Directed by: Pete Jacelone
Written by: Paul Quintero & Trevor Wright
Starring: Raine Brown, Misty Mundae, Dustin Kerns & Marv Blauvelt
Reviewed by: Brett H.
ďDo you think Adam knows about all those times behind the school? That train they used to run on you?Ē
Sexuality has been used in horror since the beginning of the genre, but only in later years did filmmakers have the freedom to explore its more disturbing side ala Lucio Fulciís New York Ripper, a perfect example of a sleazy, well thought-out film that has gotten misunderstood over the years. With its depictions of nasty, immoral sex acts; viewers have been split on its artfulness; trash or panache? Well, Iíve always thought that Fulci made a twisted movie as a reaction to the public outcry against horror, and did it in such a way that made the sex scenes a sort of dark fantasy viewers couldnít ignore and would have to admit the eroticism in the sleaze and truth. So, how does this fit into Sculpture? Youíll probably figure out about half way through the next paragraph.
Having met her brother, Adam (Dustin Kerns) at her estranged fatherís funeral, Ashley (Raine Brown) decides to stay in the town she grew up in and help run the family gym while furthering her art career. We learn that Ashleyís father was a control freak who beat his artist wife and abused Ashley physically and sexually as well. At the gym, she takes a shine to a musclehead and her brother is quick to put a stop to anyone messing around with his sister. The relationship between the two is awkward to say the least, and something doesnít quite add up. The troubled Ashley begins to break down as she flashes back to her abusive past and begins to remember twisted moments she had forgotten and takes to killing the staff at the gym to create a sculpture of the perfect man.
Sculpture is a very uncomfortable film to watch. Unlike Fulciís vision, Sculpture makes no bones about showing sexual violence that is anything but stimulating. While not pornographic, scenes of incest, molestation and domestic abuse are not easy to take and they do serve a purpose; Ashley is getting her revenge against the gender that took so much from her. However, the film is very hard to sit through because itís not pleasant in the least and isnít so much a reflection in oneself and the thoughts that cross their minds that are a little on the nasty side. This subject matter is plain and disgusting no matter how you look at it. A sort of feminist Bucket of Blood meets I Spit on Your Grave, Sculpture sometimes makes you wonder why youíre watching it in the first place.
Thatís not to say the subject matter isnít relevant or not worthy of artistic interpretation, but a film such as this could only cater to the crazier side of the audience and really, by the time she gets a sort of pseudo revenge, youíre not cheering her on because itís not that type of movie. Itís very much a drama for the opening half and then moves onto hellacious, gory horror to close off. The murders are all different in a minimalist way (chopping off this, stabbing of that), but become repetitive as the movie goes on, so only those on board at this point would be gorehounds not really worrying about the subject of the film to begin with. This is not to say this art is bad, but itís kind of like Diary of a Sex Offender that you wonder just who could make it through a film like this. Thankfully, it works much better on a whole and feels less exploitive than Diary.
ďAll rightĒ would be the word to use to describe most every aspect of the film; the acting, cinematography and script all are passable. The DVD from Camp Motion Pictures is a loaded affair, with multiple featurettes (one is 20 minutes long, so thereís a lot of meat here), deleted scenes, a couple shorts, interviews and good 16 x 9 picture with a 5.1 soundtrack to boot. I donít want to be too hard on Sculpture, because it definitely has its moments and is so disturbing itíd make Walter Paisley from A Bucket of Blood squirm. Yet, I think certain moments are so touchy they could just as easily be talked about or cut away from and left to the imagination and would work just as well. Iíd like to repeat, itís not pornographic and in theory, the filmmakerís goal of leaving a viewer brutally unsettled is achieved. Letís put it this way, Sister of Ursula was controversial because of vaginal stabbings and it was the primary reason the film gets its scummy reputation which has turned people off by default. The same thing happens in Sculpture, and I donít even mention it until the last paragraph. Check it out if you dare. Rent it!
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