*½/**** Image A Sound A- Extras B
starring John Jarratt, Nathan Phillips, Cassandra Magrath, Kesti Morassi
written and directed by Greg McLean
DVD - Image A- Sound A Extras B+
BD - Image A- Sound A Extras A-
starring Jay Hernandez, Derek Richardson, Eythor Gudjonsson, Barbara Nedeljakova
written and directed by Eli Roth
by Walter Chaw When I say that I enjoy a nihilistic film on occasion, I don't mean movies that aren't about anything. There are films that adhere to the philosophy that life is meaningless, that there's not much hope, that we might be in Hell or, better, a godless maelstrom of happenstance and entropy. And then there are ostensibly nihilistic films like Wolf Creek and Hostel that are more accurately examples of nihilism. Both inspired by real-life events*, they seem to use their basis in fact as protection against not actually telling a story with gravity or purpose. They're not governed by a prevailing philosophy or buoyed by any artistry--they have nothing beneath their grimy veneers to reward a careful deconstruction (though we'll try). Worse, they know only enough about their genres to (further) discredit them in the popular conversation. I look at these films as though I were observing an alien artifact, an insect with solid black eyes. If there's intelligence to them, it's not a kind I understand.