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Alan MaxWell [Celluloid 08.23.09] Ireland (Republic of) movie review horror



Year: 2009
Directors: Conor McMahon
Writers: Conor McMahon
IMDB: N/A
Trailer: N/A
Review by: Alan Maxwell
Rating: 4 out of 10

When Conor McMahon's feature debut Dead Meat came chomping its way into the hearts of horror fans back in 2004, it was a breath of fresh air. For one thing, Ireland's film history was not exactly blessed with a huge number of zombie films. On top of that, McMahon's blend of humour and horror endeared it to many - clearly inspired by the greats of the genre, it was funny without spoofing, violent without being unpleasant. Perhaps most importantly it arrived just a year or two before the zombie revival began to run out of steam.

It's disappointing then that after the long wait for his follow-up he has chosen to give in to one of horror's more recent crazes and enter into the already tired torture genre. McMahon clearly has a gift for both horror and humour so we can only hope that The Disturbed marks an unfortunate blip rather than a new direction.


The low-budget film follows Clyde and Jed, two wasters who regularly bring a victim out into the countryside to film their torture hobby, and Sarah, the young girl intended to be their latest victim. As the pair plan out their movie - what angles to shoot from, what makes the best shot - one starts to believe that McMahon is attempting to point the finger at us voyeurs in the cinema. If that's the case it's been done before and much better than it is here - the point may have been better made were there actually more to enjoy in the film.

As it is, what little enjoyment there is - apart from watching a young girl be tortured, if that appeals to you - comes from the humour that ran through Dead Meat. McMahon and friends clearly have a gift for wringing laughs from horrible situations but whereas the humour worked well against the more ludicrous backdrop of a zombie outbreak, when it is thrown into the mix with uncomfortably realistic and sadistic torture it just doesn't sit right.

The two elements jar constantly and never quite come together in a cohesive whole. And just when you wish McMahon would decide which one he's going to concentrate on, they're both abandoned in favour of Blair Witch territory when hints start to emerge that the torturers and their victim may not be alone.

The film is very rough around the edges - while the acting is adequate, the sound, picture and effects all betray the lack of budget and time - and if anything seems to have regressed since Dead Meat. Such things would be forgivable if there was more substance beneath the style but sadly that area finds The Disturbed seriously lacking.

When introducing his film at this year's Galway Film Fleadh, McMahon proudly pointed out that the response from the festival's programmer had been "I can't say I liked the film, but I was certainly disturbed."

That was my response too, though sadly I don't get as much joy from it as McMahon evidently did.

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Ellen (12 years ago) Reply

glad somebody was disturbed.

once again some man decides to make a buck by doing a story about some men torturing a young woman - and then defends it by calling it art.

anybody else see something wrong with this picture?

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SP (12 years ago) Reply

I saw this at The Galway Film Festival this year and I have to say if this is what qualifies for a feature film then the art form is dead.

A badly made film and I think the heavy subject matter of the film is not funny and does not work with the humor.

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Ian12565 (11 years ago) Reply

Having just seen Dead Meat on late night cable, and considering it pretty much one of the worst films ever made, I can't believe this so-called Director / Writer has had the opportunity to once again inflict his complete lack of talent upon the world...but it makes sense that he's only got the lack of imagination to make yet another sick gratuitous torture flick...why is this guy, and others like him, being allowed to continue to make films when there are so many better and more inspired writers and directors out there who aren't being given the chance to show what they're capable of?


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