Torture

[3.0] The fourth Saw film isn’t nearly as clever as it tries so desperately to be, and the death traps for which the series is so famous are woefully uninspired. The movie also deflates the mystique of its central character, Jigsaw, by giving him a cheezy, cliched back story. Director Darren Lynn Bousman shows a knack for imaginitive scene transitions, but everything else about this …

[6.5] A demented German surgeon connects the gastro-intestinal tracts of two hapless American women and a Japanese man to create a ‘human centipede’ in this sick little horror flick from Dutch director Tom Six. The film is most horrifying before the operation, where the surgeon (played most creepily by Dieter Laser), gives his victims a slide show presentation of what he’s about to do with …

[8.5] A 14-year-old goes home with a guy in his 30s. What follows is a nightmarish power struggle. Hard Candy is an intense character-driven thriller that succeeds primarily for the incredible performances of Patrick Wilson (Watchmen) and Ellen Page (Juno). The screenplay dives into murky moral waters, asking us to empathize with a young girl who inflicts torture and a grown man who may or …

[7.5] Crazed hunters pursue an American mountain cyclist through the misty Austrian wilderness until all parties fall prey to a super-sick and twisted, almost supernatural character referred to as Mortis. Director Federico Zampaglione puts a few fresh spins on this mash-up of familiar tropes and proves downright masterful at building atmosphere and suspense. The scenes involving Mortis (Nuot Arquint) are a rare treat for horror …

[8.0] Half-way through The Loved Ones, I was hating it all over. The fact that it won me back impresses the shit out of me. It’s an Australian horror flick about a hapless teenager struggling with survivor’s guilt (Xavier Samuel) who gets kidnapped by a spoiled, sadistic classmate (Robin McLeavy) and her whipped father (John Brumpton). Once tied to a chair beneath a spinning disco …

[3.0] A man decides to rob the home of a client, unaware that a psycho-killer has already laid claim to the family and has booby-trapped their entire house. If you’d never ever seen a home invasion or torture porn flick, maybe The Collector would be something of novel interest. But there is absolutely nothing new here — it’s just a series of Saw-like death sequences, …