Monday, September 29, 2014

Film Review: YellowBrickRoad (2010)

YellowBrickRoad (Review)
United States/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...this is one road you should avoid."

In 1940, the entire population of Friar walked up a mountain trail into the wilderness and ended up slaughter and disappeared. Now, a group of researchers recreate the event and attempt to solve the mystery...

YellowBrickRoad starts off with a promising premise. An entire population walks into the wilderness and suffer mysterious deaths. It sets up a great mystery with endless possibilities. Unfortunately, it doesn't explore these opportunities. Instead, YellowBrickRoad continues to follow this group as they aimlessly wander the woods, eat and drink, bicker and fight, and get lost. Eventually, they start hearing music in the woods, which is initially interesting, but it never builds up on that idea. Then, they go crazy and madness ensues. The story drags to a mediocre ending; it's open for interpretation, like most of the movie, but its also bland and too ambiguous.

YellowBrickRoad is a disappointment. The story is initially interesting, but it never capitalizes on the original idea. Instead, the film takes a more "metaphorical" route and that would've been fine if it was executed properly, but it's not. It hits you over the head with obvious "metaphors" over and over like a child shouting for attention. On that point, the film further suffers from being dreadfully repetitive. If that's not enough, the film is also dreadfully slow-paced; there is no burn or atmosphere to help the pace, either. Combine the repetitiveness and the slow-pace with a longwinded and uneventful plot and you have a boring film. And I must stress, it's booooring -- with that many o's, you can guess its boring, right? There was one gory scene in this film, but it comes off as laughably out of place. Otherwise, there isn't a shred of horror.

The acting was decent. Some of the castmates were duds, but it's more than tolerable. The cinematography is good; the film is shot competently. I like the use of audio in the film; the music in the woods is the one creative aspect of the film. The most notable technical flaws come from the writing/directing pair of Jesse Holland and Andy Mitton -- they seem too concerned with delivering a symbolic/metaphoric film than an entertaining movie. The writing sloppy, the direction lacks conviction and originality, and there is a severe lack of anything horror.

Overall, YellowBrickRoad started off as a promising horror/mystery, but it quickly disappoints. This is one of those rare films that suffers from trying way too hard. It's not scary, it's unnecessarily slow, it's uneventful, and the runtime is bloated -- this is a poisonous combination for any film. And, this is one road you should avoid.

Score: 2/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and gore.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Film Review: Anaconda (1997)

Anaconda (Review)
United States/Brazil/1997
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...hindered by a contrived plot, stupid characters, and a lack of reptiles."

A documentary crew searching for a long-lost tribe on the Amazon River bump heads with a stranded hunter and the world's largest anaconda...

Anaconda follows this film crew -- mostly director Terri (Jennifer Lopez) and cameraman Danny Rich (Ice Cube) -- as they are kidnapped by a deceitful snake hunter, Serone (Jon Voight), they picked up earlier. At first, Serone seems like an honest and helpful hunter, but he quickly shows his true intentions: to catch the world's largest anaconda. The crew will face the anaconda here and there, attempt an escape, and... that's it, actually. Not much actually happens in this thin plot. The third act is the worst, though, and the ending was cheesy.

Anaconda really feels like a cheesy 90s b-movie. Unfortunately, it's not very entertaining, though. The first act of the film feels like a waste of time -- it doesn't efficiently buildup up the premise and it doesn't do much otherwise. It gets interesting when Serone shows his true intentions, but it also piles on many flaws. The film packs many, many plot contrivances from this point forward. "Did he say stay still? I better sprint away!" "Curse these butterfingers, I dropped my knife!" "I'm going to kill you, but not really!" These plot points are not only contrived, but, as you can see, the characters are blatantly stupid.

Aside from the lack of buildup, the plot contrivances, and the stupid characters, the film also fails to use its main attraction effectively: the anaconda! At one point, I had to ask: is this film about an anaconda? Or, am I watching an Ice Cube and J Lo music video? This problem is most blatant during the first half of the film. It does recover a bit during the latter half, though. There is some mild suspense, too. The entire film, though, has a refreshing sense of adventure. Maybe it was the great environment or some of the set-pieces, but Anaconda has a this unexplainable sense of adventure -- it's like something I'd like to see as an attraction at Universal Studios.

