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Blu-ray Disc Released: 9/8/2015
All Ratings out of
Movie: No Stars
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 9/7/2015
I've been reviewing movies for only 20 years and in that time, I've written a lot of reviews. In that time, I've learned something which you may find surprising -- reviewing good movies is hard. When you like, or less often love, a movie, it can be difficult to put that into words, especially if the film has connected with you on an emotional level. It can be somewhat easy to discuss good acting or nice camerawork, but when a movie hits you in the gut, that often makes for a short review. Bad movies are much, much easier to review as all that you have to do is list the movie's problems. Sometimes I simply stop listing the issues because I get tired of writing. Morituris is going to be an easy movie to review.
So, here's the story in Morituris: Five people, three men and two women (Andrea De Bruyn, Valentina D'Andrea, Desiree Giorgetti, Giuseppe Nitti, and Simone Ripanti) are traveling at night in a car. Through their conversation, we learn that the women met the men at a club and that the men are Italian and that the women are Romanian. They talk about music and soccer. They also mention that they are going to a rave. After driving for a long time, they park and begin to walk through the woods. As it turns out, there is no rave. The men simply lured the women there to rape them. This goes on for quite some time and then the group is attacked by group of dusty ancient warriors who behead and crucify the men and women. And then the movie ends. Oh, I should have mentioned that while all of this is going on, the movie occasionally cuts to a man in an apartment who is apparently acting out American Psycho.
As we've discussed in the past, the history of Italian horror cinema is built on movies which don't make much sense. So, when you go into an Italian horror movie, you expect to suspend your disbelief and prepare yourself to be OK with it when things suddenly happen. But, within these shenanigans, there was typically a story...sometimes too much story. This combination of shoddy logic and anything goes story-telling is what gave these movies their charm and made them popular amongst so many fans.
Morituris contains some of these traits, but it completely loses sight of anything which would be considered entertaining or quality. The story here is basically non-existent. The non-descript characters drive in the car forever (9:38-25:06), they then walk through the woods forever, then the rapes go on and on, and then the warriors arrive and mayhem ensues. That is it for a story. Driving - walking - raping - dying. There is no character development at all, we simply know that these are party people. The movie really goes off of the rails when the warriors show up. We are never told who these guys are or what their purpose is, save for killing. The area from which they appear has fires built around it, as if it were prepared for their arrival, but again, there is no explanation. The characters do read some ancient tablets which are in Latin, but they aren't translated, so we learn nothing. What's the crazy part? It took three people to write this story. I can only imagine that one of them said, "You know whatI Spit on Your Grave or Last House on the Left needed? Gladiators!"
So what does this lack of story mean for the viewer? It means that the movie is incredibly boring. For the longest time, nothing happens -- trust me, the dialogue isn't very scintillating. Then, something does happen, but itís certainly nothing which makes for good cinema. Then, Morituris becomes an actual horror movie, as the warriors stalk the characters, but by this point, we donít care about what is happening. The tedious nature of the movie is superseded only by the tasteless and mean-spirited air of the movie. The rape scenes seemingly go on and on and while they arenít explicitly graphic (although one of the women is nude for the remainder of her on-screen time), the overly-descriptive dialogue leaves nothing to the imagination. As for the crucifixion scene, that is fairly graphic, and if the movie had any point, it would have been shocking.
Morituris was made in 2011, but itís just now reaching our shores. Honestly, it could have waited forever as far as Iím concerned. I feel certain that some hardcore Italian horror movie lovers may be drawn to the Morituris due to the involvement of special effects makeup artist Sergio Stivaletti, who worked on such well-known films asDemons and The Church. Trust me, this is not a reason to sit through this movie. Morituris has no redeeming features and is the rare movie which I would label as garbage. I would love to see Italian horror make a return, but this is not what I had in mind.
Morituris decreased my desire to visit Italy on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Synapse Films. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 28 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing a slight amount of grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good, but the image is a bit dark in some shots, not distractingly so, but enough to obscure some details. The level of detail is good, as we can make out the textures on objects and the depth is impressive. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 4.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. One the action moves to the forest, we get some nicely placed stereo and surround sound effects, a few of which shoe good detail. The subwoofer is mild, but comes into play when the warriors appear.
The lone extra on the Morituris Blu-ray Disc is a TRAILER for the film.
Review Copyright 2015 by Mike Long