~Possible spoilers ahead~
"Morituris", directed by Raffaele Picchio, will always be remembered as the first slasher film to cast a crew of gladiators to do its choppings.The film starts off with a brilliant scene: a shabby 8mm depiction of a family picnic which goes awry. Two parents notice that their little daughter is nowhere to be found. The girl is actually with her loving, perhaps too loving, uncle. He's taking her far away from her father and mother so he could have his way with her. Unfortunetly for him, he just picked the worst place to unleash his cruelty: A memoriam site for the mythological gladiators. In doing so he has managed to awaken the legendary warriors from their deep muscle n' beauty sleep. Say goodbye to uncle child molester. He will not be missed.
This deranged film belongs to the crazy section of movie-goers and its mean spirit is dedicated to the demented souls (present company included) who can appriciate a brutal and gut wrenching film, when they stumble upon one.
After this intense prologue the film changes its rhythm and tone. Suddenly we're strolling along the more familiar territory of the slasher film. Three italian young men pick up two beautiful romanian women for a ride. They really seem to enjoy each other's company, but then they start breaking the genre rules, one by one. They drink alcohol, they snort cocaine and worst of all: the women compliment the men about their good manners.
A female hitch-hiker should never whisper the following words in the ears of three complete strangers: "You guys are so kind, unlike all the other men who just try to get into our pants" (I'm paraphrasing here, but you get the idea).
And indeed from this moment on "Morituris" turns into a totally gruesome and provocative horror fantasy. This movie is so provocative and unrelenting it made dozens of viewers fled from its world premiere at Fantasia International Film Festival. And that, my friends, is no small feat. This is a sign of true video-nasty.If you ever watched an Italian exploitation film from the seventies (Avere Vent'anni, for example) you probably know by now that Italian filmmakers will stop at nothing when it comes to capturing the ugly side of human attrocities.
Truth be told, there's a distinct moment in this film which makes the viewing experience almost unbarable: the long and detailed rape sequence.
There's a thin line between misanthropic fun and a hardcore exploitation film. "Morituris" uses scissors in order to cut this line and messes with audiences expectations.
Ruggero deodato (The House on the Edge of the Park) will be proud.
The legendary Sergio Stivaletti (Demon, Opera) is responsible for the great make up effects for this film.