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Thursday, January 6, 2022

Movie Review: Chaos (2005) (NSFL)


Before I get started on this review, I want to make two things very clear. The first is that there will be spoilers for the entire movie. So if you, for whatever reason, have the intention of watching Chaos for yourself, do be warned. The second thing is that those spoilers are wildly NSFL, so if you have a weak stomach or simply don’t desire to have your day involve gratuitous violence, gore, torture, and/or rape: you may want to gloss over this review. No, I won’t be making an SFW version of this review because, simply put, that would be a few words long and nothing more. I sadly don’t think that would even be worth posting as a joke either since, well, this movie does have a history with it (to an extent). Anyways: for everyone else, let’s begin the little introduction to this dumpster fire of a movie.

Chaos was a movie that’s been on my radar since I was a young teen. I own a book written by Roger Ebert called Your Movie Sucks. It’s a great book and compiles all of the movies that Ebert truly disliked. In the preface, Ebert makes note of a back-and-forth he got into with this movie’s director, a man by the name of David DeFalco. DeFalco was a wrestler, and why he became a director is beyond me, but that’s besides the point. What is the point is that DeFalco didn’t take kindly to Ebert’s ridiculously scathing review of Chaos. If you want to read about it yourself, just click here to read the section on Wikipedia.

Anyways, it was because of this that I always had a bit of interest in watching this movie. I knew of the really shocking, awful elements involved and as a result: I did admittedly go into this knowing that the movie was going to try to appall me in every possible way it could. Not that I think it matters too much given the post boasts that it is the “most brutal movie ever made”. More on that in a bit because woo boy is that title unearned.

Getting back to the whole “curiosity” aspect: I’d contemplated watching the movie for a few years now. I was going to view it last month, but because of Decemystery 2021, I thought it would be a bad idea to watch a movie when I was in the middle of writing about, well, mysteries. Then, last night, I decided to finally do so; I’d been telling him about how the movie is the second lowest rated film on Metacritic, just narrowly being beaten by Dinesh D’Souza's Death of a Nation, and I contemplated if it was truly worthy of being dethroned by it. As a result, that was finally the kick in the rear I needed to watch it…

Boy, I really wish I hadn’t bothered. This movie is certainly worthy of the notoriety it’s gotten. Though not for every reason it’s earned it. Come along, dear reader/moviegoer, it’s time to talk about David DeFalco’s Chaos.

The Main Story (Spoilerific Edition)

For this review, I’m going to discuss the entire movie, meaning that I will go over the whole movie scene by scene since I feel there’s a lot to both talk about and because it will help the actual review be a lot more in-depth and interesting. So yeah, when I said there will be spoilers, I mean it to the fullest extent of the term. This is your final warning that a lot of gross things are going to be talked about and may leave you feeling quite sick to your stomach.

Now then: one thing that really needs to be addressed about Chaos is that it isn’t an original idea. It’s actually an unofficial remake of Wes Craven’s 1972 film The Last House on the Left. However, Chaos takes a fair number of creative liberties to become its own beast. By that, I mean it more or less becomes a third-rate knockoff that feels more like a copycat than an actual remake. That said, I’ve never seen “Last House”. The most I’ve got in the way of information about it is the synopsis on Wikipedia and a YouTube review of Chaos by a channel called Room 237 Reviews. Good channel by the way, it does a lot of horror/exploitation reviews. If you’re uninterested in watching that, the easiest way to see the similarities are in the two posters that were released for the movie. Take a gander at them.

Now here’s the one for the original “Last House”.

Weirdly, I don’t recall the ages of the two characters in Chaos ever being mentioned. I might have missed that, but I swear they weren’t. I guess they just wanted to pay homage to “Last House”.

With that said though, let’s get on with the show. Chaos is a really short movie, clocking in at a meager 68 minutes (minus credits; its full length is roughly 76 minutes). I know this because the entire film is available on YouTube with Spanish subtitles (I won’t link to it because, again, the movie is wildly NSFL, but you can easily find it by searching “Chaos horror movie” on, well, YouTube). Along with that, as I stated at the start, the movie boasts that it’s the “most brutal film ever made”. It does so by stating this on the posters, so it must be true!

Ehh, in my eyes: not really. It certainly is a brutal movie—I won’t deny that. There are plenty of really unpleasant scenes, but given how I’ve read about the things that people like Ted Bundy, Myra Hindley, and Lawrence Bittaker did, a lot of the truly awful things that occur in this movie did little to affect me in the way that the filmmakers would have liked. Well, that plus a few other things the movie does, but why tell you when I can get in depth about these things? Let’s actually dive into this movie; I did say I would at the start.

Chaos opens with a text scroll which reads as follows:

Each year an average of 100 youths are abducted and murdered by strangers. The vast majority of these victims are girls.

Sexual assault is the primary motivation for these killers, most of whom have had prior arrests for serious, violent crimes.

The following motion picture is an extreme graphic depiction, based on actual events. The producers hope the film you are about to see will serve as a warning to parents and potential victims alike. It is intended to be as disturbing as the subject matter it depicts in order to educate and, perhaps, save lives.

