The August Underground films have become something of legend. Now even though I have never seen the films, I know exactly what they were about and was honestly not very interested in checking them out. Basically what I had been told was they were for hardcore gorehounds which I am not. I like something a little more with my horror. Something a little extra. Toe Tag had always had these films under there belt and not much else until recently. I was present during the World Premiere of the film The Red Sin Tower and it thoroughly blew me away. So when they announced that they were wrapping up the August Underground Films with Penance I decided I would give it a shot.
Now with these films there really is no plot. The best way to describe these movies is Faces of Death meets Blair Witch Project. It is as if someone found the home videos of a serial killer couple and just edited them all together. So you will go from them just driving down the street goofing around to them in the basement sawing a womans head off. What is a running theme in this movie though is constant and steady decline that both of the killers are on. They slowly and gradually begin to grow sick of one another and that can never lead to something good.
It is an odd thing watching this movie because while I’m watching it I felt kind of dirty. Its that same feeling you get when you watch one of the Al Qaeda beheadings online or a video that you know you shouldn’t be watching. Now even though I knew this was a movie it still has that very real Cannibal Holocaust or Texas Chainsaw Massace feel but this is even more real then either of those films. There is no middle ground in these movies. You are watching exactly what the kilers have video taped and none of it is pretty.
Even though the gore is shocking, I still find other parts of the movie far more disturbing. In one scene while one of the killers is mutilating a corpse the other non chalantly removes a ring from the victims finger and contemplates over whether or not to put it on. Another happens to be a home invasion scene during Christmas time. This is probably the most gut wrenching part of the film. An entire family is killed and the mother is raped all while the Christmas tree is glowing in the back ground. There is also a brutal killing of a small child followed by the killer opening her presents under the tree.
While some of you are probably all comfortable with what I have said so far I know for some odd reason that people find animal cruelty far worse. Well there is a litle of that in this movie. Nothing like Cannibal Holocaust with live animals but we do see some cutting up and some feeding of live animals. Its really not that bad so if your a animal lover its not bad but I just want to make it clear that you will see some.
I have begun to notice that alot of films coming out recently from Hollywood seem to glamourize serial killers. This one does the exact opposite. It really shows how dark and deprived these people are. The scary thing about them is that I know people who do some of the “everyday” things that you see them do. Little petty crime stuff like picking on bums, defacing property and recreational drug use. I think thats something that adds another layer to these killers.. They are not just monsters, they are people as well. Which is by far the scariest thing about them.
Fred Vogel has essentially put together a pretty brilliant movie that really does what it sets out to do.. disgust. I’m not sure if it will warrant multiple viewings but just watching this once will sear some nasty images in your mind for quite a long time.