Sunday, January 19, 2014

RAZE (2013)

No screenshots, sawry.

Here are complete spoilers and also the entire plot of RAZE: women are abducted by a secret society and forced to fight to the death.  To convince them, their loved ones are threatened.  If they lose, their loved ones die.  One woman is Sabrina (Zoe Bell), who has a daughter.  Another is Teresa (Tracie Thomas), who is black.  Then there is blonde Cody (Bailey Anne Borders), who has a mom.  Don't forget about Phoebe (Rebecca Marshall), she is the mean one.  Blood blood blood, 2xtreme gritty visuals, the end and thanks for the money.

What's the deal with this society?  They reference Maenads and one lady wears this toga-type thing, so are they some ancient holdover from Dionysian cult heydays?  Where are the fights happening?  It looks like the inside of a large chimney.  How can the society identify family members and, more than that, plant cameras to follow them everywhere?  How can it kill them without interference from law enforcement agencies?


RAZE doesn't bother examining these questions.  It is literally just a movie about women killing each other.  Additionally, it has been nearly ten years since HOSTEL and people still keep making movies in that mold: ugly, unpleasant and unengaging to watch, with gobs of violence daubed on to make things slightly less dull.  This could have tapped into some of the old-timey women in prison greatness with more outrageousness, more exploitation elements, but it's played so seriously and so straight that it lacks charm.  It seems dumb to demand that a movie about women killing each other be more fun, but at least it would have made for a better watch.

Or!  It could have been a message movie, since "women forced to fight each other by dominant social group" practically writes its own interpretative academic articles.  But RAZE doesn't do that, either.  It also doesn't really "do" characters, since we land in medias res with our ladyfighting.   Maybe if we'd seen any of their lives prior to kidnapping and imprisonment, it would be easier to care.  Or maybe if we got some insight into this society after the inevitable uprising.  But we don't and, as it stands, meh.

The fights are pretty well-staged.  Some are effectively brutal, but since they don't have any wider context, the violence doesn't have much of a reach beyond simple spectacle (cf. something like CANNIBAL HOLOCAUST).  Maybe people who love MMA or girl-fighting fetish videos will get a kick out of this, but it didn't make any impact on me.   

RATING: 4

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