The supposed “true events” are allegedly based upon two murders committed by a man named Donald Henry “Pee-Wee” Gaskins, a serial killer from the 1970s. This is at least what the aforementioned Room 237 Reviews video states, along with what’s listed on DVD Empire. No idea if that’s true, but the description on Wikipedia of some of his murders is a bit similar. Then again, I can also say the same about Ted Bundy given he committed acts of necrophilia (which we’ll get into later in this review). Though let’s move on since I don’t view this as that important in the long run.

The movie kicks off by showing a woman hitchhiking. A car eventually pulls over and two men get out. They immediately get creepy and clearly want to rape her, but two other men come out of the nearby shrubbery and beat the ever-living snot out of them. One then bashes the car with a baseball bat. These two men, plus the lady, are the villains of the movie. Let’s go over them in a bit of detail since I have a fair bit to say about both the characters and the performance of the actors who portray the character.

Starting things off, we have the leader of the bad guys: Chaos, who’s easily the best character in the movie. He’s played by Kevin Gage, who starred in Michael Mann’s Heat and was the bad guy in Call of Duty: Ghosts. He easily gives the best performance in the movie and definitely has the most commanding presence. He’s evil, unpleasant, and truly comes across as a vile human being. He does get hammy at times and can definitely come across as over-the-top, but whenever he was on screen, he made me uneasy and added some much-needed life to the movie (more on this in a little bit). So, if the movie has anything going for it: it’s Kevin Gage’s performance.

The second bad guy is Frankie (played by Stephen Wozniak). He’s a long-haired psycho who makes me think a hippie got blended with a Rob Zombie character. His character is the right-hand man to Chaos and sadly, there isn’t any backstory as to how these two met or why they’re partners in crime, especially since the movie makes it clear that Chaos is “wanted in four states”. Alas, the movie is more focused on the violence and carnage that Chaos and his gang inflict, so we’re left with what amounts to a pseudo comic relief character. Still, Frankie is a delightfully evil character who got a few chuckles out of me for how crazy he’d act at times. Also, he got kneed in the dick by one of the heroines of the film and that caught me off guard. So yeah. That was funny.

Finally, we have Daisy, who’s played by Kelly K.C. Quann. She’s the girlfriend of Chaos. Her character is honestly not that interesting. Not only do we not know why she’s following around this psychopathic guy, she also lacks much of a personality beyond shrieking and occasionally getting on Chaos’ nerves. Normally I’d say that the movie could have been the same without her, but each character is based off of a character from “Last House”, which means that without them, it wouldn’t be the “remake” the film aims to be. This also means that I’m inclined to believe that the film butchers the characters that Chaos, Frankie, and Daisy are based off of. Though for all I know, “Last House” also has really poor characters. I don’t know and honestly, I’m not interested in finding out at this point in time. If you’ve seen it, let me know in the comments below. For now, let’s continue.

After we see two idiots get presumably murdered, we’re introduced to the heroines of the film: Angelica (played by Maya Barovich) and Emily (played by Chantal Degroat). As I said when discussing the film’s posters, Angelica’s age isn’t mentioned in the film. This also goes for Emily. Not only this, but Maya hasn’t done anything since Chaos (Chantal, meanwhile, has done a few films since then). Given what we’re about to discuss, I feel quite bad for Maya since this isn’t really what I’d want to be known for in the acting world.

Anyways, Angelica is visiting her best friend in the whole wide world and wants to go to an outdoor rave to party like it’s 1999. Emily’s parents—Justine and Leo (played by Deborah Lacey and Scott Richards respectively)—are a bit hesitant to do so, but concede so long as Emily is back by midnight. The two younglings agree, though not before trying to negotiate (see: beg and act like teenagers) to be allowed to stay out later. After leaving the house, they go to the rave and get there quite early. As a result, they decide to try and score some “E” (ecstasy). This is more Angelica’s idea and that’s actually kind of important because it’s what leads the two to getting into trouble.

I’d like to make note of one thing about the movie here. While all of this detail may seem unimportant: a fair amount of time (by the standards of the overall film’s runtime) has passed by this point. Immediately after the opening beatdown scene, we’re then treated to a minute-long scene of Angelica driving to Emily’s place. Chaos, as I said earlier, is barely over an hour in length.

This means that a lot of what I’ve described is nothing but talking. Very boring, very tedious talking. This isn’t the kind of talking where we may get a PoV shot of Chaos or one of his goons eyeballing their next victims from afar, a la Jason Voorhees in a Friday the 13th movie. No, it’s nothing more than Angelica and Emily talking as they talk to Emily’s parents, and then walk to the rave.

All told, this lasts for about ten minutes. For a movie that proudly boasts that it’s the “most brutal movie ever made”, Chaos takes its sweet time getting to the brutality. I get that this is meant to act as build up to the savagery, but the dialogue is badly done and felt like I was watching a half-assed student film.

Not only this, but the movie has a few scenes where we get to know Chaos and his two companions a bit more. This is all fine and dandy given that we get to know them a little bit better, but its all so dull. It also doesn’t help that for the most part, it raises the questions I mentioned earlier about how Frankie and Daisy got to know Chaos, and why they opted to stay with him. At best, I believe Daisy is along for the ride for the “thrill”.

These scenes with Chaos and his compadres, to be honest, are easily better than those with Angelica and Emily, but they mostly amount to Chaos talking about how baseball is a “sport for fags”, sharpening his knife, and whining about how he “wants to have fun”. The other details mostly add details that aren’t shown in any way, which for a film that claims to be so brutal makes it feel really toothless.

