The director of Dread (2009) and Last Shift (2014) has made a little effort to turn his newest film Extremity (2018) into a worthwhile watch.
The silverback horror director Anthony Di Blasi is not an unknown figure to the horror audiences. His debut called Dread (2009) was one of the most intriguing, stylish breakouts in the genre. Dread (2009) was grueling at times (due to a really hermetic atmosphere), as well as neatly executed and far from derivative. Di Blasi’s later works – including Last Shift (2014) – were also decent stand-outs.
However, this last entry – Extremity (2018) – in Anthony Di Blasi’s portfolio falls farm from what the director usually offered.
What is Extremity (2018) about?
The movie kicks off with a girl (Dana Christina) who signs up for a one-of-a-kind horror experience called “The Perdition“. It’s a kind of borderline real-time escape room game, designed to scare even the hard-skinned ones. She’s brought to an unknown, abandoned space, where people dressed in skeleton masks do all kinds of stuff to scare her to death. However, there is no safe word and therefore no line between what’s part of the edgy entertainment and what’s beyond.
The first, and probably only redeeming part of Extremity (2018) is that it avoids a most obvious trope. The protagonist is masochistically aroused by violence and fear inflicted upon herself, therefore leaving plenty space to explore the bizarre urge of some people to live through true sadism. Frankly, the topic isn’t trumped up – the so-called dark tourism includes places, where people purposefully subject themselves to hurt.
So Extremity (2018) exhibits a decent 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 – surprisingly – much explored in the genre. A most known example would probably be Eli Roth’s torture porn Hostel (2005), which touched on that specific topic. A few lesser films would probably follow. And outside of the horror circle, there’d a documentary Spookers (2017), which took its viewers to a one-of-a-kind amusement park in New Zealand.
In spite of its curious premise though, Extremity (2018) doesn’t deliver, because of Di Blasi’s wobbly execution.
Extremity (2018) – a good idea without a thought put into its execution
Extremity (2018) begged for a look into the drivers which push the film’s protagonist. David Bond’s script covers little of it, and does so by stitching together a handful of flashbacks of the leading character. Overall, they’re vague, and imbue the protagonist with little likability. So instead of a psychological thriller, Di Blasi shoves in your faces a kitsch-fest filled with kitschy skeleton masks, round butts squeezed in leather jeans and the ubiquitous yet rather “prim and proper” perversion.
What I do wanted to know is why do people seek for extreme experiences, ones that often break their will? A fair few craves sheer entertainment, however Di Blasi’s protagonist delves into the horror arena due to a personal trauma. This mechanism – this testing of one’s own boundaries – could be far more scary than a parade of low-key Purge copycats.
The narrative of Extremity (2018) is not entirely bulletproof
Then there is the script, which doesn’t make much sense either.
The more story is unveiled, the more preposterous Extremity (2018) gets. Here’s a sneak peek. The great founder of the daring establishment is a complete weirdo (but not in a strange, freaky way… just weird), whose evil plan pinpoints old-time friends, debts and other hard-to-grasp shenanigans. The movie’s more likely to evoke a pitiful laughter rather than genuine fear.
Yet a particularly misfired concept is to throw in a random Japanese journalist who makes a documentary concerning the whole shady project. At some point of the film, this journalist is forced to perform an on-screen fellatio, with this being just another flagship example of crossing borders without the clear reason why.
Extremity (2018) – a bunch of ludicrous, ideas glued messily into one film
All in all, 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. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and move along.
Extremity (2018) – Culturally Hated or Loved?
Based on a solid premise, yet lackluster and boring onwards, this is the rock-bottom for the talented horror filmmaker Anthony Di Blasi.
Hate Grade: 7.5/10
Director: Anthony Di Blasi
Writer: David Bond, Rebecca Swan
Starring: Chad Rock, Chantal Perron, Dana Christina
Music: Adam Barber
Cinematography: Scott Winig
If you liked Extremity (2018), check out the following movies:
- Hostel (2005) – a far more vicious movie about sick entertainment designed for rich and deeply messed-up people
- Spookers (2017) – a documentary feature about a super-edgy theme park in New Zealand
- Blood Fest (2018) – a decent horror movie set in a theme park, with the similar subject to Extremity (2018) echoing in the background