Written by: : Charles Peterson, Elias Castillo, and Jose Rosete
Directed by: Charles Peterson
Starring: Patrick Adam, Lanny Rethaber, and Steve Furedy
Reviewed by: Brett G.
“We’ve got to find these missing body parts.”
People like to throw around the term “torture porn” a lot to describe the gore-drenched flicks that have populated horror in the past decade. They’ll especially use it in reference to movies like Saw and Hostel, which isn’t quite accurate. Both of those series (yes, even Hostel) at least try to do something more than spill blood and guts on the screen; they either create elaborate plot twists, mystery, and suspense, or give us some fun characters to hang out with before they get tortured to death . When I read the description for The Eleventh Aggression, it had obviously been influenced by this trend, but I hoped it would resist the urge to be simple, grand guignol splatter show.
It’s the story of a Vietnam vet who has a few screws loose (let’s count off the cliché’s--that’s one). Severely pissed off at the world and all the injustices he sees committed by people who don’t appreciate life (there’s two), he decides to murder people to take out his aggression. It’s up to a couple of cops who don’t quite get along (there’s three) to team up and take the guy down; of course, they’ve got their own personal demons to deal with, like crumbling marriages and crazy girlfriends (there’s four).
The Eleventh Aggression pretty much announces its intentions immediately; in the opening scene, our psychopath decides to funnel drano down a girl’s vagina, which causes her guts (and unborn child) to spill out. In a rare moment of restraint, we don’t actually see the guts, but the scene itself is greasy enough to set the proper mood for this one. Admittedly, it does try to do something a little bit more, but it never seems too interested in those things. Instead, it only shows any sort of vigor and inventiveness when the bad guy has his victims bound and gagged; he then proceeds to mutilate them in heinous fashion. It’s gruesome and gross, but that’s about all; it fails because it’s neither actually disturbing, nor is it fun. Everything is played straight and with little technical competence or style, which eliminates the possibility of entertainment. Nor are we never engrossed enough in the proceedings to actually care that this guy is committing these foul acts. The characters that are being butchered are literally random people that wander into the narrative, and there’s no sense of suspense or mystery to keep us interested. Instead, the film seems content to say, “hey, watch this” before chopping off another body part.
Check out the above quoted dialogue--in just about any other movie, you’d be howling at such absurdity, but here, the characters actually say it with a straight face. In fact, they do everything with a straight face, like yell at each other constantly. Everyone is such an asshole that you can kind of empathize with the killer’s insistence that these people are disrespectful. Our two protagonists bicker all the time, then one treats his wife like dirt when he gets home. His partner (the younger of the two, who has obviously emptied an entire jar of hair gel for each scene) yells at everybody from suspects to waitresses. It’s like he’s trying to channel Colin Farrell from Miami Vice, but instead he comes off like the most generic high-strung “bad cop” from a television movie of the week cop melodrama. I get that these guys are living life on the edge, but I just wished someone would come shove them off of it.
The numerous plot flaws make them appear incompetent and kill the narrative as well; in fact, one of the two figures out everything except the identity of the killer about 30 minutes in. So we’re just left hanging around waiting for these guys to get wise while the killer maims some victims. There are a lot of contrivances that allow this to happen--for example, we’re told that one victim literally “has no past”--no friends or family--that would easily lead them to the psychotic ex-boyfriend that killed her. The film does try to wrap up things somewhat interestingly, but it’ll really only come as a surprise to anyone who hasn’t seen Seven.
If you’ve been paying attention lately, you’ll notice that a lot of the films we’ve reviewed have been generously provided by Chemical Burn Entertainment, and this is another one. Unfortunately, it falls in line with the rest of the poor films they’ve handled; they’ll release the film on DVD in June, and don’t do a double take when you see the film’s transfer--as the screen caps show, the ratio does indeed seem to about 2.70:1. But Ben-Hur this ain’t; the film tells us that the film’s title refers to the condition the madman has, which has driven him to murder. That’s fine, but I’m still going to quip that I’m glad that aggressions one through ten weren’t committed to film. Trash it!
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