GoreGoyles 2: Back To The Flesh Movie Review
Review written by Rosie Fletcher
Released by Helltimate Studio
Produced by Alexandre Michaud
2007, 101 minutes, Not rated
DVD released on April 3rd, 2007
Eric Therrien as Uncle Vicious
Directed by Alexandre Michaud
Marco Calliari as Crane
Eric Therrien as Jack
Sebastien Croteau as Joe
Martin Dubriel as Billy
Directed by Miles Findlayson
John Muggleton as Atkins
Brett Kelly as The Rookie
Ryan Greenacre as Bill Walker
Tara Mckenzie as Cathy Walker
GoreGoyles: Back To The Flesh is the second part of an anthology series hosted by Uncle Vicious — a dirty old man who keeps a naked woman chained in his basement.
Each part contains two films of around 50 minutes long. First impressions of GoreGoyles were very positive — the menu screen shows a massive pair of arse cheeks and a bloke calling me a “fucking sick fuck”, so I thought I’d be in for something gross, gory and funny, with a load of gratuitous nudity, made with a lot of love. The intro from Uncle Vicious was suitably rude and funny, too, so all signs were good. But this intro was somewhat at odds with the two films in GoreGoyles: Back To The Flesh — Clean and The Walkers.
If you’ll excuse me for being a bit snotty, the two films make up a sort of dialogue about the horror genre. Clean is the reason people who haven’t met me think I’ll have dyed black hair, read comic books and have questionable personal hygiene. The Walkers is my response to them (well no, The Wickerman, Jaws, The Exorcist or possibly a low budget indie flick called Oculus is actually my response to them, but for the purposes of this review The Walkers works fine).
Clean is about a man, Crane, who is pissed off with the world and wants to do something about it before he kills himself out of sheer despair. Crane infiltrates and attends a snuff party with a bunch of nasty characters and a whole load of violence ensues.
Crane is played by Marco Calliari, who according to the press notes is better known for his part in Montreal’s most popular metal band. I can only hope he’s a better musician that he is an actor because his performance was frankly horrible — and not in a good way. He’s supposed to be playing a man so disillusioned with the world that he’s willing to commit mass murder and kill himself, but rarely have I seen anyone look less depressed. To be fair to him, though, the script is utterly dreadful. Clean is at least half an hour too long, and there’s a great deal of unnecessary plot and motivation explanation throughout. I can’t understand how someone who works in film doesn’t get the point that movies are a visual medium. If you want to show someone pissed off with the world then get your actor to do a sad face or something rather than getting him to tell everyone he’s pissed off repeatedly. If he enacts a plan to kill a bunch of people and you’ve shown that, then there’s really no need to explain that he had a plan to kill a bunch of people and that he’s now completed this plan. Good grief!
Calliari isn’t the only one who’s awful in Clean — pretty much the whole cast sucks, although I think it’s only fair to blame the script and the direction as much as the actors. The stripper who’s intended to be the snuff club’s next victim, for example, makes no attempt to struggle or get away while she’s first being punched repeatedly and then having bits cut off her. There seems to be an internal logic in Clean that once someone’s fallen over they become catatonic.
But there’s a lot of gore and there are some boobs and it’s a low budget film and good actors can be expensive and you probably think I’m being unfairly harsh, bearing in mind this is a genre film to appeal to a particular crowd, which I’m not, strictly speaking, part of, being female. Really, no.
The really big problem with Clean is nothing to do with the type of film it is, it’s that it takes itself incredibly seriously. Rather than being some gory gross-out fun, it’s melodramatic and silly. It has a moral standpoint that, at worst, is flawed and inconsistent and, at best, actually quite offensive.
