Wednesday, 31 August 2011



Why give smartass critics the ammunition? Calling your movie Vile is like naming your son Ugly Gimp: you're asking for trouble, frankly. Maybe you're being ironic, but that can backfire as well: the dull Travolta movie Perfect gathered a bunch of reviews smugly expressing the same sentiment: "No it isn't." And if films are going to be titled with Ronseal accuracy then this should really be called Saw Wannabe: Bunch Of Uninteresting People Torture Each Other For Narratively Flimsy Reasons because that's pretty much all that happens. Whoopee.

Like far too many genre films, Vile begins with a 4x4 full of dullards driving through the drab American wilderness: they pick up a passenger in a gas station who promptly drugs them. When they wake up they're trapped in a completely sealed building with another bunch of idiots and informed via videolink that they have to torture each other. They have had glass vials (oh dear, it's a pun) surgically attached to their brains to collect a particular chemical produced during extreme pain. And the clock is ticking....

So it's basically Saw II but with more sadism and lipsmacking torture and less in the way of plausibility and plot. I'll repeat that, this is a film that makes less sense than Saw II. Has this mysterious organisation never heard of the concept of synthesising chemicals? Why do none of the captives even try to find a way out? Instead they cheerfully draw lots to see who's first to be tied to the kitchen table and attacked with hammers and boiling water. It's true that there was a loud and well-earned cheer halfway through when one of the women, who'd decided that some people should suffer more than others, was massively punched in the face, but that was really the best moment in the movie.

Still, we got several sequences of annoying dumbasses hurting themselves and each other, which is always fun, and a nasty if totally nonsensical sequence when one of the characters dies before his chemicals have been collected (wouldn't they still be usable?) and someone else has to run around repeatedly hurting themselves to make up the difference (wasn't their vial full already?). But that's torture porn for you - like regular porn, we're not really interested in the finer points of narrative. Moments excepted, Vile really isn't very good - granted there are worse movies clogging up the shelves at Blockbusters, but that's not much of a defence.


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