The acting is all-around decent. Jennifer Lopez, who stars in The Cell, is good. Ice Cube plays Ice Cube, so he's right at home. (why are you always mad, Cube? What did I ever do to you?) Jon Voight was great, though, he was scarier than the anaconda. The cinematography is good, it captured the environment well. The music is standard for a thriller. Some of the practical effects are decent, but most are outdated; the computer effects especially stick out like a sore thumb, they did not age well. Director Luis Llosa does well in building up some decent suspense here and there, and the sense of adventure is refreshing; however, Llosa is held back by shoddy writing, and the severe under-utilization of the titular reptile.

Overall, Anaconda is a mediocre film. It's an interesting concept and has a few great moments, but it's mostly hindered by a contrived plot, stupid characters, and a lack of reptiles. I didn't expect the anaconda to be on-screen at all times, but I was hoping its presence would be in the atmosphere -- something you don't have to see, but you can feel. I revisited for nostalgia's sake, but I am leaving disappointed. Stream or rent, if you're interested.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Violence and blood.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Film Review: Strange Circus (2005)

Strange Circus (Review)
Japan/2005
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...so effective, it's hypnotizing."

Novelist Taeko (Masumi Miyazaki) is writing an unusually disturbing tale about the torment a young girl named Mitsuko endured.

Strange Circus begins with the disturbing story of Mitsuko's childhood. A childhood filled with sexual and physical abuse from her father and mother. A twisted tale of abuse, incest, suicide and murder. The film then transitions to Taeko, who is writing the story about Mitsuko. Taeko is assited by Yuji (Issei Ishida), who believes the story may be Taeko's autobiography. Yuji sets out to unravel the mystery with his own intentions. The climax is as twisted as the rest of the film, and the ending is haunting. It's ambiguous and uncertain, but chilling and thought-provoking.

Strange Circus is a challenging film. It's a film that enters taboo territory without warning. It brings you into a disturbing and depraved world filled with gruesome violence and deviant sex. And, it's oh so hypnotizing. Sure, it's disturbing, but it's hard to take you're eyes off the screen. It blends surreal horror visuals with true-to-life horror to create an incredibly effective and engaging experience -- an unforgettable experience. And, due to it being so taboo, the story is refreshing and original.

This is definitely not for those who can't handle the "taboo" or those who have never even been near it -- I think it'll be shocking for those who are inexperienced. But, those who don't mind being tested, those who don't mind entering uncharted territory, and those who have ventured past Hollywood -- this is a twisted experience worth testing your limits. The only issue I had was during the second act, where it often slows down -- a bit of an inconsistent pace, I suppose.

Masumi Miyazaki dominates the screen with a superb and versatile performance. The rest of the cast offer great supporting performances. The film looks amazing thanks to its great cinematography and nightmarish set designs. The visual aspect of the film plays a large role, and it's thankfully all-around superb. The music helps create the ominous atmosphere -- it's spine-tingling and creepy, and memorable. The English subtitles on the Netflix Instant stream are great -- hardly any errors. Writer and director Sion Sono, who also helms Cold Fish, is a true visionary; more importantly, he's an effective visionary without compromise.

Overall, Strange Circus is a twisted horror-drama hybrid. It's a film with disturbing themes and even more disturbing execution. But, it's incredibly effective -- so effective, it's hypnotizing. It's a film that sets out to tell a story without comprising, and it does so. Finally, it's not a film for everyone -- if any of the themes I mentioned earlier already disturb you, this film's graphic presentation will scar you.

Score: 9/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, graphic sex and nudity.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Film Review: Bloodsport (1988)

Bloodsport (Review)
United States/1988
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...attractively charming and cheesy and it is immensely entertaining."

Frank Dux (Jean-Claude Van Damme) of the USA travels to Hong Kong to participate in the Kumite -- an underground, full-contact martial arts tournament.

