It’s almost Christmas, which means it’s time for all kinds of great year-end countdowns. Christmas means spending time with loved ones, getting hammered, and binge-watching movies and television, at least for me. With a new year and lots of new disgusting, demented content around the corner, it’s time for Dark Side Cinema’s Top Five of 2014. These are the five most depraved, disturbing bits of film that I’ve enjoyed and/or endured that came out this year. To be included in this list, the film had to have a 2014 U.S. release date and fit the general Dark Side Cinema criteria. In addition to being disturbing, each of these films offers up a little something extra, a Christmas present for one type of disturbing cinema fan or another.
The List So Far:
3) Big Bad Wolves
Without further ado, here is Dark Side Cinema’s Disturbing Movies of the Year, Number Three:
Big Bad Wolves
Unrated – Israel
Big Bad Wolves is the second comedy on the list and it’s definitely a dark one. The opening scene ominously presents three children playing in an abandoned building. Two of the children run outside and when they come back the third – a little girl – has disappeared, leaving only her shoe behind. We see the little girl again a few minutes later, sans head, with her panties around her ankles. Yep, it’s gonna be that kinda movie.
Quentin Tarantino proclaimed Big Bad Wolves to be the best film of the year, which is emblazoned on every cover image you can find for the film, including it’s Netflix icon. While the film delivers some Tarantino-esque staples (witty dialogue, copious violence), it also shows restraint, which is something Tarantino has failed to do for years. The film is tightly edited, and shot, providing quality entertainment while still managing to be utterly disturbing.
The production value on Big Bad Wolves is incredible, pushing an otherwise thin story into something infinitely more rewarding. Scenes of tension are frequently broken with quick shots of comic relief only to build the tension back up immediately. I cannot say enough good things about the editing in this movie. So much of the story is told through careful editing instead of dialogue and it’s fantastic.
Big Bad Wolves tells the story of an accused pedophile, a suspended detective, and a vengeful father. Both the detective and the father want to get to the pedophile and get him to confess to his deeds, but for different reasons. The father wants the head of his baby girl, the detective wants to prove that he has the right suspect so he can get back on the force. The father and the detective end up in a compact to torture the pedophile until he confesses, and that’s when things start to get really interesting…
The torture scenes are gross without being ridiculous. Broken fingers, torn out toenails, and a particularly fun go with a blowtorch all look devastatingly real. The father, Gidi, gets interrupted during the torture quite a few times, each time with humorous results. This is the kind of movie where it’s hard to determine whether you should laugh, gag, or cry. In some scenes, it’s a combination of the three.
The movie’s best scene is also one of its simplest – Gidi bakes a cake. Set to “Everyday” by Buddy Holly, Gidi gleefully prepares a cake, frosting it with delicate care. The cake contains sedatives and is intended for the pedophile, but the love and tenderness and joy involved in making that cake is stupendous.
Like both Filth and Nymphomaniac, Big Bad Wolves has one hell of a sucker-punch ending, making sure that you feel good and gross once the credits roll. It’s a surprisingly fun movie with a lot of darkness lurking in its corners. There is some political commentary in places, but most of it is weirdly obvious. There is a single Arab character in the mostly Jewish Israeli cast, a local in the desert who wanders about on his horse and encounters several of the main characters. His ethnicity is reacted to differently by different characters, revealing interesting Jewish attitudes about Arabs and vice-versa.
Big Bad Wolves is unique, well-made, and worth a watch for anyone who likes their humor a little warped.
Violence: 6/10. Not horrifically violent but the torture scenes are suitably graphic.
Sex: 0/10. There’s some pedophilia stuff, but if that’s your idea of sexy then you’re darker than this column wants.
Entertainment value: 8/10 Whether you’re questioning the pedophile’s guilt, cringing over the torture scenes, or laughing, the movie is rarely dull.
This movie is for: Anyone with a warped sense of humor and a desire for something different.
Overall rating: 7/10 The story is thin in places but the dialogue, acting, editing, and cinematography are all so spot on that it’s impossible not to enjoy this movie on some level.
That, and the detective looks like a cross between Steve Carrel and Clive Owen, which is just weird.