August Underground (2002)
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Critic Reviews for August Underground
Audience Reviews for August Underground
Just as vile and repulsive as you'd expect a film about two sociopathic sexual deviants to be, made even more repugnant due to the fact it's been done psuedo-snuff style shot on hand-held video by one of the sadists featured in the movie who you never actually see. It's actually a very well made film for what it is and definitely achieved a sense of realism. If you fail to tap into the realistic nature then you'll likely be bored and disappointed as there isn't a great deal of gore or endless scenes of violence to hold the attention of those expecting a killathon type film. It's sick no doubt, but without resorting to OTT effects. I find very few things these days that shock but this one did more than most. Not a film for everyone, it now seems trendy these days for horror fans to hate on it without actually seeing it.
Many words came to mind when I was watching this. Boring. Infantile. Immature. Pointless. Shit. It is extreme, but that doesn't make this worthwhile in and of itself. Where Passolini or Miike have used a lot of the same situations in their films, the violence was there for a purpose as a plot device or to make a statement about something. Here the gore is just there for gores sake and for that reason this film and Fred Vogel in particular get no respect. I'm not offended by the film's subject matter at all, nor do I think it went to far at any point. This was just boring, unintresting and pointless. And poorly made on top of that. Most of the violence happens off screen and what we do see is the aftermath. This movie would shock all mainstream audiences, but since the people who will end up seeing this have already seen everything done here, done better elsewhere, I really don't understand the rep this series gets in the extreme horror community. SUCKS.
The title and box suggest a subdued Euro horror verite, but this is old fashioned North American handheld homemade horror. For that genre, or just as a realistic spat of serial killing, there are some great scenes but nothing holding this together as a cohesive piece. The biggest problem with this one is focusing on the one killer and not exposing more of the cameraman's nastiness. This is a few steps above what is passed off as serial killer movies today in the mainstream market, and any of those tweens supporting crapstream horror who accidentally watch this won't be able to take it. Course the visuals are astonishingly terrible, leaving one longing for the fine lens of Miike to better film the snuff. Does the movie feel real during some spots? Yes. Does that make me any more impressed with it as an intentional piece of work? No, because it needs to have some more thought and composition behind it, at least in visual terms so that it hangs together. If you can't stand another mediocre PG-13 horror, then watch this mediocre extreme film instead for all the right sins. It's just that I've seen *real* snuff done more artfully than this. That, and considering how much that main actress in the chair got paid, these guys could have broken down and afforded a better camera. "So Fucked Up" highlight: rubbing shit on the tied-up girl's partially sliced off nipple
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