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Tom (Jason Wail) and Dan (Nicholas Wilder) have grown up together - on
a healthy diet of horror movies. Now they are colleagues at the office,
and still hang out on occasion as well, but it's not the same anymore:
Tom, it seems, has grown up, he has a wife (Sarah Schoofs) and a daughter,
while Dan is still the same horror-loving teen at heart, has problems
dating women, and doesn't seem to have made much out of his life ... and
partly, he seems to blame Tom for this, simply because Tom has moved on
and can't spend all that much time with him. And now Tom even wants to
move to another state with his family ...
One evening, Dan invites Tom
over to watch a new DVD he has gotten - which shows nothing but the belly
of a woman, being violently opened with a knife - there is no word whether
it's snuff or not, but both Tom and Dan suspect the former. Tom is furious
having been shown this, but he can't get it out of his head ... and when
Dan tells him he has some more snuff-DVDs, Tom rushes over to watch them.
He even borrows them from Dan to watch them some more.
As Tom becomes
more and more hooked on the videos, he somehow grows tired of his family,
and his wife's attempts to seduce him are less and less successful. Dan on
the other hand seems to bloom thanks to the newfound interest Tom has in
his DVDs - so much so that Dan actually manages to score a date with diner
waitress Sally (Angie Bullaro), the girl he's been lusting for for years
... and yup, this date ends in bed. The next day though, Sally is gone,
and another day or so later, Dan gets another of these DVDs - showing
Sally's belly being brutally opened. Now Tom and Dan know they're not just
watching some anonymous death videos, no, there's a killer out there who
knows them, might be after them. Tom wants to hand over the affair to the
police, but Dan refuses, as he (rightly) thinks he's in the shit too deep
to come out of it unscathed. The two men's friendship breaks up for good,
and Tom is not adamant to find an out-of-state home as soon as possible,
and thus goes on a housescouting trip - an opportunity that Dan seizes to
pay Tom's wife a visit to set the record straight.
When Tom arrives
home, he finds nothing but a DVD ...
A quite unsettling piece
of film that works quite as well because it refuses to take the easy road,
jump to conclusions and judge from a vantage point. Nope, in this film the
snuff consumers are no Russian oligarchs with money to burn but folks like
you and me, a family man and a loveable nerd. And they don't do it because
they are truly perverted creatures, but the way you watch a car wreck: You
know it's gruesome, even wrong, but you just can't take your eyes off it.
This is all helped of course by a directorial approach that doesn't go all
slaughterhouse just because the material might hint at it but uses
subtlety and is more interested in the characters and their reactions than
the bloody action. Add to this a solid cast, and you've got yourself a
pretty good movie.