Anarchy Parlor Movie Review
Written by Steven Wood
Released by Gravitas Ventures
Written and directed by Devon Downs and Kenny Gage
2014, 96 minutes, Not Rated
Released on VOD on May 12th, 2015 | Theatrical release on June 19th, 2015
Robert LaSardo as The Artist
Tiffany DeMarco as Amy
Sara Fabel as Uta
Jordan James Smith as Jessee
A group of American tourists find themselves at the mercy of a deranged and mysterious man who calls himself “The Artist”.
So, torture porn is a thing again? I thought this went away when the Saw franchise finally kicked the bucket. Regardless, I had a small inclination of hope before viewing Anarchy Parlor, until I realized that it was very closely related to Hostel, at least in terms of plot.
When you’re in college and from the United States, why would you consider visiting Eastern Europe? No offense to the area, but when in horror, Americans going to Eastern Europe equals death. Maybe the party atmosphere is exciting enough to dish out thousands of dollars on a plane ticket, or maybe you have your parents' money to blow, which is the likely case in a movie like this.
Back on topic, Anarchy Parlor tries its damnedest to be Hostel, but falls flat due to the lack of practical effects and not having the balls to go as far as it should have in terms of violence. If you’re making something in the torture porn genre (emphasis on the porn in this case), do something completely sadistic and you might hold my attention. When I see an autopsy table, a drainage system, tool box full of stainless steel surgical instruments, and a madman wearing a rubber apron, I expect some serious pain and torture to be implemented. Instead, we get some very minor scalpel usage resulting in skin removal. Sounds fun.
While the acts of violence are tame for a movie like this, I give the filmmakers credit when practical effects are used, although very minimal. I tend to look away when someone gets cut, but when I noticed both the slicing and blood is CGI, I didn’t have to shy away. The only bit of practical that I could point out is the after effect of an ear and tongue removal. Gross, but nothing that hasn’t been seen numerous times before.
Now I’ve arrived at my real problem with Anarchy Parlor: the gratuity for sake of gratuity. If I wanted to watch a softcore porno, I’m sure I can find an old episode of Red Shoe Diaries or some Skinemax flick. I don’t need to see overlong scenes of tits and ass. If there is a sex scene, fine, but there is a subtle line that’s crossed when the actor starts groping and squeezing the actress in such a way to take you out of whatever genre of movie you’re watching...except porn. I guess that’s why there were at least three nude-models-turned-actresses cast.
The acting could best be described as pitiful. Maybe that has to do with Devon Downs and Kenny Gage, the movie’s two directors and writers. It is their first time directing a movie, together or separate, and first time writing for Downs. Boy oh boy does the lack of experience show its ugly head. On a side and somewhat funny note, Sara Fabel’s character Uta reminded me of Sherri Moon Zombie’s Baby from House of 1000 Corpses and The Devils Rejects. I can imagine both Downs and Gage directing her to act that way because there is no chance of it being a coincidence.
Twists are all the rage recently, and Anarchy Parlor is no different, but this is one of the more “no fucking way that happens” type situations that I’ve ever seen. I’m spoiling this, and I don’t care, so here we go:
Tiffany DeMarco’s character Amy is the most level headed out of the bunch, at least that’s what we’re forced to believe. She’s being forced to witness all of The Artist’s torture of her friends, because he’s “training” her to be an apprentice of his. She can’t stand the site of blood and is expectedly grossed out by the whole thing. Come the end, and just after the twist (which is stupid and I won’t bring up), she dons the rubber apron and starts conducting the torture on one of her own friends, and is happy whilst doing it. Her transition from squeamish girl into sadistic torturer takes all of 48 hours, which I find pretty hilarious.
I almost forgot, the word “parlor” in the movie’s title is referring to the fact that The Artist is a tattoo artist, but we only see him tattooing twice. One piece is tiny script lettering and the other an upside down cross with no detail whatsoever. There is literally NOTHING in the movie’s plot that deals with the fact he is a tattoo artist. He works in a tattoo parlor, yes, but that has nothing to do with his actual profession, which is explained during the last 10 minutes.
The half point I’m issuing is only due to the fact the annoying kids were killed.