Chaos review by Matt FuerstWhen I go see a movie in the theatres, when I am driving home I am usually formulating my introductory paragraph. I generally know how the rest of the review is going to go, a little summary, my thoughts on the movie, a look at the technical details, etc... The obvious tract to take for Chaos is a paragraph on the state of violence today - in the media, in film, in our society and try to tie them all together. But I really need to take another path here... I need to admit my embarrassment for actually seeing Chaos and get the heavy weight off my chest. I saw a trailer for Chaos before Devil's Rejects several weeks ago. The Chaos trailer is highly effective, and if you've never seen it, I'd highly recommend it. Chaos is a tiny movie getting a tiny release, but apparently my local theatre of choice EMagine Novi decided to pick it up. I felt pretty obligated to go see it... independent horror, my first NC-17 theatrical movie, etc... I did my research before leaving home and knew what I was in for: a movie I was sadly pretty certain to dislike, but I made the fateful decision and went anyways. As expected, Chaos is a disappointing, distasteful movie that I'm pretty confident few will like, but I sat through it anyways.
I'm not going to be the first person to mention that Chaos is pretty much a shot-for-shot remake of Wes Craven' Last House on the Left, itself a remake of Bergman's Virgin Spring. Apparently there was a deal in place for this to be a more-official remake, complete with a Last House on the Left-ish title like The House in the Middle of Nowhere. Shit happened apparently and that fell through so LHotL is no where mentioned in the film but it's roots are obvious for horror nerds. Two innocent teeny-boppers decide to go off to a rave in the middle of the woods. Also stalking within the same woods are a band of 4 insane murdering thugs. The horror film requirements state the innocent girls must meet up with the kooks, and have horrible things happen to them, which is exactly what happens. I'm going to skip the gory details of what exactly happens, but I will say that the movie definitely earns it's NC-17 rating with the torture, brutalization and murders of the young girls. These scenes compromise the bulk of the movie, but similar to LHotL there is a quick-ish Third Act involving the killers just happening to stumble upon the house of one of the girl's parents, who know something has gone horribly wrong with their daughter.
This introduces revenge into the picture, along with a series of ridiculous occurrences. One more ridiculous and out of continuity thing happens after another in the climax that makes it pretty hard thing to watch without laughing aloud, even while grizzly activities are taking place. In fact by the end, nearly the whole audience was howling, which was not the intent I am certain. For all the pure ugliness that takes place with the victims, it really is the audience that is victimized with the non-sensical ending of the flick. It's not non-sensical in the David Lynch sense (I would have loved for one of the victims to "wake up" from a daydream in the middle of Calculus class comparatively), it's non-sensical in the "we ran out of film and can just piece together something from what we've got so far" sense.
I went at a bit of an odd time, to the 3 PM Sunday afternoon showing. No, I didn't go to the 3 PM showing just to get the matinee prices, I'm not that cheap. It just happened to be the time I had free this past weekend. There were 18 people in the theatre for the showing, I wasn't sure what really to expect, but at 18 people on opening weekend I guess Chaos isn't going to be the next runaway smash of the summer. About 4 guys decided to bring their girlfriends/wives to the film. Those dudes are never, ever, getting sex again. Idiots.
Alright, we'll I've already done more than just hinting that I found Chaos to be a pretty disgusting waste of time. Chaos clocks in under 80 minutes, which is a fine running time for an exploitation type horror flick, but Chaos still manages to find time to be boring. We manage to get no characterization for our victims, so the horrible things that happen to them are horrible in the graphic sense, but not in any meaningful way. I've read some reviews that call Chaos very amateurish in it's production, but I cannot support that claim. The camera work is appropriate, lighting was decent and the special effects were effective... it certainly looks far better than a direct to DVD horror flick, of which I have seen quite a few.
The producers of Chaos had the best thing imaginable happen to them, the Fat Man actually wrote a letter to the public urging them to not see Chaos. That's better publicity than any movie could buy, especially a low budget horror film. After having read Ebert's letter, along with the official response from the Chaos producers, I have to say: the Fat Man is right. The Chaos producers point out that today's audience has unlimited access to gore and debauchery, with sites like rotten.com and ogrish.com (I'm not going to hotlink them you sickos, copy and paste if you want!) they wanted to produce a movie that could attempt to shock even those numbed by today's society. Well, too bad their movie sucks and should be shunned! I'm sure we could film inside a slaughter house and get footage that causes a lot of queasiness but that doesn't make it good or some sort of grand statement. Still, I salute the P.T. Barnum type effort in responding to Ebert and trying to get more publicity for their flick.
Chaos has been pretty universally panned. Even the horror nerds, of whom there's a clique that pretty much loves most anything, seem to dislike it. Of course, even this level of distaste will drive some people to "give it a shot", I guess that's my excuse. I write this to tell warn you you'll probably go away dissatisfied, remember what curiosity did to the cat. And don't say I didn't warn you.
1 out of 10 Jackasses blog comments powered by Disqus