But whatever, I’ll elaborate on that later. For now, let’s get back on track though. Nearby, the duo spot a strange looking man. This fellow is a guy named Swan, the son of Chaos, who’s played by the late Sage Stallone (the eldest son of legendary actor Sylvester Stallone, who most know as Rocky Balboa and John Rambo). Swan is yet again based off of another character from “Last House”, and is also one of the most wildly underutilized characters in the movie. Not only does it feel like there was meant to be more of him in the movie, but he serves as little more than a punching bag for Chaos. If this was meant to be his character arc throughout the entire movie, then I have no idea what David DeFalco was aiming for when writing the movie (which I feel it needs to be mentioned that he was the only writer for this movie).

Anywhoozle: Angelica and Emily approach Swan and ask if he has any ecstasy (which they repeatedly refer to as “E”). He says that he does indeed have the good stuff. However, it’s back at his friend’s place. He tries to coax them into coming along with him, but Emily is hesitant. Angelica, however, is more than happy to go.

This scene feels a little like satire, and I actually kind of liked it. You see: Swan says that the girls can have the ecstasy for free because both girls are very pretty. Given the movie states, at the start, that it’s meant to try and teach people about the dangers and horrors of kidnapping and whatnot, it definitely feels like DeFalco wanted to give the two girls diametrically opposing personalities; Angelica is the more reckless and carefree of the two, while Emily is the more levelheaded and logical.

Unfortunately, this aspect really doesn’t work since the movie doesn’t do subtlety well. Swan states that the cabin is twenty minutes away. This alone should have been a gargantuan red flag and given his jitteriness, along with his incredibly weird behavior, the fact both girls go with him (Emily being persuaded by Angelica laughably easily) takes away from whatever sympathy I have for them when the septic tank hits the fit.

Once Swan brings the girls to the cabin, the movie more or less finally gets going. Chaos and his gang immediately begin tormenting and sexually assaulting Angelica and Emily. It’s more or less what you would expect; a lot of sobbing, begging, and screaming. This, honestly, gets old very quickly, and I’ll get into it later. For now, let’s continue because there are a few key scenes I want to talk about before I discuss the intricacies of the movie.

After some begging, sobbing, and Swan more or less standing around like Elmer Fudd is in the corner of the room doing the Macarena, Chaos and his gang of misfit rapist-killers tie up Angelica and Emily. After that, they take them deeper into the woods so they can sodomize them. I honestly question the logic behind this because it seems like the cabin is already really deep in the woods, but hey: who am I to argue with the two-dimensional psycho killers?

Once the girls are loaded into Chaos’ van of happy fun time, we get a really dull scene of them driving, followed by Frankie and Chaos talking. This scene amounts to nothing and really shows just how much of this movie desperately needed someone to polish the script. There are so many moments of people just talking. The things they are saying don’t matter to the story as a whole. It’s just words that are said, but they are words we don’t need to hear.

The best way I can describe it to you is if I decided to add in about five or six paragraphs, right now, talking about Mothman. It wouldn’t mean anything, nor would it matter in the grand scheme of things. This isn’t a write-up on Mothman. Mothman is not featured in Chaos. I would just talk about Mothman. Likewise, the conversations that the characters occasionally share are just there. This is time that should have been used to develop the villains, protagonists, or heck: it could have been used to help the movie earn that oh-so coveted title of “the most brutal movie ever made”.

But whatever, I guess David DeFalco figured the enthralling yammering of Chaos and Frankie was too good to leave out. So after the two are done blabbering, they get Angelica and Emily out of the van and begin what I consider to be the first of three “disturbing” scenes. This one is mostly centered on violating Angelica and if I’m to be honest, it’s decent. Maya’s performance is good; her fear, sorrow, and despair are all convincing.

However, all of that comes at a price. While I may have felt those emotions, I also grew very annoyed by it. While that may seem rather cruel of me, I can only handle so much crying, begging, and screaming before I feel like the movie is looping. In this case, a lot of what we are treated to is Chaos and Frankie telling the two girls that they’ll let them go and whatnot if they play some game. Meanwhile, the girls ask why they’re doing this, begging them to let them go and that they won’t tell anyone. Along with this, they insult the gang. Really don’t think that’ll help you get freed. Sure didn’t help Emily given she gets punched quite hard by Chaos.

My point is: this back and forth is very redundant, and it goes on and on throughout the movie. As a result, most of what you hear is endless crying and begging. This may be emotionally impactful at first, but I personally grew numb to it. There was never a quiet moment where we got a moment to take in everything that was happening. The few brief moments of silence and true fear are relegated to when the two girls first meet the gang, and that doesn’t last long since the film immediately jumps into action like it’s a child with a sugar rush.

As such, what ensued really left me bored. Angelica is sexually violated, with the gang shoving their hands down her pants. It’s certainly uncomfortable, but the endless crying took me out of the moment. Yes, I know, it’s meant to be realistic and it’s traumatizing, but the noise takes away from really taking in the horrific nature. At least, it did for me.

The sadism doesn’t end there though. Frankie then demands that Angelica perform oral sex on him. Things don’t go as planned however as he gets knees in the groin and both girls run off. Nobody thought to keep them restrained given the plan was to rape them. If you think this is stupid, the movie only amplifies said stupidity as it goes on.

