Fantasia 2011: MORITURIS Review

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Fantasia 2011: MORITURIS Review

~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.

For a moment there the director makes us believe that the gladiators are the heroes of this slasher tale: saviours of the human kind. But, this feeling lasts only for a second or two, just until we catch a glimpse of what has been done to the poor little girl. 

I tend to call these kind of scenes in a film "The WTF? Moment". This unique moment divides the audience in the cinema into two very distinctive groups: 1. The sane: those of you who jump from their seats and look for the nearest exit door. 2. The crazies: those of you who stay locked in their seats and start begging for more!

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. 



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ChrisAugust 12, 2011 10:37 PM

At least this review doesn't attack the film like the one at Bloody-Disgusting. I haven't seen this yet, but I"m willing to give it a shot. Hell, I own I Spit on Your Grave, and Adventures of Pluto Nash and those are two of the most brutally painful movies I can think of.

Kurt HalfyardAugust 16, 2011 12:22 AM

I happened to be sitting beside Brad (of BD) in the media room when he was trying to get through this. His pain, and our opposite taste in film made me curious. I heard the misogyny in this on is cranked to 11, and programming it at Fantasia was more of a DARE than an ENDORSEMENT!

Aharon KeshalesAugust 16, 2011 12:57 AM

I don't think that "Morituris" hates its women more than it loathes its male protagonists. On the contrary, the script makes sure that we'll take notice of the fact that evil rises each time a member from the tribe called "men" takes his liberty to do what ever he wants to do to a woman or even an innocent little girl.

Make no mistake ,this is not the kind of movie in-which people are sitting in the dark theater rooting for the bad guys while saying to themselves: these girls had it coming!

As I read it, sexuality (depraved sexuality) is the mother of all sins in this movie.

As for cranking it up to 11- After the golden years of Deodato and the De Leo nothing will feel like 11 again.