Sunday, October 25, 2015

Film Review: Vile (2011)

Vile (Review)
United States/2011
Format Viewed For Review: Netflix Instant
Netflix Streaming: No
Amazon Prime: No
*A 31 Days of Halloween Special Review!

"I wouldn't say it's a bad film, but it's certainly not great – I'll leave it at decent."

Ten people are kidnapped and forced to endure intense pain to win their freedom...

Vile has a very interesting concept. The film follows a group of ten forgettable people. These people, which include two couples kidnapped by a conniving woman from a gas station, are forced to play a little game — no, not like Jigsaw. Instead, these captives are given 24 hours to collect adrenaline, dopamine, and Oxycontin for their mysterious captors. How do they do that? Well, they must inflict extreme pain on each other (or just have sex, but that's too much). The rest of the narrative is comprised of said torture. The film's final act feels a bit rushed, but the actual ending was satisfying.

I enjoyed Vile's interesting concept: prisoners forced to torture each other to retrieve chemicals or else. It's not subtle about its theme as it blatantly asks: How far will we go? Still, subtle or not, it's interesting. I've never really found torture films to be frightening, but I cringed a few times in this film. There's an iron, some boiling water, plenty of nail removal — a chunk of the torture, though, is off-screen. Also, the film was very well-paced. It moved very quickly with minimal filler.

The story obviously isn't flawless, though. The film often relies on plot contrivances and the stupidity of its characters. Instead of having sex, they torture themselves; and, one character gives painkillers to another without telling anyone, only prolonging his torture. Aside from being dim, the characters are also hollow. As a side note, one character is incredibly annoying — it's not really a flaw, but it is certainly worth noting. As a whole, I could barely remember any of their names, despite the story trying to develop some romance through the cheesy introduction. I felt the final act was partially crippled by a plot hole or two.

The acting was hit-and-miss. Most of the actors were serviceable, but some were bad. Aside from the delivery, this may also be due to the stilted dialogue. The film is mostly murky, nothing stood out in the cinematography. The music was also forgettable. The film often opts for some ill-fitted edits and some very close-up shots of eyes and foreheads — the cliché indie stuff, I suppose. The film is directed Taylor Sheridan and written by Eric Beck and Kelly Andrea Rubin. I thought the direction was fine, but the writing was flimsy. The concept is interesting, but it allows for too many holes and blatant plot contrivances.

Overall, Vile is a decent film. It's a very fast paced torture horror film. It has some cringe-worthy scenes, both from torture and dialogue, and it's ultimately moderately entertaining. The film's narrative, however, suffers from bland and moronic characters, plot contrivances, and a weak third act; that's on top of some of the poor acting. I wouldn't say it's a bad film, but it's certainly not great – I'll leave it at decent.

Score: 5/10
Parental Guide: Strong violence and gore – the entire film is based off of torture.

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