21 Nov 2013

'Big Bad Wolves' Review

Director: Aharon Keshales, Navot Papushado
Writer: Aharon Keshales, Navot Papushado
Stars: Guy Adler, Lior Ashkenazi, Dvir Benedek
Running Time: 110 mins
Sub-Genre: Comedy, Thriller, Crime
Release: November 2013

A series of brutal murders puts the lives of three men on a collision course: The father of the latest victim now out for revenge, a vigilante police detective operating outside the boundaries of law, and the main suspect in the killings - a religious studies teacher arrested and released due to a police blunder.

The Revenge sub-genre has sailed down the I Spit on Your Grave root, and clearly it was a dead end as no other film of that sub-genre was able to pull something out of the bag that didn't involve a girl getting raped and then getting payback on those who wronged her. Big Bad Wolves treads along those lines in some aspects, but you have not seen a more original and savage Revenge flick like this in years. This little Israel gem from Aharon  Keshales and Navot Papushado may just be this year’s most viciously entertaining horror films, and with its brood mix of gore and gags, this makes Big Bad Wolves one foreign horror to die for.

Having never seen Rabies, I was unaware of the talent behind the camera, so I went into this with a clean slate; well other than the fact Quentin Tarantino called it “The Best film of the year”. This threw me off-guard a little, a made me guess that the film was going to be a success. Perhaps reading something along the lines off “so bad it hurts” then maybe Big Bad Wolves would have pleased me even more than it did. Either way, I loved it and that’s what I’m here to do, to tell you about just how good Big Bad Wolves is. Its effective blend of dark humor and bloody violence proves that it has something to offer more than its surprisingly twisted narrative string.

The slow-burning approach which initially removes the element of horror doesn't work on its behalf at first, but once bones start cracking and blood starts spraying, it reminds you of why you went to see this in the first place, and why you have an undying lust for basic torture horrors. A lot of this film is “been there seen that”, but not until you watch the film take a complete U-turn for the best, slapping all those cliché’s in the face as it flies past. Big Bad Wolves is as original as it gets for 2013, and with early intentions of repetition, it proves to be a strong horror with a strong bite; and then after taste is just as good. I wouldn't dare spoil anything here for anyone, it’s one of those films you just have to get up and go see as soon as it hits screens (if it does). The taught structure and humor only makes the violence that bit more delicious, and when you are curling up with the grisly actions, you can loosen up by appreciating the snappy gags that accompany the gore, and with the great actors pulling them off to perfection, it’s rare that you will find a gag that falls flat.

Like the film itself, the horror elements rarely go wrong, and although the gore never reaches blood-spraying levels, it’s effective enough to chill us to the bone. The fact that they can take a serious subject matter like Paedophilia and make something darkly compelling out of it is an accomplishment in itself, the gritty absurdity only plays up to the fun factor, and although the comedy is all there, it still manages to establish itself as a deeply sinister thriller with a strong impact. The sharp contrast of tones works strongly in its favour, and the whole reveal only enhances the after-taste the film leaves, its skilled violence distracts you from the bluff reveal, and when all is revealed, you will feel like you have been messed with to a certain extent were all you can do is sit back in admiration of what just took place. There is something special here, and that becomes apparent from early stages, but as the film comes to a memorising finish, you will walk out of this knowing you have witnessed something cinematically fantastic. It’s a real gem, and the sooner everyone realises that the better.

VERDICT: Big Bad Wolves is an outrageously fun, sharp and savage revenge thriller that’s effective blend of gory violence and snappy gags works perfectly against its deeply dark central narrative. The talented cast and twist reveal only makes the experience that bit more delicious, and by the time the credits role, you will feel like you have witnessed a soon-to-be classic. Watch out for one of the best revenge films in years.

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