Crane hates the world, hates himself and wants to “Clean” it of some nasty people before he kills himself. As if being part of a snuff club weren’t enough, we’re given little indicators that the gang members are fairly bad people all ‘round: One is a capitalist, one is a bit of a racist, a third has his fingers in the prostitution industry. This is a strangely moralistic standpoint coming from a film that has no less than three disembowellings and a scene with the killer doing what I can only describe as “digging” another man’s body with a spade. I’m really hoping that the killing of the first woman from the bar and the dancer at the club are oversights on the director’s part, but sadly I suspect not. I think he’s actually saying that a woman who’s slightly slutty is comparable to a guy who runs a prostitution ring and likes to torture and kill people on camera as a hobby.
My main problem with Clean is not that it’s offensive. It’s that Clean is over written and ridiculously earnest. In the extras there’s a nice feature with the two directors chatting, and you get the impression that Alexandre Michaud actually thinks he’s doing something brave and important by making Clean. He criticises genre films which are full of “blood, tits and violence” (which is exactly what Clean is), and he seems to be taking the moral highground because of the wholly unsophisticated morality that Clean is pedaling. This line, for example illustrates nicely what I mean about it being over written.
The killer to one of his victims: “I’m on a path to destruction and your golden god is not worth anything to me!”
This line is said with such sincerity, as if the director hasn’t just shown a close up of someone sticking their whole head into a dead woman’s stomach. This isn’t high art. It’s a cheap genre flick and its only appeal is blood, tits and violence. The misguided idea that this film is more than that is what makes Clean utter rubbish.
After watching The Walkers, I wondered why on earth director Miles Findlayson would have let Alexandre Michaud put his film with Clean in this anthology. A first thought was maybe that he did it to make The Walkers look better in comparison, but the director’s interview in the extras section actually provided me with the answer. Findlayson explained that when you have a 50 minute piece, there’s basically nothing you can do with it — it’s too long for festivals and too short as a feature.
The Walkers is a thriller in the style of films like Fargo. It’s heavily character and dialogue based and has only a few moments of violence. It’s about when a husband and wife team of convicts and the policemen chasing them get lost in a forest. Its prevailing mood is one of despair and increasing desperation, rather than fear or revulsion.
It’s a fairly simple premise, and it works well because the four performers are all excellent and the script is understated and intelligent. Special mention should go to John Muggleton, who plays Atkins, the policeman whose wife went missing three years ago, with intensity and with restraint. The Walkers is about relationships, survival and mental strength.
I should mention that it isn’t about a big moss-monster that lives in the woods, which is what Michaud seems to want you to believe if you look at the screenshot on the back of the DVD case. The mention of the moss-man-monster (yes, it’s mentioned and yes, that shot is from the film, but believe me, it’s not what you’re thinking), actually annoyed me slightly in retrospect. It was fairly irrelevant and felt like a nod in the direction of horror, possible to justify this film’s inclusion in a horror anthology. To be fair, people who like their films high paced and full of action might find The Walkers a bit on the boring side, so implying it’s about a monster isn’t doing anyone any favours. (What’s also slightly weird is that the screenshot for Clean on the DVD case actually isn’t in either film)
It’s seems such an odd decision to put The Walkers and Clean in the same anthology because they appeal to such utterly different camps. The Walkers will appeal to people who like their films thoughtful and cerebral and who don’t mind a lot of talking and not all that much death. Clean will appeal only to 14-year-old boys in black t-shirts who listen to heavy metal and fantasise about carrying out Columbine-style killings.
Video and Audio:
Not Rated, as this was a screener.
In terms of extras there's "Drunk Directors", a conversation between Michaud and Findlayson who seem to be mates. It's really interesting and an absolute must watch but does lead you to believe that Michaud has delusions of grandeur. In addition to that there's "the book of gore" which contains some ink drawings/cartoons of scary gothic things and Uncle Vicious reading some biogs of cast and crew. Nothing special but Uncle Vicious is quite funny and watchable. Then there's the trailers for Clean and The Walkers as well as one for the first GoreGoyles movie, and also a farewell from Uncle Vicious which is certainly worth a look too