Let me say right off the
bat that I am not squeamish. I have seen hundreds of horror films —
and while I'd be lying if I said that it was my favorite genre, I can handle
them just fine. I am not a prude.
And yet, twelve minutes
into the DVD of Broken, I had to turn it off.
Life is too short to spend
even another second in this film's foul company.
I must stress that I never,
ever, EVER do that.
Over the years, I have sat
through the entire running time of some of the most horrible films ever.
I can't remember the last time I stopped watching a movie just because it
was so distasteful. Maybe never. Beyond the fact that it is my
job, I strongly believe (it's the romantic in me) that even the worst film
might have some redeeming features.
Because of this, I can't in
all fairness claim to be able to say whether or not Broken is a good
film. Maybe there was some stunning twist, things change and it turns
out to be a masterpiece. Maybe it truly becomes a terrific scare film.
I will never know, because
I was literally turned off so much by the beginning that I turned it off.
I know the slasher-porn of
the Saw movies and the Hostel movies quickly became chic (and
just as quickly are falling out of favor, which I think is probably best for
the world.) I even watched (and reviewed) the first Saw and
thought it was a relatively effective genre film. I've never seen one
of the Hostel films, but that was more out of lack of interest than
any sense of dread.
I was actually semi-looking
forward to Broken from the press description. It sounded like
an interesting story. A mother is kidnapped in the woods and must try
to escape so she can save her daughter. Unfortunately, I didn't make
it far enough to get to the interesting part.
Actually, I turned it off
right after the mother realized she had been kidnapped — but I have to
admit the fact that the daughter turned out to be like seven-years-old just
dismayed me even more — it's bad enough watching grown women being
tortured, I have no interest in potentially seeing it happen to little
As so often happens in
these films, Broken starts with a brief showing of the last victim.
A woman is kidnapped and buried alive. She somehow gets out of the
casket, only to be cold-cocked by the rifle butt of a shadowy man in a full
length coat. She comes to consciousness only to find that she has been
set up to some bizarre contraption, a noose around her neck, a razor blade
sewn inside her stomach, and she has undo the stitches and reach inside of
herself to get it out to cut the rope before hanging herself. When she
is able to do that and falls on the ground, her entrails dangling from her
gaping wound, the man appears again and holds the rifle to her head, asking if she
wants more, trying to convince her to shoot herself.
That's not scary.
That's sick. It's twisted and evil and demented. It is not
entertaining to me. By the way, the film is shot in an odd-herky-jerky
style which sometimes makes it seem like a poorly animated film rather than live
action, which just makes it even more disorienting.
Then we get to our main
character, a nice woman in her 30s with a little girl and who has just
gotten home from a surprisingly good blind date. We only have a few
minutes to bond with her, but she seems like a nice enough person — happy,
loving, a good friend, a good mother. Then the mom awakes in the
casket, bleeding, moaning, slamming her hands on the lid trying to get out.
And this is where I get
out. I'm not sitting through that shit all over again.
Now there are some people
out there — you know who you are — who find this fun viewing. If so
you might enjoy Broken. For the rest of us, it's just dismaying
evidence of the inhumanity and sickness of mankind.
Jay S. Jacobs
Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved.
Posted: October 10, 2007.