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John’s Horror Corner: No Reason (2010), a VERY gory, VERY graphic, VERY depraved German exploitation movie.

September 8, 2021

MY CALL:  This movie really wants to be Lars von Trier meets Hellraiser (1987) and Martyrs (2008). But conceptually, it’s just shooting blanks. That said, I’d only recommend this to those who enjoy seeing the extremes of the genre. So yes, this review is rather scathing. But I’m still glad to have seen it… just once.  MORE MOVIES LIKE No ReasonFor more horror that will challenge the moral sensibilities of its viewers, I’d suggest The Last House on the Left (1972), Salo (1975), Cannibal Holocaust (1980), Red Room (1999), Martyrs (2008), I Spit on Your Grave (1978), Antichrist (2009), The Human Centipede 1-2 (2009, 2011), A Serbian Film (2010) and The Greasy Strangler (2016).

Lulling us into the very false sense that we may be watching a normal (or even well-made) film, we open with home movie clips of a happy German family. But within minutes we find a disturbed, completely naked woman shouting obscenities and killing a cop before turning her gun on herself in an abruptly graphic shot to the head.

Director and writer Olaf Ittenbach (The Burning Moon, Legion of the Dead) clearly has a lot he wants to say through this film. Unfortunately, neither his writing nor execution possess the poignant philosophical punch for which he was clearly aiming and missing with his rather shallow ‘transcendental’ dialogue. The characters are constantly saying very awkward, unnatural things that ooze unearned self-importance. Watching these actors lumber through these crass lines is an occasionally painful, boring slog. In fact, most aspects of the filmmaking felt more amateur than simply being lower budget, despite clearly swinging for the fences with every scene. So where this film thrives can only reside purely in its shock value. And even if the quality is low, it is relentless in its efforts. And if I measured its efforts in pounds of fake blood and rubber guts, there’s as much effort here than in any other horror movie I’ve seen in a long time.

After having a very unpleasant day, Jennifer (Irene Holzfurtner; Savage Love) awakens covered in blood and surrounded by numerous gorily dismantled bodies and severed limbs. She is guided on a quest of enlightenment by a man in an octopus mask and a discount Cenobite costume which we, as viewers, are meant to take seriously. But, in truth, this “demon” has cheap stiff octopus tentacles and a skeazy sex worker’s outfit. It’s tough to take this remotely seriously despite its perpetually dire tone.

Among the highly graphic violence is a suicide gunshot to the head, an eyeball is slowly lacerated, a woman’s face is flailed until the bone is stripped bare, limbs are sloppily sawed off, hooked chains stretch and tear the skin from one’s body, and there are multiple scenes of EXTREMELY GRAPHIC on-screen genital mutilation. Equally graphic is this nudity. Not since Mathilda May in Lifeforce (1985) have I seen a woman spend so much time naked on screen in a horror film, and Irene Holzfurtner effortless laps Mathilda May by any measurement of breast or tiny bits. And then there are the scenes of flogging bondage and humiliating urination as people are mutilated in the background a la Event Horizon (1997) in this pleasure-by-pain Hellscape. There’s a lot of torture bloodily basting its scenes, and it basks in it with the satisfaction of a recently fed lizard warming its fat belly on a hot rock in a teenager’s terrarium.

This movie really wants to be Lars von Trier meets Hellraiser (1987) and Martyrs (2008). But conceptually, it’s just shooting blanks with its impotent angel of death. This demon guides Jennifer through several “levels” of suffering to find emotional enlightenment. And with each level come more incidents of torture and gore and mutilated Hellraiser-esque imagery. Again, the premise is somewhat intriguing. But the movie before me is not. And that’s a shame, because generally I love these types of “challenging to watch” cinema.

The big reveal at the end…? Sorry. I just thought it was stupid, terribly written and incredibly shallow. This is the kind of film I only recommend to those who enjoy seeing the extremes of this genre, even if not worthy of appreciable rank. And that would include me. So yes., this review is rather scathing. But I’m still glad to have seen it… just once.

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