August Underground’s Mordum (Fred Vogel, 2003)

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Like a number of other films including Melancholie der Engel, Miss Violence and, let’s not forget, Funny Games, August Underground’s Mordum seems to get a string of low ratings based on a belief that “watchability” or lack thereof regarding representations of violence makes the film worse; I disagree.

Cinéma verité at its most grotesque, Mordum details the love triangle of sorts between Peter, his girlfriend Crusty and her brother Maggot as they kidnap, torture, mutilate, rape and kill almost anyone crossing their path.

I think it is unfair to write this trilogy (of which Mordum is the best known and most notorious) off – it is a sickeningly realist combination of, amongst others, The Last House On the Left, Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer and Man Bites Dog and makes use of the collaborative self-documentation premise to provide a “balanced” view of these three serial killers, if such a thing were possible.

Entirely reasonable as it is for many viewers to feel distanced by the film on account of the graphic nature of the depicted violence, this was not a film to be seen by many viewers; this is underground cinema and, by underground standards, it’s pretty damn good.

***1/2

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