Tuesday 17 April 2012

DVD review: August Underground (Video 2001)

Imagine walking down the street and finding an unmarked VHS tape. Curiosity peaked, you take it home and pop it in. What starts off as two men screwing around with a video camera quickly transforms into an ultra-realistic torture sequence where the unidentified psychopaths tape their exploits as the torment and violate a woman tied to a chair. The sodomy of your morals continues throughout the entirety of the footage, while subtly revealing the killer's shattered pasts via the interactions with the victims and each other. The most shockingly realistic portrait of a serial killer's existence is FRED VOGEL'S AUGUST UNDERGROUND. August Underground is written by Allen Peters and Fred Vogel who also is the director in addition to playing the main psychopath. The shaky camera work, grainy picture quality which make it look like it was shot on a VHS video camera and bad editing adds to the feeling of seeing a authentic amateur home video. The acting is surprisingly good and feels amazingly real, there is a lot of yelling, screaming and laughing going on and on. August Underground´s serial killers are far from the glorified serial killers in the style of Hannibal Lecter, here they are portrayed as monsters and in my opinion his is the way they (and murder) should be portrayed. There are several shocking scenes of sadism, humiliation and degradation. In one scene a female victim with her body smeared with her own blood, urine and feces is forced to eat her brother's genitals. The gore make-up fx are impressive and quite realistic but this isn´t the gorefeat you´d might expect but the violence feels dirty and gritty.
This review is based upon the 2 disc DVD release from Toetag Pictures.
Rating: 5½ out of 7. August Underground is difficult to watch as it´s truly disturbing, uncompromising and shocking. This is probably one of the most extreme and violent films I´ve seen. Recommended only to fans of extreme cinema, in the style of Scrapbook or Snuff 102, others should stay very far away!


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