Necromentia (2009)

Hell awaits the foolish.
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Necromentia - Hell Awaits The Foolish

For a craftily reverse-chronologically constructed horror movie about the temptations of hell, Necromentia, although not quite as inverted as Memento, manages to be an absorbing and fascinating fantasy with numerous loud shocks and more gore than you can shake a baby at. The story is obviously very Hellraiser inspired with a smattering of Cenobite-ish demons populating the corridors of Hell, but the creative plot execution makes it dissimilar enough to not warrant any further comparisons. The direction is also seemingly inspired by the J-Horror genre with some fucked up camera effects, violent stabs of flashbacks and flash-forwards, some nice angles and lighting and even a dark haired pale looking girl flashing on screen for the occasional sensory assault. The movie could be seen as four short movies of individual's experiences with Hell and their motivations for wanting to go there, but as the story moves backwards it is revealed how their lives are entangled and their perception of choosing to visit the depths of our lord's homestead is a fallacy. The gore effects are quite nice and are never usually displayed for long enough to inspire any criticisms, the demons look nice created without the need for excessive CGI. Who needs computer graphics when a guy in a gasmask and a blue David Bowie wannabe can be just as, if not more, scary?

Hagen is just your average barber shop owner who likes to cut hair and fuck his pickled dead lover. Late one night, whilst sweeping up the days hair and dreaming about the romantic bubble bath and vagina maintenance planned for later with his favourite cadaver, Hagen's shop is visited by a couple of no-good hairy-biker looking scoundrels, one mute and one wanting to look like Otis B. Driftwood. Once it is established that said scoundrels have no interest in robbing him they give Hagen a professional shave and the opportunity to visit Hell and reclaim the soul of his wife. Possibly out of curiosity or the possibility of warmer and less pungent sex, Hagen decides that there is more to gain than lose by giving it a try. What he doesn't realize is that opening the gates of Hell involves some painful scalpel Ouija artwork on his back and a large dose of dog tranquilizer, and although this sounds like a standard Friday night, Hagen is not really the party animal and would probably have settled for a night in front of Pop Idol with his dearly deceased.

Flashback eleven months and introducing Travis, the poverty stricken guardian of his younger disabled brother Thomas. To make ends meet, Travis runs a super-bondage dungeon skilfully cutting and torturing those that get moist from a little edge play, assuming they can pay enough money and Ketamine to hire the skilful hands of Travis. Whilst Travis is at work or getting wasted or practicing his cut technique on himself, brain challenged Thomas likes to watch the static on the non-functioning TV while his mind watches Mr. Skinny, the piano-playing pig-masked fat guy who wears nothing but a diaper and barbed wire whilst singing jolly tunes about suicide. Whilst Travis is on one of his regular trips to a Ketamine induced Hell, Thomas disembowels his babysitter and disappears. Off to Hell again goes Travis who's best Hell-friend Morbius offers to help find Thomas if Travis will use his scalpel skill on an old barbershop friend.

Flashback again where a mute bartender is not enjoying his life because his girlfriend is ignoring him, pregnant and possibly bonking the local barber. An unfortunate botched murder attempt sends the speechless one, his disloyal lover and his unborn baby on a Hell bound sight seeing tour of the depths of the underworld. If only there was some commodity that he owned to trade with a demon for Earthly revenge and knew someone skilled with a blade and interested in Necromancy... hopefully a conversation with his dead son and an ad in the dating columns will fulfil his desires.

Directed by Pearry Tao, Necromentia is a beautifully portrayed vision of personal Hells and the intertwined lives of the Hell dwellers make for an engrossing, edge-of-seat story, combine this with the inventive plot execution and the eye and ear catching effects and sound this movie has a lot going for it. The self mutilation, the demonically evil Mr. Skinny and the frequent bouts of violence will satisfy the needs of those who like their gore long and drawn out plus those who like their shocks and scares. The overall darkness of the movie is skilfully portrayed by a cast of non-mainstream thespians which is always a realism injection into movies even though Necromentia is set in a fantastical environment. This is one of those rare movie that is a whole new bundle of entertainment the second time around with the hindsight of the first ocular expansion and still an experience when the inclination to watch again strikes.
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