American Guinea Pig: Bloodshock
Dir. Marcus Koch (2015)
An unnamed man is taken captive by a group of mysterious torturers dedicated to making him experience the worst pain imaginable. He soon finds out he’s not alone.
I was so excited to see this film. I’m a huge fan of the original series, and have been super stoked that they’re rebooting for an American audience. Unearthed Films is doing some truly awesome stuff, and Marcus Koch and the folks at Oddtopsy FX are truly the current kings of special effects and makeup in the horror scene. Needless to say, anything that comes from either of those companies is going on my playlist, and Bloodshock was no different.
That being said, to be quite honest, I was a little disappointed in this outing. The entire film (or, almost the entire film) is shot in black and white, which really takes the film down a notch in disgusting extremity. Thankfully, it wasn’t the cheap, shitty indie film black and white and more of the version from Human Centipede II. It’s an odd choice, because the series is known for showing every bit of red and gray matter inside a human body in excruciating detail. Showing it all in black and white, while certainly a stylish choice, really dampens any effect most of these scenes would have had. However, the film does cut to color near the end, which… well, quite honestly, I could’ve done without.
The movie is about an unnamed man who is being held captive by a mysterious scientist who is torturing him seemingly for torture’s sake. The initial scene finds the man having his tongue cut out and sewed together, promising a movie full of disgustingly brutal torture. The next scene finds him being punched repeatedly in the head. Which, as you’ll notice, is quite a bit less extreme than the previous example. In the next scene, the man’s kneecap is pounded on repeatedly with what appears to be a rubber mallet. Which… again, quite a bit different from what I expected. He goes through rounds of this torture, which I’m sure would hurt a tremendous amount in real life, almost none of which has the sickening brutality of the original in the revamped series. Things start ramping up a little when his arms are cut open so that the doctor can playfully move them by manipulating his tendons, but even these scenes aren’t nearly as realistic or disturbing as they could’ve been. This part of the film was a massive letdown, especially after witnessing the senseless violence from Bouquet of Blood and Guts. If you wanted another movie along those same lines, this one will be a disappointment.
The man is placed in a padded room between rounds of torture, and eventually begins finding little notes around his cell. They are coming from someone on the other side of the wall, who is dropping these notes through the folds in the padding. They become friends of sorts, and it is eventually revealed that the person in the other cell is a woman who has progressed through much further “levels” than our newcomer. We see some of these levels later in the film, which are, sadly, many of the same things that are happening to New Torture Guy. But, even through the later stages in the torture, it’s still massively disappointing. We get through everything but the last ten minutes of the film without seeing anything even close to what we’ve come to expect from this series.
And then…. holy shit. The last scene shows the woman escaping her captors and returning to break out her new beau. The movie is colorized when she enters his cell, and the new couple embrace, each wincing as their wounds are touched by the other. It is at this point that we see that good, old-fashioned look in their eyes, and we know we’re about to witness some love-makin’. And witness we do, because, dear God, these people take BDSM bloodplay to a whole different level. I won’t give away what all happens for those interested in viewing, but let’s just say this scene more than makes up for the not-so-gross first 90% of the movie. This was a scene that almost legitimately made me sick, and let me assure you that I am not one with a weak stomach. I don’t know if it was the less-than-satisfying buildup, or the sudden switch to color after being inundated with the dull black, grey, and white tones of the rest of the movie, but whatever it was, this last scene was almost unbearably disgusting. It brings it all home, showing us that, yeah, Koch and Oddtopsy still got it.
Bloodshock is a better “movie” than Bouquet of Blood and Guts, but only because BBG was hardly a movie at all. The previous iteration was more of a vignette, a short scene of brutality that was stretched to feature length. Bloodshock has an actual plot, albeit a thin one, and an actual resolution, though much of it is left in doubt. Unfortunately, this was a simple case of mismanaged expectations. I’m aware that the original movie series featured installments that were all wildly different from each other, and I know that the same can be expected from this series as well. Unfortunately, when you’re revamping a series that is known for its absolute and utter depravity, you set yourself up for comparisons between the movies. This one just didn’t hit the mark for me, but is still worth a watch for fans of the originals. Either way, Marcus Koch is a master, and you can go ahead and sign me up for pretty much anything he makes. There’s ALWAYS a payoff, though with some of his films you have to wait longer than others.