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A Serbian Film (Blu-ray Review)

How far is too far?  That’s often the question I find myself asking lately in life.  Besides medical or operation scenarios, scenes of graphic war/poverty or innocent animals/humans being tortured, there’s very little that truly offends me, but as luck may have it; my humanity was violated not once, but twice this month.  The first violation occurred with my theatrical viewing of The Human Centipede 2.  Despite my love for the first film, there’s truly no reason for this movie to exist.  It’s gross, wasteful and solely exists for shock value, which after 30 minutes of it, I grew very numb of.  The second, being a native of Ohio, happened just this week in a small town known as Zanesville.  More exotic animals than I care to quantify within this review fell to the lethal arms of the city’s policemen.  Rather than use tranquilizers, most of the animals were all euthanized just because their owner decided to cash out early, and ultimately his pride and joy in life, his exotic animal collection, felt the sharp end of the knife too. I guess it’s like they always say.   Suicide does have long-lasting repercussions that people ignorantly don’t consider before committing the act.  Now I understand the safety of the civilians living in this stricken area, but my heart bleeds and goes out to all those innocent animals slain who didn’t know any better.  It’s hard for me to process.  The taking of innocent life, whether it’s human or animal, is inexcusable in my value system I live by. And just when I thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse in my eyes/ears this month, today I was presented with an opportunity to once again be grossly offended.  And hey!  Why not?  It’s the law of three’s right?

Film  

Ah.  So here we are.  This Blu-ray review is based on a film so taboo that I feel dirty just saying the name.  So here we go.  We are gathered here today to talk about a film that my one friend said made Human Centipede 2 look like a Disney movie.  Quite honestly, I don’t think I would go that far, but he’s not completely that far off with his words either.  Don’t worry.  I will explain it in more detail.  However, I guess before we go any farther I will give every one this simple disclaimer.  This review/film is not for the weak of heart.  If you experience any heart related issues, you may want to look at Sean Ferguson’s Lion King review here, instead.  Just remember…you have been warned.  Once you look down this rabbit hole there’s no turning back.  You ready?

A Serbian Film is a 2010 Serbian horror film and the first feature film director by producer Srdan Spasojevic.  The movie stars Serbian actors Srdan Todorovic and Sergej Trifunovic.  And here’s where it gets brutal.  The film is very very very (notice I used this word three times) graphic.  It depicts scenes of rape, necrophilia, pedophilla (although thankfully this area is only implied) and much more.  So let’s stop and pause here for a moment and reflect upon what I just said.  Do you now understand why I feel so dirty even talking about this movie?  I hope so.  The subject matter in this film is very dark and disturbing.  I’m not naïve.  There’s no denying that most people will be turned off by this paragraph alone.  I don’t blame you.  If you feel the need to stop reading, for once in my life I’m not going to stop you.  Remember, Sean’s Lion King review is right here just in case you need it.  I know I did after I watched The Human Centipede 2.  I needed somewhere safe to run.  Heck!  Why don’t you just buy The Lion King on Blu-ray when you are over there checking his review out?

Subject matter aside, the film garnered much opposition since it’s debut last year.  Let me count the ways.  The Serbian state prosecution opened an investigation to find out if the film violates the law.  It was banned in both Spain and Norway.  Elsewhere, the film either saw a trimmed down 98-minute theatrical release (original runtime is 103 minutes) or was yanked by officials after only one screening.  Suddenly, this puts everything in perspective.  Not!  Adam Green’s Hatchet 2 was an old school slasher film.  This film is so much more than that, and yet it somehow lasted longer in theaters.  I really don’t get it MPAA, but I digress.

So I guess you have to ask yourself.  Why so violent?  Why would anyone in his or her right mind want to watch this?  Honestly…the simple answer is shock value.  However, unlike The Human Centipede 2, I will give A Serbian Film credit for one thing, it actually had …(gulp) a compelling story.  And remember ladies and gentlemen.  What’s the most important thing about a movie?  It’s not the visuals.  It’s not the 5.1 surround track that puts you in the middle of the action.  And it’s not how many special features they can cram on a disc’s home video release.  It’s the story!  So I would be lying if I said the film didn’t have a compelling story.  Besides the rude and distasteful subject matter, what’s more compelling than a man’s love for his family and his desire to do and subject himself to anything he has to in order to protect the ones he loves the most….his family?  It’s primal, people.  It really is.  That’s why you don’t see a score of a one or lower here.  Although I had to close my eyes more than once, I was drawn to the story because when it all comes down to it…you are rooting for the hero here no matter what he has done or has to do.  You want to see his family safe and sound.  There’s no denying, the film has this quality and achieves this no matter how graphic and disturbing the viewing may be for you.

Director Spasojevic responds to the film’s controversy by saying “This is a diary of our molestation by the Serbian government.  It’s about the monolithic power of leaders who hypnotize you to do the things you don’t want to do.  You have to feel the violence to know what it’s about.”  Again, I’m not naïve people.  I know by reading the quote I just provided you that none of this will make sense.  That’s where viewing this film because a necessity.  Because after you take it all in and have a few hours to digest what you just heinously saw, you can grasp the art behind his words.  It’s sad, but very true.