Bloodsport follows Frank Dux as he participates in the Kumite, along with several other fighters from around the world with different fighting styles. There some sappy background information, but it serves mostly as a training montage. There is also a subplot about a reporter trying to cover the Kumite and her romance with Dux, and two CID officers who are searching for Dux in Hong Kong; these subplots were uninspired and dull. Fortunately, the bulk of the story is the actual Kumite event. After several ferocious fights, Bloodsport leads to great climax and satisfying 80s ending.

Bloodsport is a very cheesy 80s martial arts action movie. The dialogue is often very unnatural and unintentionally humorous; the first act of the film, which is mostly a flashback, is the biggest culprit -- I laughed a lot at the terrible dialogue and delivery. Aside from the laughable dialogue, Bloodsport is also very cliché. I think there's a sports cliché around every corner; it even has the "introspective thinking while I'm alone before the final fight" cliché. For a film critic who holds these technicalities to a flaw, Bloodsport is a bad film.

But, I'm not an everyday film critic. -- I don't review movies purely based off of traditional technicalities and flaws. I found Bloodsport to be immensely entertaining. The cheesy dialogue and clichés were actually charming, in my opinion. Kind of like the b-movie charm and humor I found in The Incredible Melting Man. Combine this attractive 80s b-movie charm with some vicious action sequences, and you have an all-around entertaining movie. The action is great, despite most fights being in the form of montage, I loved the different styles of martial arts and how they clashed. The two major issues I had with the film were the useless journalist and CID subplots -- these really cut into the flow of the film, and lacked the charm of the rest of the film.

I'll be blunt: the acting is bad from the entire cast. Apart from the shoddy dialogue writing, the cast plays a major role in the unintentional humor of the film. Jean-Claude Van Damme sounds very unnatural when he speaks, he lacks fluidity in his spoken word; however, he's charismatic and has a strong on-screen presence, and he's also more than physically capable for the role. The film looks good, though. And, the music is fantastic; the Bloodsport soundtrack, despite adding to some clichés, is superb. Director Newt Arnold delivers a cliché and unintentionally hilarious film with exceptional fight sequences; I think his direction would be bad if I had watched this in the 80s, but it's unexplainably charming now.

Overall, Bloodsport is a very good martial arts action movie. It has bad dialogue, bad acting, and bad subplots, but it is attractively charming and cheesy and it is immensely entertaining. The music is also fantastic (listen to it, even if you don't watch the movie), and Jean-Claude Van Damme is great in the many fight sequences. If you like cheesy movies and martial arts, this is worth watching.

Score: 7/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Film Review: Spiderhole (2010)

Spiderhole (Review)
United Kingdom/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"For everything this film does right, it does two things wrong."

Molly (Emma Malin) and three of her fellow homeless art classmates go squatting, but find themselves the target of a hidden evil...

Spiderhole starts off promising. Sure, it doesn't really give us a reason to like these arrogant characters, but it introduces an interesting concept. The buildup is decent and the home is creepy. However, as the film enters its second act, it quickly dwindles and becomes, well, boring. The students are targeted by an unknown surgeon who locks them in the home, but it really feels like nothing is happening. The film becomes more contrived during the final act; the ending is uncertain, and even infuriating.

You know, the type of anger you feel when you're screaming at the characters on screen for their stupidity. Unfortunately, there's plenty of it. You're reading it right: not only are these characters unlikable, they're also stupid. I won't spoil any of the film, but there are so many opportunities for the characters to escape or change their situation, it's mind-numbing to watch them do otherwise. ("Oh, my boyfriend might be injured or possibly dead, I should go explore by myself.")

There is some decent suspense here and there, but nothing particularly terrifying. It's kind of hard to even consider this a horror film considering the lack of horror. Based of the trailer, I was expecting some torture or violence, but even that is limited -- at least in terms of what you actually see, most of the time you witness the aftermath. This is part of the reason the latter half of the film feels like there is nothing going on -- because there really is nothing going on.

