March 15, 2012
There are a lot of conversations from a lot of movies that have stuck with me in life. One from my favorite film involves a man and woman arguing, and the woman disgustedly telling the man "You don't have to be intentionally repulsive!" The man perplexedly exclaims "Intentionally repulsive? I'm just trying to make it sound good!" - and then goes on with his argument.
There are a lot of times when I feel horror filmmakers follow the lead of that man. They don't need to go as far as they do, but they think sensationalizing everything makes their intentions more clear. It's hard for me to look at David Blyth's Wound - a movie whose opening sequence ends with a prosthetic penis getting slowly removed with scissors - and not think those kind of thoughts.
Now, a little brutality is not something I'm generally opposed to - you can scroll through this site and find dozens of movies I've commended for being violent/gory/etc. - but when it doesn't seem to serve a purpose I start to worry. And Wound is the kind of movie that just makes me scratch my head in that regard. I think it makes sense to an extent, and I get the message it's trying to send to an extent and I think there's a kind of artistic side to it to an extent. But those extents add up.
I really can't even begin to explain the plot of Wound without going too far into speculation and spoilers. The best thing I can say is to expect something in the vein of David Lynch or Ken Russell (the late British filmmaker is even quoted as a supporter on the poster!) but with far less flair or vision. Blyth frames some moments really well - fog effects go a long way for some scenes - but they're just moments in the film that spends most if its brief runtime hammering you over the head with sadism, torture, and ridiculously bloody imagery.
I know it sounds like I'm being Mr. Uptight here, but I just struggle with a film like this that expects us to feel a physical effect from awful images while spending so little time stimulating our interest in the film's characters or the events that we're seeing. I truly didn't care about what was going on on screen, which left me just waiting for the next piece of "shocking" footage that was waiting to linger on the screen for an uncomfortable amount of time. Everything from a dominating and abusive husband to a man in a pig suit raping someone on a bathroom floor to a truly disgusting birth scene is in play here. All of these scenes are repulsive, but all of these scenes also felt pretty pointless to me.
I know Wound is an ambitious attempt for an indie filmmaker, and maybe people who are into surrealism or who get turned on by torture or who took too many psychotropic drugs will find something of note in Wound. But as I watched Wound, all it did for me is make me increasingly interested in seeing it end so I could move on with my life and do anything else. It didn't convince me of anything by being intentionally repulsive. It just made me want to walk away from it and never look back.
Wound is out on DVD now, so if you're interested in seeing for yourself, you've got that choice.