With Frankie in pain, Angelica and Emily both run off. Chaos, having the reaction speed of a deer in headlights, only leaps into action after both girls have gotten a head start. Though first, he checks on Frankie’s ouchie. He comments it’s swollen. This was one of the few times I genuinely laughed during the movie.

While all of this is going on, the movie takes time to cut back to both Leo and Justine, who you may remember are Emily’s parents. This serves as a bit of painfully ironic humor about how Justine is worried about Emily and how Leo reassures her that everything is okay, and nothing is wrong. It feels like it’s meant to be somewhat satirical, but it comes across as aggressively on the nose since they occur when a city’s worth of septic tanks are hitting the industrial sized fan.

“Please let us go, we won’t tell anyone, just let us go, I’m begging you!”

“Boy, I sure hope nothing is going wrong!”

Shock-horror as written by Borat.

Moving on though, the movie then screeches to a halt for a chase scene. It was at this point that I decided to cheat. You see, the movie was roughly 25 or so minutes into its run-time and I was honestly growing restless. I can tolerate a slot movie, but Chaos was boring me to the point that I was actively considering turning it off so I could play Postal 2. As such, I put the playback speed on 2x so I could get through it faster. This proved to not be at all a bad thing since incredibly, there wasn’t much dialogue of note and the shocking scenes… well, they still fell flat, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

The chase scene lasts for a fair bit of time (by the standards of a movie that’s barely over an hour in length). At one point, Angelica and Emily have a tearful moment where they decide to split up so the gang will have a harder time capturing both. Not long after, Angelica is caught. This leads to the second disturbing scene and it’s the one that Ebert specifically mentioned in the book I mentioned at the start as having revolted him. It’s also arguably the most notorious scene.

After a little bit of tormenting, threatening, crying, sobbing, screaming, begging, and me wondering if the movie was going to turn into a dubstep song and drop the bass harder than the end of World War II, Chaos decides to take off Angelica’s shirt. After this, he grabs a hold of her right nipple and slices it off. This led to me doing quite easily the most autistic thing ever and immediately wondering if such an action would lead to as much blood pouring out as was shown in the movie. I didn’t bother looking this up because I’m not about to have the police wonder why I’m trying to research such a thing. That’s why I did so as I was writing this and got no answer; I hope the police don’t think I’m a crazy person.

Anyways, as I was pondering this, Chaos proceeds to put the severed nipple in his mouth. As he did this, I realized the nipple looked like a slice of pepperoni. My confusion about the female nipple area housing as much blood as an artery was then replaced by me wondering if the filmmakers decided to take the cheap route and ordered from a local pizzeria so they could use a piece of pepperoni from their lunch. After this, he force-feeds the nipple to Angelica.

If I’m to be honest: this was probably the one scene which truly made me squirm, largely thanks to the blood effect being solid (I wouldn’t be shocked if most of the budget when towards this one scene—pepperoni nipple notwithstanding) and the agonized screams and reactions from Angelica being really effective. However, I found myself finding the whole thing to be really… empty. What I mean is: while yes, it was effective, it feels very shallow and senseless. Given how all of this really feels like it doesn’t go anywhere. It’s violence for the sake of violence; it’s sadism for the sake of sadism. So while yes, I would say this scene definitely left me going, “Wow, that was brutal”, I also wasn’t left feeling affected in the way the filmmakers wanted me to be left affected. Rather, I’m left feeling concerned for the mental state of Mr. DeFalco.

After this act of brutality, Chaos flips Angelica over and stabs her three times. In the process, there appears to be blood on the top half of her body, which left me confused since I’m pretty sure none of the blood from her nipple wound got onto her back. This is probably just another example of me overanalyzing details when I should be relishing in the horrific torture this poor girl is suffering in the movie, but honestly, I’d tuned out to a certain degree at this point. So anyways, after the stabbing was done, Angelica dies and some necrophilia takes place. This lasts for a solid minute (I checked since I was on YouTube) and is meant to be shocking and gross. I was honestly growing frustrated since scenes were going on for way too long and the shock value was beginning to wane really quickly, and was being replaced with crippling boredom.

Seriously, the best way I can describe this is like when a comedian runs a joke into the ground. At first, the joke was funny. Then they run with it. You may get another laugh or two. But by the fourth continuation, the funniness is gone and you want them to stop. However, they don’t. They keep going with it, and with that: they go from being funny to being obnoxious. Alas, no one is telling them to shut up. Because of that, they keep going and going and going and going. Soon, you want to walk over and slap them upside the head and scream at them to shut the heck up and move on to something else. That’s what this scene felt like. It started out shocking and effective. I was skeeved out. However, by the time we get to “and then he raped the dead body”, all I wanted was for the movie to get on with things. To just throw a metaphor out there: it’d gone from “shocking and gross” to “that one guy who writes a fanfic of a children’s cartoon where the bad guy rapes and kills all of the show’s main characters and has all the superpowers and is evil and is also the brother/sister/whatever to that one super important character because they betrayed them” and yadda yadda yadda, you get the idea. It may seem like a really awful scene—and it technically is—but it’s also a horribly handled scene.

Also, as a little side note: the movie cuts away before Frankie rapes Angelica. I was actually shocked the movie didn’t bother showing that since I genuinely expected the movie to milk the scene for all it was worth. I’m guessing it might’ve been cut out because it was too much, or DeFalco didn’t want to go that far. Either way, I was genuinely shocked.