The acting is okay, though. I didn't think any of it was bad, but it was definitely overacted. (You can't really blame the actors for the characters they play.) The film looks nice, the interiors look creepy. The music blends well with the film, too. I think writer and director Daniel Simpson has the visuals locked down -- the film is stylish and looks great. However, Simpson's plot is hollow and boring, and Simpson struggles to conjure any genuine horror.

Overall, Spiderhole is a bad film. The film starts off promising and the concept has great potential, but the execution is severely flawed. There simply isn't enough story in this film, and the lack of horror makes it even more boring and bland. For everything this film does right, it does two things wrong. There are much better films to watch, I'd avoid this until you get through all of the good films on your list.

Score: 3/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and blood, some sex and brief nudity.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Film Review: Rainbow Song (2006)

Rainbow Song (Review)
Japan/2006
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...the perfect film to make you feel."

After the loss of his dear friend Aoi Sato (Juri Ueno), Tomoya Kishida (Hayato Ichihara) recollects the significant events they shared...

Rainbow Song begins in the present where Kishida works at a small television studio and receives news of Aoi's unfortunate passing. The film then turns to the conception of their relationship and leads up up to their final goodbyes; in between, we see the pair work on films, seek employment, and console each other during their complicated love lives. It's relatively simple, but extremely effective. The ending is powerful -- it's bittersweet, and allows the film to linger in your mind long after its ending.

Rainbow Song is a fantastic drama. The story's simplicity is attractive to most genre fans, but the characters are the film's main dish. The relationship between Kishida and Aoi is meticulously and masterfully crafted. Every scene they share works efficiently in developing their friendship and their hidden romance. That's also what I love about the film: every scene has a purpose. The film has little-to-no filler content and moves at a moderate pace -- it kept me hooked from beginning to end.

Furthermore, Rainbow Song is a very human experience. It feels very real and genuine. The film's focus on character and relationship allows for a connection between audience and, well, film. And, I was very connected. But, it's not just romance, either. The film also has a focus on general life and the ups and downs we go through -- this, of course, also felt very genuine. In fact, it was also very contemplative and reflective; it's a film that made me reflect on my life and my choices -- there aren't many films that do that nowadays.

The acting is great. Okay, it's superb. Juri Ueno and Hayato Ichihara are great leads, and share great charisma and chemistry. More importantly, the pair emphasize the human-aspect of the film. The film is also beautifully shot; the music compliments the often somber tones of the film. The English subtitles on the Netflix Instant stream has great subtitles, too. Director Naoto Kumazawa (who also assists in the writing) masterfully crafts a thought-provoking and genuinely emotional drama without the melodramatics -- it's one of the most human films I've ever watched.

Overall, Rainbow Song is a masterpiece. It's a powerful drama with deep contemplative and reflective values. It's a film that will make you think about the actual film, but about your life as well. It's a film that doesn't sugarcoat its subject nor does it resort to the melodramatics. It's much more than a romance film, it's a film about life. It's as joyful and happy as it is somber and saddening, the perfect film to make you feel.

Score: 10/10
Parental Guide: The film is generally safe for most audiences. It does deal with themes of death and has some sexual references, but it is far from graphic.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Film Review: Shrooms (2007)

Shrooms (Review)
Ireland/2007
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...the horror is particularly weak and ineffective..."

A group of American tourists and their tour guide take shrooms in the woods... with psychedelically deadly consequences.

So, Tara (Lindsey Haun) and her friends, which consist of your typical horror cutouts, travel 5,000 miles to culturally-rich Ireland to... consume shrooms? Then, they decide to lock their phones and give the keys to the douchebag jock to achieve... a natural trip? And, for some reason, Tara, who has never consumed drugs, decides to eat a... random shroom she fell near? And, I'm writing like this... why? Okay, if you're wondering about the question marks, it's because the story was just stupid at times. After these dumb choices, the film becomes a traditional "run in the woods from an unknown entity" film. The ending is very predictable and underwhelming, too.

Shrooms is an interesting concept with flawed execution. Although the ideas of going to Ireland for shrooms and isolating oneself while doing it are irrational, the concept of doing shrooms while facing some unknown evil is cool. Early on in the film, I knew what was happening and how it would end, but I was hooked -- I stuck to it to the end and had at least some fun. The suspense is light, and there are only a few gory scenes. There are also some decent visuals. But, overall, the horror is lightweight. And, even at such a short runtime, the film felt too long and bloated -- would've been much more effective as a short film.

