Tuesday, December 14, 2010

S&Man (2006)

Fear 3/5
Gore 3/5
Entertainment 3/5
Creepiness 5/5

My eye holes get crossed everytime I read the title of this film. If you are confused right now, it also goes by the name of 'Sandman'. As for the movie itself, it's shot documentary film style. The filmmaker, JT Petty, wants to explore the connection between horror films and voyeurism. Instead of focusing on any one given film or set of films, he instead sets his sights on the seedy side of the genre, the world of simulated underground snuff.

He interviews the purveyors of these types of pictures, most notably Fred Vogel of Toe Tag and Bill Zebub, he of his own self-titled production company. The interviews range from the gross, as actual set pieces and clips for these films are shown, to the downright goofy as Bill is more oftentimes than not, about a full 12 pack in. He also interviews author Carol Clover (Men, Women and Chainsaws) as well as various convention goers. But its not until an encounter with another filmmaker who's gained recent notoriety do things take a turn from the intent of the actual documentary to a full on investigation.

JT meets Eric, a young kid who's new 'style' of film has been generating quite the buzz due to it being perceived as extremely realistic. Eric is shy and completely unassuming at first, the type of kid you'd normally write off at school if he's hanging by himself during lunch. Weird yes, but hardly the type to cause any sort of trouble. We see clips from his films and indeed, they do appear to be too realistic. From a first person POV, we see various women stalked as they go about their everyday routines and eventually, we see them knifed or strangled.

As they begin to build somewhat of a relationship, JT and his camera crew start to suspect that a lot more is going on. They decide to turn their cameras on him and what they come to find, is that this unsuspecting character is actually a monster. A monster that is one of the most unnerving in recent film history. A total sociopath.

This is one messed up little film. Aside from the exploration of snuff horror, what really keeps the film engrossing and ultimately terrifying is the performance of Erik Marcisak as Eric. The devolvement of this character is a sight to behold and it really carries the picture.

If there is any criticism to be given, it's in the fact that the film strays a bit from what it was first attempting to do. There is no definitive point or connection that is made by film's end. But I suppose what can be inferred, is that the most voyeuristic and villainous of us, might be that kid who's eating lunch by himself at school.

Cortez the Killer


Angel1649 said...

I will have to check this out. It's been a while since I've viewed a movie of this specific genre. Thanks for the heads up!

Emily said...

Nice review and I agree. Weirdly unsettling film and it's great to see Clover. I loved Petty's The Burrowers and found this one (despite annoying title) to be something genuinely unique and unnerving.

the jaded viewer said...

Recently heard a JT Petty tale in Tales from Beyond the Pale. Burrowers was good...I may have to check this out as I've been back researching crazy extreme films of late.

Cortez The Killer said...

@Angel and @Jaded, its not overly exteme per se. It does have a few moments. Its more character study than anything else. But it really is a slice of unnerving creepiness.

@Emily, thanks. Yeah the subject matter and how the character of Eric came to light, just wholly unsettling.