After that mess of a scene, the movie actually takes a breather—albeit a rather small one. Given that Angelica is now dead, the main focus is Emily—sort of. Chaos and his crew are still focused on very heavily and their dialogue is mostly what you would expect. Yelling, evildoing, and trying to find Emily. You could honestly replace most of their dialogue with “Madlibs For Psychopaths” and it would likely result in something that closely resembles their lines. Go ahead, try it in the comments section! I encourage it.

Meanwhile, the overall feel of the movie becomes akin to that of a game of cat and mouse; Emily is trying to evade the bad guys, while the baddies are trying to find her. This is honestly a lot less interesting than you may think because it more or less just culminates in two things. The first is that they briefly catch her, but she grabs Daisy’s knife and stabs Swan in the genitals, causing him to bleed out. After that, she runs off and Chaos has to suffocate his son to death. Also, apparently, Daisy is really unsettled by the sight of blood (in spite of her seeing plenty of it when Angelica was killed).

The second thing is that Emily ends up slipping and rolling down a small embankment, which results in her being knocked out. I have absolutely no idea how on God’s green Earth this happens since it seemed like a very small fall, but I guess the stress of everything just made her pass out or something. Also, no, she didn’t hit a rock or anything. I checked. She just rolls down and gets knocked out like Mike Tyson in his prime gave her the old one-two.

Meanwhile, while all of this is going on, we get scenes with Leo and Justine, and they actually do go somewhere. When they told Emily to be back by midnight, they also told her to call them. However, this doesn’t happen (for rather obvious reasons) and as such, the duo decide to call the police, to which two officers arrive: Officer MacDunner and Officer Wilson (played by Ken Medlock and Jeb Barrows respectively). Both tell Leo and Justine about how the parties are wild and they’re really deep in the woods, and then subsequently leave, but not before one of them (I think MacDunner) makes a snide comment.

This leads to quite possibly one of the most unexpected and bizarre aspects of Chaos that feels so absurdly out of place that, in all honesty, it shocked me more than the actual violence did. A random bit of commentary on racism with the cops. You see, Justine is black, while Leo is white. Emily is I’m guessing mixed race, though the actress herself appears to be fully black (I could be wrong about this though). Once the cops leave, Justine asks Leo if he heard what the cop said and the two have a brief bit of back-and-forth about whether the officer was racist; Leo says he’s simply “ignorant” and Justine says that racism is, in fact, ignorant.

After this, the movie has a brief scene with the two cops as they’re driving; the once officer talking about how he’s shocked that Leo is in an interracial relationship when there’s “plenty of fine, white pussy” out there. The other cop says he’s racist, but the not-racist officer states that he is, in fact, not racist, he simply doesn’t believe in interracial marriage and says that people should stick to their own race.

This scene is so wildly out of left field that it reminded me that at one point, I thought this film was trying to have a bit of satirical edge. In this case, I have no idea if it was trying to make a statement on racial bias with law enforcement, if it was mocking those who say that there is racial bias in law enforcement (which I can’t remember anything along those lines back in 2005—even though the film I thinks states that it takes place in 2002), or if David DeFalco just wanted an excuse to use the N word in his movie. Whatever the case may be, this scene is so random and so out of place that I couldn’t help but laugh. What’s more, this isn’t even the first time racism is brought up in the movie; Chaos himself makes a few remarks about Emily being black and I think at one point, she says that he’s racist. This actually offends Chaos and he says he isn’t racist.

Typing this, I realize just how strange this whole movie is at times. I have to wonder if maybe the movie started out as a darkly comedic film before taking on its edgier tone. If that’s the case, I would love to know what it would be like as a dark comedy.

After the little intermission with the not-racist cops, the movie then shifts back to Emily who finally wakes up after being KO’d for what I swear must’ve been a few hours. She immediately remembers what the heck happened and tries to escape once more. She does succeed for about a second, making it to the road where a car is driving. However, just as she’s about to open the door, a wild Chaos appears. He uses “grab a woman” and yanks her back; the driver speeding off immediately.

This leads into the third and final “shocking” and “disturbing” scene, and it’s one which is so badly handled that I was honestly struggling to tell what happened. Had it not been for Wikipedia and a line (which I’m going to quote because I genuinely found it funny in the worst way possible), I would’ve thought Emily was killed because of shock. You see, Chaos brings her to I think a slaughterhouse (I really don’t know; I think Frankie says it’s a slaughterhouse, but for all I know: it was a crypt, the movie’s lighting at this point is abysmal). They strip her naked and Chaos tells Emily to beg for her life. In response, she starts praying. Chaos mocks her for praying and says Jesus won’t save her.

After this, he shoves his knife between her anus and vagina. This may sound brutal, but trust me: you can’t really see anything beyond the blood on the knife. A large part of this is because, again, the lighting is horrendous. It’s not even regular bad lighting, I mean you’re trying to find your way around your house in the dead of night without any lights on. If I had stopped watching the movie at this point and hadn’t read the Wikipedia synopsis, I would’ve thought Chaos gave her a knife-suppository. I guess that’s one way to clear up your constipation.

