The director of “Dread” and “Last Shift” has made a little effort to turn his newest film “Extremity” into a worthwhile watch.
A girl with issues (Dana Christina) sings up for a one-of-a-kind horror experience – “The Perdition”. She’s brought to an unknown, abandoned space, where people dressed in skeleton masks do all kinds of stuff to scare her to death. There is no safe word and therefore no line between what’s part of the edgy entertainment and what’s not.
The director Anthony Di Blasi is not an unknown figure to the horror audiences. His debut called “Dread” from 2009 was one of the most intriguing, stylish breakouts in the genre. It was grueling at times (due to a really hermetic atmosphere), but neatly executed and far from a derivative like most of the genre. Some of his later works – like “Last Shift” was also quite decent, standing out among the rest of horrors.
Nonetheless, “Extremity” is Anthony Di Blasi’s complete downfall.
Most importantly, the film never truly finds its own rhythm. It’s as if there was such a number of ideas in the pot that Di Blasi couldn’t fish out the best ones.
Frankly, “Extremity” shows a lot of premise on the conceptual level. The idea of giving yourself away in the hands of people paid to make you crap your pants isn’t much explored in horror. Surprisingly, the last film to touch that topic was a documentary called “Spookers”, which took its viewers to a one-of-a-kind amusement park. But most torture films prey on the unaware and fragile victims. “Extremity” avoids such a trope – the protagonist is masochistically aroused by violence and fear inflicted upon herself.
Despite the premise, “Extremity” doesn’t deliver.
The problem is the execution – on many grounds. “Extremity” is, first and foremost, flat as a hockey puck. You may think – “who wants depth in horror? are you mad?“. Before you think that, hear me out.
It’s debatable to say that horrors are the last genre to provide depth. While blockbusters remain more or less dumb, there is more and more indie horrors that play out as psychological dramas too. The times of fodder meat like “House of Wax” are better left in the past.
“Extremity” could have joined the list of more ambitious titles too. However, more than that, the director is interested in thrusting kitschy masks, round butts squeezed in leather jeans and the ubiquitous perversion in your face. It’s supposed to be edgy, but most of these scenes are over-the-top and fit easily in “Goosebumps” stories.
Then, there is the script, which doesn’t make much sense. The more the story is unveiled, the more preposterous it gets. The great author of the “service” is a complete weirdo (but not in a strange, freaky way… just weird), whose evil plan is somehow relate to his partner and some debts (don’t ask me what the hell is going on). The twists pop everywhere like mushrooms. On top of that comes a Japanese journalist who makes a documentary concerning the whole shady project. At some point of the film she is also forced to perform a fellatio and the reasons justifying it are opaque at least.
It all means one – “Extremity” is just a bunch of ludicrous, completely untied ideas glued messily into one film.
The result is a film that could only scare a complete stranger to the horror genre. If you can sustain lackluster acting, repetitive flashbacks that don’t push the story by an inch forward and Japanese reporter popping out of nowhere – you got yourself a deal baby.
Dir. Anthony Di Blasi
Hate Grade: 7.5/10
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