Review of “Victim”
I randomly stumbled upon Victim, directed by Matt Escandari and Michael A. Pierce, while sifting through the near endless movie offerings on Netflix. The consensus of a few user reviews was that this movie was very disturbing and unique. Morbid curiosity got the better of me and I decided to give this a shot.
***Before we go any further, I do want to say that while I tried to keep this spoiler-free, some of you might figure out one of the crucial parts anyway, and I apologize in advance if I spoiled it.
Victim is about a young man who is kidnapped, tortured, and psychologically abused by a crazy surgeon and his silent assistant. With no clue as to where he is or why this is happening to him, the man’s only distraction comes in the form of a little girl’s diary that he finds in his prison cell.
It starts well enough with some grainy home video footage of a very attractive girl walking in to what seems like an amateur porn audition. The voice behind the camera is distorted and asks her to have a seat and to close her eyes while he goes to the bathroom to get a “surprise” for her. Then, predictably, we are treated to fast cuts and close-ups of the girl being raped and murdered. I thought this scene was pretty well done and the grittiness made it feel like a snuff film. I expected the rest of the movie to have the same effect, but it doesn’t quite work that way.
After the girl is murdered, the main story begins with a handsome young man (whose name we never learn, so I’ll name him Slick) hanging out at a trendy bar, ordering drinks and working his charm on a cute waitress. On the other end of the bar we have an ominous person in a black hood, whose face is completely hidden. The scene lasts all of about 5 minutes before Slick walks out to his car, confronts Hoodie Man, and promptly gets attacked from behind and dragged away. When he wakes up, he’s in a dirty prison cell in someone’s basement and you know things will not go well for the poor bastard.
As to his captors, you have the run-of-the-mill creepy old surgeon who explains that the pain Slick will need to endure is necessary and that in due time he will understand why this is happening. Then you have Mr. George, a tall and sturdy man whom you’d feel comfortable having as a bodyguard and who is either mute or just doesn’t believe in talking. Mr. George delivers the beatings, and Doc Crazy (not his real name) performs the memory-erasing shock therapy and surgeries.
If you’re expecting a very gruesome and disturbing flick, you’ll be very disappointed and should look elsewhere. The movie takes a soft-core approach to the gore; you get the general idea of what is being done to Slick without actually seeing all the nasty bits. The acting itself is pretty decent, and at times, you can’t help but feel bad for the guy, but this doesn’t save the movie from falling flat in other areas. There’s a bit involving a detective who’s trying to find out what is going on in Doc Crazy’s mansion that feels like it was slapped together to give a false sense of hope for Slick, but I think it would have made the narrative better if it had been omitted entirely.
Victim had the potential to be unnerving, but predictable plot twists, stereotypical villains, and a soft-core approach keep it from being an awesome, disturbing movie. Out of 5 stars, I’d have to give this one a 2.5.