DVD REVIEW: ATROCITY / CERT: TBC / DIRECTOR: JEFF S. CHIMENTI / SCREENPLAY: JEFF S. CHIMENTI / STARRING: RYAN CLAXTON, BRITTANY KARBOWSKI, LUKE WRIGHT / RELEASE DATE: TBC
One night, nineteen-year-old boy Zach Carter teams up with his band of brothers to get revenge on his girlfriend, who he believes to be cheating on him, by ambushing her at her house and catching her cheating on video. But soon, a horrific surprise strikes him and his friends, and the situation escalates out of control and results in an unbelievably shocking and grim climax. Seven years later, a police detective and sheriff that were involved in the original investigation begin to look over several videos that were recorded that night and reveal the true facts about the incident. It’s then that they realise the chilling discovery of a missing video, which reveals that the “real” truth behind it all that turns out to be something that much more disturbing than anyone could possibly imagine.
This is a film about people being corrupted by their own dark intentions and shows how monstrous they can become, and that isn’t far away from the allegories of Wes Craven’s Last House on the Left, which is also about violence and the corrupting nature of violence. However, the allegories of this movie end up getting lost amidst the increasingly stupid splatter. Torture porn is one thing, but pompous and pretentious torture porn is something else entirely, and at times, this veers towards Eli Roth’s horrific Hostel movies, which is not a good sign. In the case of horror movies, it is necessary to have some engagement with the characters in order for the narrative to work, but the main teenage characters are so grotesque, obnoxious and laddie, you just end up being fed up with their company.
There is also way too much unnecessary laddie, leery displays of women, and the movie seems very chauvinistic and reprehensible in its attitude towards women that it makes certain scenes very problematic. The whole found footage genre has been flogged to death now that when you look back to The Blair Witch Project (the start of this genre), despite how annoying the characters were in that, there was an idea at the heart of it and it was incredibly gripping. There have been so many found footage movies, and none of them have come up to the standards of Blair Witch. The idea in this movie is that it’s meant to act almost like a snuff movie, and that just only makes it closer to the unintentional echoes of Joel Schumacher's best-forgotten snuff movie romp 8mm.
Overall, Atrocity is a film that is deeply unpleasant, and not in a good way. Its characters are obnoxious, its treatment of the female characters is deeply troubling, the found footage aspect is completely old-hat, and it thinks it has something to say about violence and how violence can corrupt, but the way it handles that message is best described as sketchy.
Special Features: TBC
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