Leading lady Lindsey Haun overacted the bulk of her performance; I think it was unintentionally funny because of her performance. The rest of the acting was surprisingly decent, despite the characters being generic cardboard cutouts. There are a couple of scenes that are too dark to see, but the general cinematography was also decent. It's an up-to-standard horror film when it comes to the technical side. Director Paddy Breathnach has a great concept at hand, but fails to utilize it; the horror is particularly weak and ineffective, and so is the story.

Overall, Shrooms is a mediocre horror film. It's not terribly bad, but it doesn't do much, either. It's interesting and short enough to kill an hour and a half, but it's also forgettable and occasionally boring. If you have nothing else to watch and you need to kill a night, this might be worth streaming.

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood, some implied sex.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Film Review: Starship Troopers: Invasion (2012)

Starship Troopers: Invasion (Review)
United States/Japan/2012
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"Shoot bugs here, shoot bugs there, and not much variety anywhere."

After rescuing the troopers of Fort Casey, starship Alesia is ordered to search for and investigate the Warden, which has broken all contact...

Starship Troopers: Invasion begins with a great, action-packed introduction. Then, we get some time to cozy up with the generic cast of characters in a mediocre attempt to recreate the cheesy atmosphere of the original Starship Troopers. I usually like character development, but didn't really enjoy it this time around -- these characters just didn't click for me. Fortunately, when these troopers board the Warden, the film becomes an action-packed extravaganza. The film's ending is predictable, but I liked it.

Maybe I spoke a little too soon, though, the film isn't problem-free as soon as they board the Warden. The film's action is completely reliant on shoot em' up, which is good for a moment, but becomes repetitive. Shoot bugs here, shoot bugs there, and not much variety anywhere. There is some cool mech action, but only during the climax; I really wish they had used this more often, we don't get enough mech action, nowadays, at least at this smaller scale. The one-note action makes the simple story more difficult to get through. It's exciting at first, but even explosions get boring after a while.

The voice cast is good. Nothing special and nothing particularly bad. (I couldn't help but think the voice cast would've been better in Japanese.) The visuals are superb when it comes to the settings and environments -- they look realistic, with the colors and lighting adding to the atmosphere. The character designs, much like the character themselves, look bland and uninspired; Johnny Rico looks like Big Boss from the Metal Gear Solid series. The music is your standard action soundtrack, but it does help in creating some epic moments. Director Shinji Aramaki does well in creating a consistent action thrill ride, but it feels like a been-there-done-that experience with a blatant lack of variety.

Overall, Starship Troopers: Invasion is a good action animation film. The story is simple enough for anyone to jump into -- fan of the series or otherwise. The action is exciting and thrilling, but very repetitive. The visuals are also at times luscious, but the character designs are lacking; although Shinji Aramaki directs both, the visuals don't quite match those of Space Pirate Captain Harlock, either.  It's a fun time-killer, but I don't see myself watching this again, at least for a long time.

Score: 6/10
Parental Guide: Violence and some gore, nudity.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Film Review: Penumbra (2011)

Penumbra (Review)
Spain/2011
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No

"...the bulk of the film is boring."

Arrogant businesswoman Marga (Cristina Brondo) finds herself renting an apartment to an eccentric man with hidden intentions...

Penumbra follows Marga as she attempts to seal the deal and rent out the apartment. It begins with Marga negotiating with one man, then with his "driver" or supervisor, then a pair of lawyers... Anyway, they're all waiting for the client, who eagerly wants to rent the apartment and wants to pay multiple times the price and in advance. And that's basically all they do, though: wait. Eventually (more like during the last 20 minutes, excluding credits), the story picks up for a great climax and good ending.

