Directed by: Taylor Sheridan | 90 minutes | horror | Actors: Eric Jay Beck, April Matson, Akeem Smith, Greg Cipes, Maya Hazen, Elisha Skorman, Heidi Mueller, Rob Kirkland, McKenzie Westmore, Ian Bohen, Stefanie Kym, Maria Olsen, Maynard James Keenan, Mark Hengst, Kieron Elliott, Artie Baxter, Ceilidh Lamont, Christopher Reed, Larry Beck, Kyle Wasserman, Linton Lafitte
In 2010 the last installment of the “Saw” franchise was released. The series had passed its peak and the makers did well to stop in time. The die-hard horror fan with a penchant for torture porn has since stood dry. Fortunately, Taylor Sheridan came to the rescue of these poor people. The director canned “Vile” in 2011. It soon becomes clear that the makers of this production took a very good look at “Saw”.
Nick, his girlfriend and two friends return from camping for a few days. When they need to refuel at night, they are approached by a woman who needs help. Bad plan, because shortly afterwards they are drugged and they wake up in a space from which no escape seems possible. The only chance of survival is based on a socio-psychological experiment and the production of a substance that the body makes when it is exposed to pain.
“Vile” takes the quasi-philosophical approach of “Saw”. In the latter franchise, villain Jigsaw tried to show his test objects the value of life. He did this by subjecting them to terrifying tests. Often those trials ended in extremely gory affairs. “Vile” does much the same thing, but with a twist. In this film there is no Jigsaw, but there is a strange scientist who promises her candidate freedom if they are willing to work together. That “working together” means that they must be willing to suffer pain. Shared sorrow is half sorrow. By distributing the pain, everyone can be released. Of course, no one sees it in running as a martyr.
You can’t really call “Vile” really bad. Sheridan has found a great location – a dilapidated shed – and evokes a dirty atmosphere by working with a lot of color filters. The faded and washed-out use of color creates an uncomfortable atmosphere. You don’t want to be in this environment, that much is clear. The acting is not boring, but the characters remain very pale, so their fate leaves you cold. You hope they will end up horribly, but that happens too little. The camera often turns away too quickly, so that inveterate “gorehounds” do not get their money’s worth. In addition, the strange soundtrack – with too soft music – throws a spanner in the works. The raw atmosphere is sometimes canceled out by sensitive tracks that are way too soft. It is surprising.
Furthermore, it is a missed opportunity that the scientist does not appear more often. She could have become the new Jigsaw with her soothing voice and macabre looks. “Vile” deals in missed opportunities. Sin. A better movie – maybe even a franchise – could have been here.