Monday, October 22, 2012

Movie Review: Vile

  My girlfriend normally avoids horror films, so it was a mild surprise when one night she was flipping through Netflix and stated that she wanted to watch Vile.  I checked out the description, which suggested it was a Saw knock-off, and just kind of groaned.  I have seen so many movies compared to Saw, which has set the standard for torture-horror, that were steaming piles of crap that initially I wanted to suggest a nice romantic comedy instead.
 Still, it's not often that my girl wants to watch horror, and since she hasn't seen the Saw films she really had no basis for comparison to be disappointed.  So, we check it out.

Vile is actually not that bad.

 The situation is familiar.  A group of apparent strangers are trapped in a building.  They must endure torture in order to have any hope of escape.  This has become the staple of torture-horror, which has become its own genre in horror films.  The twist here is that the implements of the torture must be devised by the victims themselves.  Each of the victims has been rigged with a device meant to collect a particular chemical generated by the brain when the body is placed in extreme duress as well as a deliver a poison to the brain if they attempt to remove the device or do anything else that might prevent the experiment.  It appears that this is an experiment devised by a scientist who requires the chemical for research.  With the foundation established, the rest of the film is 90 minutes of the characters torturing one another while trying to figure out who has trapped them and why.

Tell me this guy doesn't remind you of Shaggy.
 Clearly, there are some issues.  The premise itself is faulty.  First of all, if each of these people could be captured and a device surgically connected to their brains, then no doubt the captors have the capability to induce the necessary stress to collect the chemical themselves.  In fact, the body could probably be put through the same paces individually with the conscious mind having no memory of the torture.  All the victims would be left with would be some scars and weird nightmares.  There is no need to trap these people in a house and allow them to band together.

 Also, who in their right mind thinks they are escaping this situation with their lives?  You're trapped in a house, forced to torture others and endure extreme torture yourself, and when all is said-and-done you get to go on with your life with a thank-you and a pat-on-the-back?  No, your captors, be they the government, aliens, the mafia, or evil scientists are not going to allow you to run off and alert the authorities and populace about their experiments.  You are going to die even if you comply with the experiment.  Your only options are trying to escape or simply non-compliance.
You'll love to hate this bitch

 The setting is also a problem.  It appears to be a house that has been converted to a trap with steel-shutters on the windows and doors.  It has typical furnishings, dishes, even a waffle-iron.  Escape through the doors and windows is apparently impossible, but if it is just a house, then the walls are nothing more than plaster and wood.  The various tools left in the house for the victims to use to torture one another could be used to break through the walls.  

 With these things in mind, the experiment would fail every time.  No one would comply to torturing one another, and each group would have to be executed.

 Finally, there is the collection process.  The chemical generated by the brain is caused by stress and pain.  The chemical is collected as the victims torture one another, and apparently ONLY when they torture one another.  I would think that as the group stresses about being trapped, argues about their predicament, and fight one another, this chemical would also be generated. Only once throughout the film is this the case.
King of Bad-Days.

 Other than these issues with the premise and plot devices, the film was a fair offering.  I called the real twist in the film in the first 15 minutes, but then I am more familiar with these kinds of films than most.  Also, the uber-bitch in this film buys her ticket to the torture table WAY earlier in the film than what actually occurs if it were me making the argument, but this is fiction, not reality. 

 Vile is a good flic, if you set your expectations a little lower then normal.

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