I really appreciate buildup, especially when it's tense and suspenseful. Penumbra has buildup, but it has too much buildup for its own good. Sure, there is some suspense and a solid creep factor during the first two acts, but most of it is really Marga conducting business and, you guessed it, waiting. If the uneventful story doesn't put you off, the dreadfully slow pace might. Again, I love slow-burners, but this one is too slow for its own good. Don't mind an uneventful story and an unnecessarily slow pace? Well, on top of those two glaring issues, you also have to put up with Marga's annoying arrogance -- she's not a very likeable character.

Fortunately, as I previously mentioned, there is some decent suspense here and there. Not nearly enough to fully redeem the first two tedious acts, but enough to make them tolerable and engaging. The film becomes more engaging, more suspenseful, and generally more entertaining during the final act. It's eventful, twisted, and violent. It's like at this point, directors Adrián and Ramiro García Bogliano realized they needed to spruce up the film and thought, "I know, let's move the story forward, lets amp up the suspense, let's toss in gallons of blood, and make sure to lather Cristina Brondo's boobs in baby oil... Yes, yes... Excellent."

The acting isn't demanding nor does it really demand. Leading lady Cristina Brondo is passable, but also a little bland and unnatural. This is partly due to the actual performance, but also due to some of the shoddy dialogue writing. (She's foine, though. That's fine with an o, which makes it more fine.) I like the cinematography and music, it makes the film feel more atmospheric, kind of like a throwback horror film. Directors Adrián and Ramiro García Bogliano have a great grasp on the style of Penumbra, but are inefficient in storytelling and actual writing. (Adrián García Bogliano went on to helm Here Comes The Devil, which is a much better horror film.)

Overall, Penumbra is a mediocre film. It has some solid suspense here and there, and a great climax and ending, but the bulk of the film is boring. That's the best way to describe it: boring. It could've been so much more, but instead we get a short film that's stretched into feature length. Cristina Brondo is a looker, though, if that helps...

Score: 4/10
Parental Guide: Some strong violence and blood, some nudity.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Film Review: The Tortured (2010)

The Tortured (Review)
United States/2010
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: Yes
Amazon Prime: No

"...a passable torture film."

After their child is abducted and killed, couple Elise (Erika Christensen) and Craig Landry (Jesse Metcalfe) seek justice... even if they have to do it themselves.

The Tortured drops you right into the abduction. The only time we see Elise and Craig with their child is during a few generic flashback montages during the first act. After this quick introduction, the serial killer goes to trial, Elise and Craig disagree with the sentence and decide to kidnap and torture him themselves. The rest of the film is the titular torture -- some very gruesome and demented stuff. I appreciate the attempt at the ending, but it didn't really land for me.

The biggest issue for The Tortured is the lack of buildup. Like I said, the film immediately drops you into the situation without any character or relationship buildup. It tries to make up for this with some generic montages, but it doesn't work. I'd love to root for these parents and feel their pain, but it is difficult to do so when you can't even identify with their character; in other words, the characters are practically nonexistent.

This, in turn, may make the film's violence feel more gratuitous than it already is. The violence is effective in creating some cringe-inducing moments, though. Fans of torture films (it feels odd saying that for some reason) will feel right at home with this graphic circus of violence and, well, torture. Not only is it physical, but it's also a little psychological. Other than the creative torture, there is some surprising suspense and tension. The only other issues the story faces are its contrived storytelling and plot contrivances; there are some inconsistent character arcs, too.

The acting is good for the most part. Erika Christensen is good during most of the film; she tends to overact whenever the role becomes demanding, though. I thought Jesse Metcalfe really under-performed during the introduction, but he got much better as the film progressed; I think he really brought it home. Otherwise, it's a fairly straightforward thriller. Director Robert Lieberman is able to conjure some decent suspense and some shocking violence; however, Marek Posival's writing is generic and contrived -- it seems like he spend most of his creativity thinking about torture rather than the themes in the film.

Overall, The Tortured is a merely decent film. It's short runtime, fast pace, and engaging story make this a great time killer. Ultimately, though, the film fails to deliver any effective buildup, fails to develop any character, and it fails to use its thought-provoking themes. It has so much potential, but instead opts to be passable torture film. And that's all it really is: a passable torture film.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Graphic violence and blood, some brief sex and partial nudity.