Tuesday, 15 May 2012



Hopes weren't high for this German-originated, pseudo-American slasher movie which is actually dated 2009 but has only just seeped into the British distribution system. In some respects it's my own stupid fault for not heeding the advice on my Twitter feed and deleting it from my rentals queue sooner. In other respects, sometimes you never know: Dark Shadows has been getting some extremely mixed reviews and I thoroughly enjoyed that one. Anyway, they sent it so I watched it. Today's lesson: always monitor your rental queue.

The basic plot of Break can be summed up astonishingly simply: a quartet of women go on a camping holiday in a remote forest and get picked off one by one by a couple of homicidal maniacs. Which, if any, of the four will survive and manage to fight back against the loonies? That's all that happens. Oh, you can go into detail about the crossbows and the rapes and the rifles and the chases and the acres of pointless prattle you have to stodge through to get to the bloody meat, but it's hardly worth the bother. There's no great subtext, no social commentary buried away among the indifferently staged carnage; there's literally nothing else going on beyond two whackjobs chasing some women round a forest. Cue end credits. Hey, if you want depth, go rent an Ozu or an Antonioni.

Which isn't necessarily a problem. Friday The 13th sequels don't have much in the way of depth or significance either, but they're generally done with enough verve and skill to get by. Break may deliver on the blood and violence (and a rape scene that's been mercifully cut by nearly a minute by the BBFC), but it's visually ugly, extraordinarily badly put together and technically pretty shoddy. Yes, camera equipment has become more affordable over recent years but that doesn't mean that anyone with a few grand should go out and start making crappy slasher movies just because they've got the tools; the writing, acting, editing and directing, photography, music and sound recording are all well below acceptable standards of basic semi-professional competence.

If you want nothing more from a horror movie than four average-looking women being chased round drab woodland and brutalised by a pair of rednecks, you'll probably get your money's worth. But if you've the slightest interest at all in character, technical skill or the rudiments of film-making, you're going to be badly shortchanged with Break. Matthias Olof Eich is the guy nominally credited as director, but there's a lot of difference between being a film director and being someone who just wanders around the film set and shouts "Action!" and "Cut!" at apparently random intervals. Rubbish.


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