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A Movie A Week #16: Vile

Out of the blood splattered carcass of the Saw franchise has emerged a brand new gore-torture genre. Let’s call it Gore-ture, the latest edition to which is Vile, a stab-happy first effort from bit-actor turned director Taylor Sheridan.  Plot-wise, it’s nothing new.  Four pretty faced twenty-somethings pick up the wrong drifter whilst returning from a road trip and subsequently get gassed. They awake to find themselves with tubes attached to their heads in a dark and dingy house with four just as confused strangers. There’s seemingly no escape.

Here comes the twist: their captor is a mysterious drug dealer who specialises in creating a unique designer drug. The main ingredient? A chemical produced by the brain whenever it undergoes intense fear or injury.  And that’s precisely what these eight unfortunate souls will have to produce if they want to escape. It’s like Breaking Bad gone wrong.

Despite taking just a little too long to get going, when the pressure’s finally on Vile wastes no time living up to its monosyllabic title.   Our group of conflicted victims must inflict enough pain and suffering on each other to fill an on-screen progress bar to 100%, like some sort of demented video game loading screen.  Nails are yanked from quivering fingers, screwdrivers are jammed into kneecaps, and bare flesh is literally cheese-grated – all in the name of freedom.  In fact, our sullen abductees transform into emotionless (and surprisingly inventive) torture-creeps with relative ease.  Sheridan occasionally shy’s away from showing audiences the gory details, assumingly to avoid repetition (once you’ve seen one hastily removed fingernail you’ve seen them all, right?), but retains the teeth clenching sound effects that are guaranteed to leave you cringing.

And like any good Gore-ture movie it keeps you guessing.  Who’s good? Who’s evil? Who knows more than they’re letting on? Who’s enjoying this torture a little more than they should? These are all questions you’ll find yourself pondering when our original two couples are thrown together in a desperate situation with four complete strangers.  Overall, Sheridan creates a tense and bloody first effort that is only let down by its out of place side step into artsy territory. With the Saw franchise (supposedly) coming to an end, Vile has the potential to be the next heir to the Gore-ture throne. But watch out, it’s booby-trapped.

Originally featured on


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