Bloodbath at the moviesBy Nestor U. Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
We were planning to watch “Lovelace” last week, but when we got to our favorite neighborhood cineplex, we were told that it was showing three hours later, so the only film we could catch within the hour was an unheralded flick titled, “Julia X.”
Sine we love surprises, we opted to watch the unknown production, hoping against hope that it would turn out to be a tiny, unexpectedly precious cinematic gem that would make our viewing day.
—Well, we hoped wrong. “Julia X” was a sexy “slasher” chiller that was shot through with so many awkward clichés that it ended up being (unintentionally) funny!
Julia (Valerie Azlynn) turned out to be a young woman who went on dates with guys she met on the Internet—no, not for bedtime fun and games, but to hunt down guys who callously broke women’s hearts—and worse.
Why did she embark on such a vile and violent mission? Because she and her younger sister had been brutalized by their own dad when they were kids, warping their psyches so much that they grew up into cold-bloodedly vindictive adults!
Well, as this film tells it, they quickly hit the jackpot: Julia’s date turns out to be a notorious serial killer who brutalizes her—until she shocks him by turning the tables on him and holding him hostage!
That plot twist is a pretty neat surprise, but most aspects of the flick are disappointingly inept. The actors play their psycho and weirdo characters with a dismayingly lack of believability and imagination, just going through the “wacko” motions.
Now, we know that some psychos are that predictable, but the stereotypes the actors in this flick have to offer are even more turgid than most.
Adding to the production’s lack of believability is the fact that the hostaged serial killer is wounded by Julia and her sister in many grievous ways—a hatchet blow in the back, repeated stabs in the belly, multiple blows on the head—and yet, he manages to recover from them—up to the bitter end, when he finally, twitchingly expires!
The only relatively believable character in the flick is another guy lured by the crazy ladies into their spiders’ web of death. He’s absolutely clueless about what’s going on, so he comes off as a breath of fresh air, compared to the sullen, vapid, subhuman types he is made to interact with in this soggy, sorry saga!
Psycho-savant as anti-hero
“No One Lives” isn’t as off-putting as “Julia X,” but it could still turn viewers off—unless they’re addled aficionados of “slasher” flicks and other movies that bank on violence and sex to excite viewers.
This time around, the vile antihero is also a serial killer, but the twist is that he’s a psycho-savant in the mold of a (younger) Hannibal Lecter.
Some cheap thugs make the big mistake of getting on his bad side—and, fully living up to the flick’s title, he makes absolutely sure that—“No One Lives!”
The lousy hoods really don’t stand a chance against the film’s resident serial killer, because when it comes to exotic weapons, violence and “fun” ways of killing his victims, he’s a veritable genius.
The only character who measures up to him is one of his past victims, a rich heiress who has managed to survive, and has in fact become his pet “student” when it came to killing and dying.
In one truly shocking scene, he even slits his own throat so that she’s forced to save his life—and they thus become gruesomely “bonded” in a truly ghastly way!
Such mad “tutorials” are freaky, but they’re welcome diversions, because most of the macabre movie is just one slasher attack and death after another—and that can have a truly numbing, dulling and literally deadening impact on hapless, helpless viewers’ bludgeoned sensibilities!
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