Saturday, March 19, 2011
August Underground's Penance (2007)
Directed By: Fred Vogel
When one thinks of the great trilogies in the world, what comes to mind? Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and The Evil Dead perhaps? How many of you would think of the name August Underground? While not many might think of August Underground, the fact remains that in the year 2007 Toetag Pictures released the third and final installment in the series titles, August Underground's Penance, thus making it a trilogy. While not nearly as vile or over the top as the previous installment, Mordum, I find the real story here isn't blood and guts (you do get that to). I think when you look back at this film you get a real sign of director Fred Vogel maturing behind the camera and about his work. This is also an element that spills over into the plot.
Our happy go lucky insane couple (again played by Fred Vogel and Cristie Whiles) are back once again! They are still committing ungodly acts and filming it on their camera. This time however we join them a few years down the line from our last film, and just something seems to be a little different. While still insane and blood thirsty, our killers have gotten older. And this is a thing I believe you'll notice seems to make things just seem off, not in the films material, but in the demeanor of our characters. As the movie goes on you have to ask yourself, are they actually growing tired of what they are doing?? Or are they at the end of some giant downward spiral?
While I can't at all confirm what I am about to say because I haven't asked director and co-star of this film, Fred Vogel, I think what happens in this film in a twisted way reflects the way of thinking he had going into this film. While the film does pack extreme violence and gore. And the effects once again look great for those of you keeping score at home. It's the dilemma of the characters I think reflected the dilemma of Fred himself. While Fred had done projects outside the August Underground series at the time, you could tell in a way he was wanting to mature and evolve as a film maker. I think with that in mind it's no coincidence that our killers don't seem to be as into what they are doing on screen.
While not as "out there" as the other two films, you still get the same strong performances from Fred Vogel and Cristie Whiles. While still crazy and committing acts that while not as horrible as before are still horrible enough to turn the average movie goers head away from the screen, both give performances that reflect their age. There is signs of maturity in our killers, be them rather brief, and the fact that at different times they seem to kinda regret what they are doing in a small way just adds to the "at the end of their rope" vibe the film gives off. Still, our killers are sick so you know a sickness like that can't simply be cured, so while regret and such are shown at times, sick stuff still happens.
But in the same vein that nothing seems to quite do it for them anymore in the film, the same feeling could be had by the people watching this film. There are pure moments of terror and sick gore and torture, but there also seems to be more dull moments in this film than there was before in the previous two films. And while neither of the previous films had what one might call a strong ending, I think this one has the weaker end of the three. I get why it's done, but at this point you are kind of just wanting a little more. None the less, it still has enough shock, just not as much as before. And I also give it props for being, dare I say it again, more mature.
If you haven't seen the other two and you see this one it would probably be a lot stronger than it is after having just watched the first two. While sill far sicker and extreme than most the stuff you'll see out there, this is the tamest August Underground out there. However, I do give credit as I said before to the little hint of maturity the film brings. A more mature style of film making from Fred that wouldn't actually come to the forefront until this past year with Sella Turcica. While on it's on it is the weakest of the series, I think seeing all three might be the best way to go. You can sorta see a story of growing up, as crazy as it sounds, hidden somewhere deep between the blood and puke the trilogy packs.
The Rating (5.5/10)