Tuesday, 21 April 2015

August Underground (2001)

I know I've been absent for a few weeks but my wife has had another Multiple Sclerosis relapse and is due to go back into hospital for another course of treatment - it's the same chemotherapy as they give leukaemia patients. Plus I've had to do a load of construction/carpentry work on my daughters bedroom and other assorted shit. Anyway, I thought I should at least try to get back into the swing of things and what better than the light-hearted August Underground to get started...

Five minutes in and I'm wondering how the hell Fred Vogel can maintain this for a whole 70 minutes.

Grim, nasty, horrific, punishing. The film acts as a counterpoint to the trivialisation of torture and abasement portrayed in the media and popular 15 cert Hollywood "horror" movies. Serial killers are nasty evil fuckers and not one-liner snapping media whores. Serial killers don't eat fava beans and don't drink fucking Chianti. Vogel gives us a killer that we most definitely wouldn't want our kids dressing up as come Halloween.

The low-res video, the over-saturisation, and the grounding in the mundane gives August Underground a terrible realism that's hard to ignore and harder still to watch. This is Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer turned up to eleven and is a stunning, if appalling, début feature.

Original letterboxd review

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