A Serbian Film tells the tale of Milos.  He’s a down-on-his-luck, but damn does he have a fine wife, p0rn star who agrees to participate in an “art” film like none other for a paycheck that will forever take care of his family.  How could he possibly say no?  Even his wife was for him doing it despite the sexual intercourse he would once again be engaging in.  Talk about a supportive wife, huh?  It’s not too long before he realizes that he has been drafted and suckered into the sick world of a snuff film with themes I don’t even want to repeat again.  The snuff film’s director, Vukmir, and his henchman will stop at nothing to complete their sick and twisted vision.  In order to escape the cinematic hell his life has become and to save his family’s life, Milos must risk it all.  He must sacrifice everything.  Just how far will he or does he go?  That my friend is what makes this film so shocking.  Let’s just say this.  After watching every feasible horror film out there, I thought I seen it all.  I thought I seen every which way there is to gruesomely kill a person.  I was wrong.  A Serbian Film taught me a new way and yes, that was one of the moments I had to look away from the screen during.  Wow!  I might never get that sick image out of my head.

So sure, there’s a lot more than meets the eye here that I’m not telling you about.  You have probably all heard and read about the scene where Milos teaches his young 5-year old boy how to masturbate.  He even goes as far as to tell him it’s better to do at night.  Laugh out loud.  But what did it in for me was the graphic nudity.  I remember doing a review once for a film called Zombie Strippers.  I remember saying how weird it was when you saw someone in clothes because you have become so desensitized to the onscreen nudity throughout.  Well, it’s the same principle here, but even many more notches above.  I was texting my friend down in Florida and kicking her arse in Words With Friends while watching this and I told her that I have never seen a movie more sexually depicting than this one.  I’m pretty sure I have seen things that violate what can be shown in a U.S. filmed movie.  Be prepared, I never use the word “graphic” unless I truly mean it.  And I truly mean it here!

Video  

I hate to say it, but the video here is pristine.  Looking past the film’s ugly and brutally obscene onscreen depictions, the image quality was absolutely “beautiful.”  I feel disgusting just saying that word in this very same review, but it’s the truth.  Besides the muted color palette, you would be hard pressed to find that much fault with this AVC MPEG-4 video codec presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio.  Want to know why this film looks so damn remarkable?  Well it’s because it was shot on a digital RED camera, but of course.   It’s probably because of the image’s extreme sharpness that this film looks even more repulsive and disgusting to viewers.  Unlike The Human Centipede 2, this presentation isn’t shown in black & white.  It’s in blood red.  And there’s lots of it.  Remember?  I warned you in paragraph two above.  All the skin tones look normal despite the intention desaturation and filters the RED cameras deploy throughout.  It’s like how KISS starts off every concert of theirs.  The announcer always says, “You wanted the best, you got the best.”  Enjoy sickos!

Audio  

Anyone that knows me well knows that I hate using the following saying.  It is what it is.  You don’t have much to work with here in this department.  Invincible Pictures brings A Serbian Film to the Blu-ray format with only a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix.  Why the UK disc gets a 5.1 surround mix, I have no idea.  Regardless, the track is still powerful here.  Ambient effects play out nice while the film’s dialogue is always loud, clear and intelligible throughout (albeit you still have to read the subtitles).  And best of all, the film’s score will masterfully put you in a trance.   For about an hour after my viewing, all I heard was the film’s hypnotizing score ricocheting around in my restrictive skull cavity.  You can’t beat that with a stick!  I love it.  So despite the 2.0 mix, I’m still ranking this department slightly higher than usual.  It’s euphoric!

Special Features  

Gerard Iribe loves it when we get a chance to do this in a review.  The Special Features department gets the big goose egg for having nothing to offer here.  Now keep in mind, this film does have an unrated Digital Copy, but it is not the kind that plays nicely with iTunes or Windows Media Player.  Unfortunately, the film’s Digital Copy is only accessible and playable through a FlixFling account.  Boo!

Final Thoughts  

And here’s the part of the review I have been cringing writing about for the past hour.  Do I tell you to buy this or not?  Does my opinion matter to you?  Am I a sicko if I do tell you to buy it?  Am I a p#ssy, as Gerard says, if I don’t?  I guess it all comes down to shock value.  There are many family related revenge films out there worth watching, but none of them cross the line like A Serbian Film does.  Does that make it a necessity to watch it for this extreme reason?  I shake my head maybe so.  If you are in it for the shock value, then by all means…HAVE AT IT!  If anything I said above repulses you, then buy this.  For what it’s worth, besides the film’s content, there’s also more controversy with this U.S. Blu-ray release.  There’s the big question as to whether or not this is truly the “uncut” version of the film.  The box art bills the film as 103 minutes long, but the disc’s actual runtime clocks in just under 102 minutes.  Is something missing?  As luck would have it, I don’t need to know.  But maybe you do?  Regardless, the film is just a click away from your doorstep.  Pre-order your copy today at Amazon’s everyday lowest price!

A Serbian Film releases on Blu-ray Tuesday, October 25th!

 

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

7 Responses to “A Serbian Film (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Gerard Iribe

    Damn good review, Brian.

  2. Brian White

    Darn good comment, Gerard!

  3. Sean Ferguson

    I second Brian’s suggestion! Watch The Lion King!

  4. Brian White

    I bought it a few weeks back as a chaser to THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE 2, but the music in this one invigorated me to the point where Elton John would simply push me over the top. LOL

  5. Kori Kemerer

    Awesome review! Yes I will be getting this one!

  6. Gregg

    I don’t know if the title is the best representation for the movie’s content.

  7. Matt Goodman

    THIS FILM WAS F***** UP BEYOND REPAIR