Adam Chaplin (2011)

Remember Italy? At one point, their chief export was sleazy gore movies made on a shoestring. In the early 90s, that seemed to come to a close. The Gore Farms shut up shop and all those fabulous directors joined the unemployment line. Well, that’s how it looked to the rest of the world at least.

A few people continued beavering away to varying degrees of success – Dario, I’m looking at you – while others stowed their passion for the genre until film-making became a more accessible field. This is where Adam Chaplin comes in.

I’ve been describing this movie as The Taint meets Riki-Oh. If that is the sort of thing that interests you, then you should love this. It deals in the gore-soaked abandon of ol’ Ricky’s story shot with the budget – and passion – of those wacky Taint guys. The story, such as it is, is just a conduit to demonic uber-violence. Topless hero Adam loses his wife in some sort of ritual murder, so he enlists a devilish entity to help him get his revenge on a guy with a strange mask. By punching through peoples’ heads and such.

Adam Chaplin is definitely the most violent film I have actively enjoyed in a long time, the gleeful tone and thirst for blood make a nice change to the usual oppressive aura surrounding modern grue flicks. The biggest success of this flick is that it made me not care about the excessively CGI gore. I’m not quite sure how they managed this. Perhaps it was the use of practical gore alongside the techy stuff. It could be the fact that the film eschews that live-action feel for a more puppet/videogame aesthetic. Either way, this is the first time that this amount of CG effects hasn’t lifted me out of the experience. And I salute that.

Cribbing heavily from a wide array of blood-soaked Eastern influence, Troma titles and classic Italian horror is what makes this movie feel both fresh and familiar at the same time. The fact that the plot is tracing paper thin doesn’t denigrate the film, it strengthens it. In fact, the movie’s only real issues are when the violence stops and exposition takes over. It could be said that the good folks behind this flick try a bit too hard to give this character, who is essentially anthropomorphous violence, some extraneous pathos. Dude, he just kicked a guy through a wall! I don’t care how sad he is about his wife!

Sure the themes are a bit perfunctory, just hovering there as a vague motivation for more bloodletting. Nobody is watching this film for its depiction of revenge or the journey into the soul of vengeance, despite those being clear themes addressed in this film, albeit superficially. Despite feeling like a student film, or a film made over a summer by some friends, Adam Chaplin does a lot with very little. It’s an easy recommend for those who love their frenzied splatter with reckless abandon.

Rating: ★★★★★★½☆☆☆

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