almost taking over some of the cast. The individual actors jockey for dominance.
This push-pull struggle keeps one-upping itself in ways that are both shocking and extreme.
Incredible Violence lives up to its name, and then some. Trust me when I tell you that you will be surprised at where the third act goes, and wowed at the level of carnage on display.
This one should be at or near the top of your must-see list.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – Yes.
Gore – Gratuitous.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – Just a guy trying to make a movie by any means necessary.
Buy/Rent – Buy it.
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Now on Video-on-Demand:
Perfect Skin (Indican Pictures, 110 minutes, R, Video-on-Demand): Perfect Skin, the directorial debut of Kevin Chicken, is a disquieting tale of obsession that presents as a cautionary tale for anyone thinking about turning their body into a tattoo canvas.
Best of all, Perfect Skin features a standout performance by Richard Brake (3 from Hell, 31) as Bob, a talented tattoo artist whose body is giving in to early-onset Parkinson’s, who wants nothing more than to find the perfect virgin canvas to complete his masterwork before his hands are useless.
That canvas belongs to Katia (Natalia Kostrzewa), an exchange student who finds herself homeless until she makes friends with a vibrant alternative girl who also happens to know Bob.
Chicken presents Bob as a sympathetic monster. He has an ex-wife and two children. His tattoo parlor, called Perfect Skin, is one of those word-of-mouth discoveries that body art enthusiasts long to find. But he also drugs Katia and keeps her chained up in his basement while he inks her entire body without her permission.
Perfect Skin is a terrific find. It’s unexpected, intelligent and genuinely unnerving.
Artik (Epic Pictures/Dread, 78 minutes, Unrated, Video-on-Demand): Artik is a serial killer thriller that pits a hulking giant named Artik (Jerry G. Angelo) and his lady love Flin Brays (Lauren Ashley Carter) against a young boy named Adam and the resourceful Holton (Chase Williamson), who takes a shine to the almost feral Adam and decides to help him escape an abusive environment that is considerably more dangerous than it appears.
Artik, it turns out, has a stable of young boys that he has kidnapped to become his and Flin’s personal servants, as well as accomplices to his bloody murder spree. But Adam is different. Adam has a spark that serves as a rallying point for the other scared children, and Artik is obsessed with discovering why that is.
I’ll be honest, for the first 40 minutes or so of Artik, I just couldn’t get on-board and allow myself to get lost in the story.
But Artik completely salvages itself with a massively compelling third act that works on every conceivable level. It’s gory, intelligent and impressively staged. The lingering questions that nagged and undermined my enjoyment dissipated. And I discovered a deeper layer to Angelo’s performance that revealed a much more nuanced character than first presented.
Scooter (Artist Rights Distribution, 71 minutes, Unrated, Video-on-Demand): The new found-footage thriller Scooter focuses on a trio of YouTube celebrities who call themselves The Three Amigos.
The three men, Will, Juan and Paul, have filmed 22 episodes of their wildly popular digital show. When they hit 10 million subscribers, they accept a challenge to travel from Miami to New Orleans riding personal scooters.
Quickly, the three realize that riding a tiny scooter on a major interstate is not advisable, and they switch to traveling back roads, which means their trip is going to take even longer.
Will is the annoying one who takes unnecessary risks and pisses everyone off. Juan is the weakest link. And Paul is the logical, practical one.
Before long, the three stumble onto an execution-style killing while camping in the woods to save money. And, of course, the killer who sees their faces is much more than just a random bad guy.
Scooter tries to present itself as both a Blair Witch-style documentary and an indictment of internet celebrity that can push people to consistently attempt more dangerous activities to increase clicks and add subscribers.
It’s not a bad movie, just an unnecessary one. By the time you reach the end, it’s not really clear exactly what was the point other than to show naïve people putting themselves in harm’s way for no reason other than to preserve their popularity.