Anyways, once Emily is dead, Daisy steals her pants and a rather funny exchange is had. Now mind you, this isn’t funny in a genuinely funny way, it’s simply a really strange icebreaker that caused me to laugh. Here it is:

Chaos: There now. She had two little holes, now she has one big one.

Frankie: That's pretty fucking harsh man. That shit gave me the willies.

Chaos: Yeah, well, it gave me a hard on. Too bad there ain't nothing left to fuck.

After so much overly serious edginess, cringe-worthy nihilism, and pointless sadism, this one really stupid exchange got a genuine laugh out of me. Too bad by saying that, I’m likely now on several watchlists. Also, I’ve likely lost the respect of all of my readers. Oh well, at least kept me going for the rest of the movie—which is nearly over.

Back with Leo and Justine, the latter has no faith the cops will find her daughter. Leo concedes and the two decide to search for her themselves. Ultimately, they find the corpse of Angelica and retreat home. This was a truly worthwhile scene that served the story in so many ways—especially when you consider that Chaos and his gang visit Leo and Justine’s home and ask to stay there since their truck won’t start. Yes, that’s a thing and it only serves to make it so the ending of this movie is even darker than it needs to be.

To make a really long story short: Leo and Justine call the cops because Leo realizes that Daisy is wearing their daughter’s pants. The cops speed on over, but not before Chaos intends to kill the couple since he believes that they’re going to rat them out. However, when he goes to their bedroom, they aren’t there. Upon going downstairs, he’s met with a shotgun-wielding Leo, who intends to shoot him. He doesn’t just take the chance and is overpowered by Chaos. Some chaos (hardy har har) ensues, and both Leo and Justine are on the ground, having been beaten and kicked. However, before he can finish them off, Chaos becomes enraged at Daisy’s incessant bitching and her with the shotty because she’s annoying him. This is honestly one of the most satisfying moments in the movie because at this point, Daisy’s character was as insufferable as you could imagine. Just a shame the shotgun blast didn’t make a gaping hole in her stomach.

Frankie asks Chaos what the heck is wrong with him, but that really doesn’t go anywhere because both Leo and Justine are missing. I guess peripheral vision isn’t a thing in the world of Chaos. Anyways, Chaos tells Frankie to go find them, and he obeys his master like the lapdog that he is. However, when he gets to the opened front door, he’s met with a chainsaw-wielding Leo, who slices open his stomach. This is honestly the best scene in the whole movie because I had absolutely no idea it was coming and it was truly awesome. Though it’s apparently a callback to “Last House”. Still, I dug it big time.

After that bit of awesomeness, Leo goes toe-to-toe with Chaos in a moment which really kills the preceding moment. Somehow, the chainsaw can’t cut through the shotgun, and Leo doesn’t bother to try and thrust the chainsaw towards Chaos. As such, he ends up disarmed and at the mercy of Chaos, but not before Leo stabs him in the ankle. This allows Leo to get the shotgun back, reload it (it was out of ammo when Chaos was going to shoot Leo earlier), and aim it at the big bald bad brute.

Then comes the finale. The cops arrive and tell Leo to put the gun down. He doesn’t. One of the cops shoots Leo in the head, killing him. Justine, furious, disarms said cop and shoots him to death. Then, Chaos shoots the other cop with the shotgun. He then walks up to Justine and pulls the trigger, ending the movie (which is filled with Chaos’ sinister laughter).

That’s Chaos. A movie that’s a little over one-hour-long and has so little to offer beyond a few shocking scenes and a downer ending. I can’t say I’m surprised since, again, I’d read the synopsis prior to watching the movie, but actually seeing it in action was somehow still really disappointing. I don’t mind depressing endings, but this really didn’t pull it off right (especially since all of this was easily avoidable). Though hey, who am I to judge? Now that you know the movie as presented by me, allow us to journey into the full review itself.

The Formal Review (I Regret Everything Edition)

Let’s start off with the plot, since that’s what we just went over. In my humble opinion: it’s really bad. The entire thing could have been prevented had Angelica simply adhered to the wise bit of advice one is typically taught at a very young age: “don’t talk to strangers”. While yes, she is 18 in the movie, the fact that she willingly went with someone who said his cabin was twenty minutes away from the rave site is not only goofy, but really made it hard for me to empathize with her.

While yes, situations like the one in this movie can happen in real life because of naivety, you can at least argue that scenarios like that happen because the killer/rapist is suave or the victim is inebriated in some capacity. This was just straight up gullibility and foolishness, and I was honestly frustrated at how dumb the film portrayed the victims. It would’ve been a lot better if the girls had simply been overpowered when en route to the rave since that’d at least make them seem less stupid. Though hey, I guess there may have been some sort of underlying message about not going anywhere with strangers. If that’s the case though, it wasn’t very well handled.

Beyond that, the overall plot is very thin. It’s very much a simple story of two innocent humans being tormented by crazy people with little else to add. I really can’t say much more than that; I wasn’t angry at the story like most critics since honestly, I don’t know what I expected. Even if I wasn’t aware of the movie’s content, it makes it very apparent by the time the girls enter the cabin that what you’re about to endure is going to be nothing more than sadism. I guess if I had anything to say, it’s that everything after Emily’s death feels very tacked on and unnecessary, kind of like DeFalco realized he never resolved Justine’s concerns with her daughter’s unfulfilled promise to call and say she was on her way home.

