Greetings again from the darkness. Fans of “The Raid” franchise will be excited to know that Gareth Evans is a Producer on the second film from co-directors Kimo Stamboel and Timo Tjahjanto, self-billed as The Mo Brothers. Neither “torture porn” nor “slasher film” are strong enough descriptions for this depraved psychological thriller that features hammers to the skull, razors to the throat, pliers to the neck, and a shootout that features the most gunfire ever recorded in one car.
Oka Antara and Kazuki Kitamura (both from The Raid 2) escalate their art of torture and killing in a game of one-upmanship that is way beyond uncomfortable to watch. The violence is brutal and gruesome, yet despite that, there is a certain style to the filmmaking that sets it apart from other films that strive simply for blood-letting. There is a certain perverse sense of humor that rears up at the oddest times, but never lets us forget that we are following the paths of two psychopaths.
While one of the killers has a bit of vigilante in him … Bayu (Amtara) is a failed journalist and evidently a worse husband … he seeks revenge on a gangster who continues to get away with domestic abuse (helping himself justify the need for murder). Nomura (Kitamura) is the other killer and his mental illness stems from a childhood incident with his sister … though he hides behind a well-dressed façade as a businessman.
The film plays off the strong vs weak element, as well as killing as an addiction, and more importantly, the use of social media as a way to have one’s “work” seen by many. The more deranged the action, the more views of the video. It makes us wonder if the observation is really of the psychopaths or the viewers who watch the uploaded videos.
In an effort to take some of the edge off of the violence, the score provides an unusual element of light-heartedness at times; and from a filmmaking perspective the camera work and editing are very well done. It’s certainly not a movie for the masses, but if this genre is your thing, there is a style here worth noting.