It's often all too easy to get yourself into a bit of a movie rut, particularly with the ever-fickle horror genre where trends reign supreme. You end up stuck watching the same films that bear slightly different titles but all feature creepy kids, shaky cameras and terrible CGI. It gets tiring, and the only way out is to happen across a little gem that shakes you out of the slump and reminds you what real horror looks like. Otherwise you'll be destined to stumble along until the trickle of films you were clinging to finally fades away like a child's footprints in the snow. Then you freeze to death. If only there was a film I could parallel that analogy to...
|Obligatory semi-nudity; always a must-have.|
To give a brief outline of the plot (which is a little dense for a curt 90 minute run-time), James McAvoy plays Detective Sergeant Bruce Robertson, a crooked copper who sees the possibility of promotion and, by extension, a chance to rekindle his rather unorthodox relationship with his wife when he's assigned to the case of a murdered Japanese student. Alongside the main plot, Robertson also partakes in a series of increasingly cruel "games" with his work colleagues in order to gain the upper hand over them for the upcoming promotion and everything is sewed together nicely by plenty of drug use and a series of increasingly sporadic and nightmarish hallucinations.
|Look at him, he's such a cheeky wee scamp.|
|Lesson number one, kids: don't have a bad trip.|
This is where we come in, horror fans, because as Bruce's world spirals out of control into a drug-fuelled hallucinogenic mess, shit starts to get real. Or, as the case may be here, unreal. Unbridled, visceral surrealism is almost exclusively the domain of horror films (look at Hellraiser, The Beyond and Eraserhead) thanks to over-the-top weird generally not being considered an enjoyable experience, but Filth descends very abruptly into an extremely unpleasant wreck of schizophrenic mayhem that wouldn't feel out of place next to a gentleman being given a blowjob by someone in a bear suit. Nope. Still can't think a movie with something like that in it.
Then there's the score, arranged by Clint Mansell, which melds together haunting orchestral pieces with chirpy pop music to add to the already manic atmosphere of the film, bringing to mind the same sort of terrifyingly unhinged carnage as the likes of Funny Games. The music hops up and down in time with the tone of the film, knowing exactly when it's needed and when to let the scenes speak for themselves. Which they do, very loudly and with gorgeously over the top set design, jump scares and atmospheric lighting to both enthral and disturb us, the unsuspecting audience.
|A special shout-out to the atmospheric use of lighting, particularly in later|
scenes when the tone turns much darker.
|Not a spoiler, promise; this is in the advert too.|
Filth is out on DVD in the UK on 10th February and is hopefully due for release in North America this spring.