Keeping in the line of the 'found footage' film-making that was first mastered by the previously reviewed "Cannibal Holocaust", and also a film that I realized I had not seen and couldn't wait, I decided to tackle the third installment of the August Underground series, Penance.
If you're not familiar with the series, it deals with two psychopaths (always different) who film themselves mostly goofing off and running around the droves of the undergrounds of cities. Oh, and they also are nomad serial killers who kill at random and have no mercy for their crimes. August Underground's Penance is the third and final installment in the series and the reason I'm reviewing it first is simply the reason this was the last one I needed to see.
Penance opens up, rather boringly with our chubby killer Peter messing around with our homely, red-headed nutcase Crusty. The two hop around the outskirts of what I believe to be Pittsburgh, it's all very stupid and not entertaining. But soon, the two start kidnapping people, disemboweling them, and brutally torturing them while filming it all. The best thing about Fred Vogel (the director of all three films) is that the violence is disturbingly real. Every body part, every blood spatter, every bit of torture - it's feel all too real.
This what makes not only Penance, but the rest of the series just as disturbing. When found footage films are done right, they can be terrific. Paranormal Activity got it wrong, Blair Witch got it right. August Underground perfects it. If you can handle the intensity and disgusting nature of two psychopaths who film themselves murdering people on video in a realistic, graphic manner, then it is a disturbing, yet seemingly worthwhile experience.
The scene involving a home invasion takes what was done in Henry: Portrait of A Serial Killer and takes it too the next level. It was a moment I thought about long after it was over and commend the filmmakers for making such a disturbing film.
Disturbing Elements: ***1/2
Film Overall: ***