So for the story overall: I’d say it’s weak, flimsy, but nothing that I really think is bad. To be honest, a lot of torture porn movies like this have weak plots, and Chaos is just another one to add to the pile.

Performance wise: they’re mostly okay. Kevin Gage—as I said at the start—did a really solid job at Chaos. Stephen Wozniak did a decent job as Frankie too. Meanwhile, I thought that Maya Bravoich and Chantel Degroat were both surprisingly decent as Angelica and Emily respectively. Mind you, their performances technically would technically qualify as less-than-stellar, but I think that helped to add to the realism of the whole situation in a weird way. If nothing else, their fear and despair felt genuine. The rest of the cast is more or less fine; I really didn’t think anyone did a bad job. I have nothing of note to say about anyone beyond Kelly K.C. Quann’s performance as Daisy making me want to shove an apple down my throat so I’d suffocate before I had to endure anymore screeching from her towards the end. Still, she was fine for I’d say the first 2/3rds of the movie.

Writing wise, this movie can best be summed up as “Crying: The Movie” and “Begging For Mercy: The Movie”. I’ve heard less crying and seen less begging from my dog when eating McDonald’s near him. As I stated above, I grew very tired and frustrated from hearing it and I will never change that stance. While the movie is clearly trying to make you feel depressed and heartbroken for the situation the two girls are in, I’m of the opinion that such a thing has its limit before the viewer is likely to grow either tired, angry, or just overall indifferent to what they’re hearing.

The lack of any hope in this movie also doesn’t help. The overall tone of the movie is one of nihilism and hopelessness. There’s never any sign that the good guys will win. Although Swan ends up dead, we’re never given any sign that this is a true setback for Chaos. In fact, the loss of his son only fuels his rage. This is in spite of how Chaos endlessly berates Swan and never shows any affection to him during the movie. Heck, prior to Swan returning with Angelica and Emily, Chaos states that he’s going to just leave without him and go to Los Angeles with Frankie and Daisy. It’s like the death of his son was needed as an excuse to just make Chaos angrier.

This tone and the endless depressing dialogue ultimately creates a movie which is really shallow and one-note. It’s grimdark. It’s morbid. It’s like a bad creepypasta that wants to be dark, serious, and moody, but doesn’t realize that even the darkest of stories have some hope in them. There cannot be despair with hope; that’s why when the good guys lose, it’s because they lost putting up some form of a fight. In this case, it’s like watching a scrawny guy try to fight a hippo. We know who’s going to win and I don’t care because there’s no chance in hell that the scrawny guy will win. He had no chance against a hippo. Now maybe if he had a shotgun and some way of putting distance or an obstacle between them and the hippo, I would be more invested. Alas, with Chaos, neither girl has any means of really fending for themselves. The one tool they had, a pocket knife that Emily owned, is quickly taken away and that’s that.

Some may say that this makes it scarier, and that the hopelessness makes us more invested. However, it becomes really apparent that the bad guys will win. Not only are the two girls without hope, but they’re found too quickly, and without any resistance or with any build up to them being found (such as them hiding in a tree or in shrubbery with maybe a sharp stick), but the tools at the bad guys’ disposal are wildly overpowered. Really sharp knives, baseball bats, and the general physique of Chaos makes it clear nobody would win against them (unless they had a gun). So, for me, there is no horror, hope, or anything positive in the movie tonally. It’s just grimdark nonsense that left me feeling exhausted by the end.

That said, there’s always the shock value, something that Chaos proudly boasts about. “The most brutal movie ever made” it claims; a movie so brutal, it has a 1 out of 100 on Metacritic! Surely that means something, right? Ehh, not really. Ignoring the whole spiel that I went on at the start about how I’ve read things worse than what’s shown in this movie, there’s a lot less disturbing material in this movie than I honestly would’ve expected. In fact, I’d say that it’s remarkably tame; the movie doesn’t really take advantage of a lot of what it could do. I would’ve thought Chaos and his companions would’ve done a lot more brutalizing before killing their victims. Instead, they really waste no time in killing them, and instead take time to talk about their atrocities. Frankie even states that they’ve had sex with wild animals (which felt really random and made me wonder why on Earth they’d done that of all things).

In spite of that criticism, I stand by my loose praise earlier that Angelica’s death scene worked. Yes, it went on for too long, but I won’t deny that it initially did get me to feel uneasy. I simply wish the movie hadn’t played all of its cards at once and tried to space out the brutality more wisely so it felt like it was hitting all the right notes instead slamming its hands onto the piano keys all at once, thereby making a bunch of sound thinking that’s music.

Direction wise, I really have nothing to say. This is the only film of DeFalco’s I’ve seen and as such, I have nothing to really gauge his directorial skills as a whole. Though if I’m to go off of this, I’d say he isn’t the worst director out there. He clearly got decent performances out of his actors, though there’s some shaky camerawork that felt out of place and made it hard to focus on some scenes properly. He also lingered on certain shots for way too long, which made scenes (like the rape of Angelica’s corpse) feel really awkward. I’m guessing this was meant to be disturbing since it I guess would’ve given a sort of snuff film feel to the movie, but I honestly found myself waiting for the cut more than anything else. I don’t know if I’m in the minority or majority on this; I only know of one other person who felt this way

To harp onto the shaky camerawork: there are scenes where it feels like the movie is in a found footage format. The camera will move around erratically, which I think is meant to create a more raw, realistic feel to the movie, but it came across as really frustrating. While I don’t inherently dislike a shaky camera, it felt truly out of place in this movie. I came here to watch a movie called Chaos not The Bourne Chaosity.

