Snuff 102

Dir: Mariano Peralta
Star: Yamila Greco, Eduardo Poli, Andrea Alfonso, Silvia Paz

Yep, it's torture porn. But it's torture porn which succeeds, to a much greater extent than usual, in making you think. There are few intertwining stories here: there's a reporter (Greco), writing a story about violence, inspired by the exploits of a local serial killer. As background, she goes to interview a respected film critic (Poli), and they discuss topics such as real vs. cinematic violence, morality, self-censorship. But we already know this is a flashback, as the first time we see her, she's bound, bloodied and cowering in a bathroom, so how did we get there from here? There are also two other woman, a pregnant drug addict (Alfonso) and a porn star (Paz), and all three are in severe danger of becoming the killer's next victim. But to get to that point, you already have to go through some harrowingly nasty found footage, including a pig being slaughtered and what looks like a drug cartel or Middle East terrorist execution. That opens up the synapses of the brain to what follows, lending it a veracity that's more than a little disturbing, especially since the simulated nastiness is rather well-executed.

It's certainly not perfect. The critic/reporter conversation often stumble over into the kind of empty, pseudo-philosophical bullshit I haven't heard since post-pub college nights, and the means by which that leads to her becoming victim #102 is so painfully contrived it had me rolling my eyes. But it is, at least trying to say something, and deserves credit for that, as well as the noisecore electronic soundtrack, which is difficult to listen to, and thus an entirely appropriate match for what's happening on the screen. Indeed, it's a harsh and abrasive experience, which is exactly how this kind of thing should be, considering what's being depicted on screen. Peralta does solid work capturing the raw intensity and downright nastiness of violence, deliberately inflicted on another person, and the obvious low-budget does little harm to the end result. If you're left wondering, "Why am I watching this?" on more than one occasion, that by itself is not necessarily a bad thing. It's likely a significantly more moral and honest approach to violence, than that delivered by mainstream horror entries such as the Saw series.

[April 2014]

Could only be made in South America, where life is cheap.
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