The morbid minds over at Unearthed Films have once again given us insight into their next upcoming release, “La Petite Mort 2: Nasty Tapes”. A nasty piece of work from Germany that is essentially torture porn that aims to surpass the typical gritty camerawork of others of its ilk, while also trying to be aggressively raw and shocking in its content. It’s a form where this film is shot as if most of it were documentary-styled, but if there was actual production value and a hired cinematographer to make sure the audience can have an almost equally-fulfilling service as the those who participate in the heinous acts you witness.
In this film, we spend the entirety of our experience at tourist attraction ‘Maison de la petite mort’, where our host Monsieur Matheo Maximè wants his customers to have a life-changing experience. For the right price, they can request an evening of torture and murder with no questions asked and a highly accommodating preparation service. They may choose the age, ethnicity, marital status, and setting for their victims and basically are just left to their own devices.
While the film doesn’t hold back on being offensive or on rejoicing in the violence and depravity, it also doesn’t show a whole lot of actual viscera. What we get is a very vivid set up, entirely with each kill serving as its own set piece with a title card and a small follow-up interview (of which I believe there are close to a dozen total). But when it comes to the actual pain we mostly just see reaction shots.
Every now and then we are treated to a finger being cut off, or some sort of flesh being sliced with a scalpel, but the large majority of it is either hidden by darkness and camera angles, or it’s simply implied. While most likely due to budget constraints, it does lessen the impact that a film like this should deliver on. I will however say that two specific sequences – one involving a corkscrew and another involving scissors – certainly made me equally cheerful and queasy.
It honestly plays out like Hostel, but if there was no story outside the confines of the torture location, and if you never got attached to a single victim. There is an arching storyline revolving around the relationships of the women who operate and set up every scenario – including some where the participants’ can’t be there in person and have the women do their bidding for them over a video chat. There’s also a major storyline involving Monsieur Matheo Maximè and his idea for the next big act – and while this is ultimately the most disturbing & satisfying sequence in the entire film, it only plays out for the final couple of minutes. It allows the film to end on a high note and give you a nice ‘farewell’ as the credits prepare to roll.
Overall, it’s a film that I was more scared to watch based upon the trailer and press material than I actually turned out to be while watching it. I’m not a big fan of torture films, and if I’m going to watch one I personally need something emotional to tie me into atleast one character on either side of it. But this does have its merits along with its fair share of misfires. It has a lot of style with colorful lighting and mostly clean camerawork, and it certainly is enjoying every second of what it’s doing in a maniacally glee way, but for myself there just wasn’t enough audience engagement/attachment, entertaining gore, or thematic cohesion to really make me invest in the experience. It truly feels like a group of artists got together and wanted to have fun on a gross-out horror film more than it was ever meant to be philosophical or thoroughly explored.
I certainly think this will be someone’s bag out there, but I don’t think I would revisit it in the near future.
“La Petite Mort 2: Nasty Tapes” is releasing on May 16th, 2023 via Unearthed Films and can be purchased here:
‘Til Next Time,
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