Moving on from the standard things that I think every film critic (amateur or professional) would talk about, one thing which I didn’t go over when talking about the film’s story was its audio. I don’t know if it’s just the rip that’s on YouTube or what, but the audio would fade in and out at times, making it very hard to understand what the characters were saying. The best way I can describe it is if you try to listen to someone who’s whispering when they’re halfway across the yard. I tried to replay certain scenes to understand what they were saying, but I eventually deemed it unimportant since really, I knew what was going to happen and I wasn’t here for the deep, complex characters. I was here to watch a movie I could whine about on my blog.

Also, no, it wasn’t because I had the movie on 2x speed. When I needed to, I would return the film to regular speed so I could listen to the dialogue. Trust me, it’s an issue on the movie’s end. Or it could be an issue with my hearing. Either way, it bothered me.

Above all else though, the worst aspect to Chaos is that it simply isn’t entertaining or meaningful. It isn’t entertaining in the same way that a movie like, say, Saw is. While the first Saw is definitely not torture porn, it definitely has some moments which are uneasy and can definitely make you wince. With Chaos, it has those moments, but they’re bogged down by the slow pacing and generally unappealing nature. Sure, one can ask why on Earth anyone would want to rewatch a movie where a girl’s corpse gets raped, but that’s where the second part comes in.

Chaos isn’t meaningful. It isn’t insightful. It doesn’t tell us anything. It doesn’t teach us anything. In spite of what the opening text says, it doesn’t feel like it has anything compelling to tell us. A movie can be shocking, horrific, and/or hard to watch, but still be rewatchable. Requiem For A Dream is one of my all-time favorite movies, has plenty of hard to watch scenes, and I could still see myself rewatch it with someone because the movie’s underlying message is powerful and compelling. The same goes for Mel Gibson’s controversial (though I would say brilliant) Passion of the Christ. That’s definitely not an easy movie to watch, but its underlying message (along with it just being an amazingly well-made movie) is one which says a lot.

With Chaos however, it doesn’t have any of those aspects. It’s a very weightless, meaningless movie. It’s shock value on top of shock value on top of more shock value. Anything it may have tried to say is exorcised by the endless shock value, and all that’s left behind is a movie that desires to only appall us with rape, torture, despair, and random inclusions of racism and homophobic slurs. Mind you, I firmly believe you can use slurs to good effect if you’re a skilled writer, but just using them for the sake of using them doesn’t make you a good writer, nor does it make your character look edgy or evil. Rather, it makes them look like that one person in a chat room or in a video game lobby who gets vote-kicked because they won’t shut up.

Though with all of that said, the review for Chaos comes to an end. Suffice to say, I really didn’t like it, but I guess that was apparently right before we started off the main story’s review. So now that we’re done with this, let’s get into the final verdict.

Final Verdict

Overall: Chaos is a dull, nihilistic slog of a movie. It lacks the savviness of being morally depressing like a movie such as Sicario and lacks the shocking and offensive bite of something like Postal 2. What you’re left with is a barebones shock-flick which is more likely to leave you bored or wondering why you aren’t watching a better torture porn movie.

Final Score: F

Yeah, I think this movie is easily a failure. While I may have given the movie a fair bit of credit in a few areas, I feel that it doesn’t matter when the movie as a whole—with its overall intent, flow, and entertainment/meaningfulness factor—fails. A movie like Chaos should shock, appall, and disgust me. However, it didn’t. It bored me and had me wishing I could go back in time and stop myself from not wasting my time. That, even with all of the things I gave even the tiniest bit of praise to, makes me think the movie is a failure of the highest caliber. It isn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen (I still firmly believe that title goes to Biodome), but this is a very close second.

At least this movie made me chuckle.


I certainly cannot say that I expected this review to be as long as it is, but I’m not upset by it. If anything, I’m rather happy. It was nice to stretch my criticism wings and take a jab at something I didn’t like in a manner that wasn’t just some “angry Internet critic” schlock that everyone and their mother used to do during the late 2000s and early–mid 2010s. That said, I do hope that nobody who reads this feels physically ill by what I described. At the end of the day, when it comes to a movie like this, we have to remember that it’s just that: a movie. While I may think Chaos was wildly exaggerating by telling the viewer to keep repeating to oneself that it’s “just a movie”, movies can convey messages in an array of different fashions and forms.

With Chaos, it could have certainly had a unique message by conveying the dangers of being reckless when out partying and interacting with strangers. Yes, women are definitely at danger from any number of people (this goes for guys too). However, that message isn’t well conveyed when the overall movie amps up the violence and savagery to eleven while not trying to keep its substance up there with it. Ultimately, what you’re left with is the story beats to The Last House on the Left, but with the worst of Friday the 13th, Hostel, and A Serbian Film.

I would personally love to see more filmmakers be willing to take serious risks with what the worst of us as humans can do, but unless they’re willing to keep those risks balanced with equally strong commentary, I feel like Chaos should serve as a reminder as to what can happen when an artist tries take said risks with the intention of only shocking us without properly teaching us.

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