Snuff-Movie is a Horror Film with Issues
It begins with a gruesome caesarean by butcher knife and ends with a crucifixion, but it’s actually the message of Snuff-Movie that is most unsettling. A little like Big Brother in hell, (but wi...
It begins with a gruesome caesarean by butcher knife and ends with a crucifixion, but it’s actually the message of Snuff-Movie that is most unsettling.A little like Big Brother in hell, (but with more intelligence than any participant in that ignominious show could ever muster) Snuff-Movie is a voyeurs’ dream. Nominally the premise is this: horror director Boris Arkadin (Jeroen Krabbé), who has lived as a recluse since the brutal murder of his wife in a Charles Manson-style killing, has come out of retirement to film a re-enactment of the gruesome murder.
However, when the four actors arrive for an overnight audition at Arkadin’s creepy mansion, something just doesn’t sit right. Sure enough, people are soon dying gruesomely while hidden cameras capture and broadcast the killings live, and (obviously) uncensored, on the internet. But is this really happening? As the plot twists and turns, folding one story layer on top of another, the audience, like the actors, lose their sense of reality…
“Snuff-Movie was partly influenced by the feeling that people have mistaken style for veracity,” says writer-director Bernard Rose. “People think if it’s a reality TV show, it must be real. Things get accepted as facts, when really it’s some nonsense uploaded onto the web. The gullibility of humans knows no bounds.”
Despite having several hit horror films (Candyman (1992), Paperhouse (1988)) to his credit, Rose and co-producer and lead actress Lisa Enos, say it took them nearly six years before they found financing for the film.
“People said, ‘Oh, it’s a very clever screenplay, but it’s all in the execution of the film, so we’ll wait ‘til it’s finished, and then maybe we’ll distribute it,’” Enos says.
But after a long search, Enos and Rose found financing, and most importantly, secured complete creative control over the film.
“I have to say, I made this film with complete and total freedom. I hate this idea that you need to make a film that pleases everybody,” says Rose, adding that he has no time for big studio politics and protocol. “Anyway, new digital technology means you can do a great deal more, at less cost.”
Make no mistake, Snuff-Movie is a horror film, but the issues it raises— peoples’ insatiable appetite for lies, and a frightening inclinations towards twisted voyeurism— are interesting. The internet, our modern-day fountain of knowledge can also be a cesspool of the utmost filth, and the idea that someone could charge people to watch gruesome, premeditated murders online rings a little too true in today’s macabre world.
Winners of EIFF 2014’s short film awards and two of its documentary premieres have been nominated for 2015 BAFTAs.