Thursday 20 September 2012

Brutal Review

Horror – Starring A. Michael Baldwin, Michael Patrick Stevens, Jennifer Wilde, Camryn Molnar, Annie Molnar, Marvella McPartland. Written/Directed by Michael Patrick Stevens. Co-directed by Darla Rae (2012)

Family man, Carl Gibson, finds himself naked from the waist up and chained to a chair in the dingy basement of a stoical, dungaree wearing loner, called Brutal. Subjected to a torturous game, Carl wonders if he will ever see his wife and children again.

Award winning Brutal is Writer/Producer/Director/Actor Michael Patrick Stevens’ first feature, and what a powerful and impressive d├ębut. It is also co-directed by award winning film maker, Darla Rae. The movie had its first screening at the Crypticon Indie Horror Film Fest 2012 in Kansas City, where it won ‘Best Original Horror Feature’, and very well deserved too. When a film pretty much kicks off with an electric sander and bare flesh, you know things are going to get gory … and they do. The first section of the film concentrates on scenes of torture, with Carl (A. Michael Baldwin of Phantasm fame) begging for his life, confronted by an array of gruesome tools, and always under the gaze of the dispassionate Brutal.

Michael Patrick Stevens as Brutal

If you like bloodshed, you will love this movie. Brutal (Michael Patrick Stevens) likes to play, though the rules of his morbid game mean that, ‘You win, you lose. You lose, you die’. Carl’s life hinges on the turn of a wheel-of-fortune, the results of which, I’m not ashamed to admit, turned my stomach. But if you are expecting your average torture porn movie, then think again. With Brutal, Michael Patrick Stevens expertly challenges audience expectation to deliver a twist that infuses the movie with heart and soul.

Brutal is intense and bloody. The original music score created by Alan Howarth increases the tension at vital moments and complements the movie’s themes of loss, hate, revenge and forgiveness. But as creepy and potent as Brutal may be, there are moments that lighten the horror just enough to add a whole new dimension, such as Brutal being busted by his sweet, doddering mother.

Marvella McPartland as Ellen Lachman
The cast give strong performances. A. Michael Balwin’s portrayal of the abducted and tortured Carl – a part that Stevens wrote with him in mind – is so realistic that you can’t help being drawn in to feel his fear and sense of loss at the hands of the cool, detached Brutal, played convincingly by Stevens. The make up special effects are to an excellent standard, adding to the stomach lurching reaction I had to certain scenes, and together with solid acting, high production values, and a fantastic script, create something painfully and brutally authentic. I thoroughly enjoyed this original, well paced and disturbing tale that cleverly supplies twists right to the very end. The driving force of the movie is the way that it manages to touch on the darkness that resides in us all. With Brutal, Stevens has created a masterpiece worthy of recognition.

Rating 5 out of 5

By Lisa Richardson


For more information and screenings etc, follow 'Brutal' at these locations:-

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