I love a good horror film, and I don't often see good ones these days. So many horror films have jumped on the "torture porn" bandwagon, and have replaced suspense, tension, and an exploration of the darkest parts of human nature with outrageous gory stunts being performed on half-baked characters (Yes, makers of the "Saw" franchise, I'm talking to you!)
"Stoic" is a horror film in the truest sense of the word, because it is a truly horrifying depiction of the darkest, sickest, most cruel and cowardly aspects of human nature. Four petty criminals (not murderers or rapists, but in jail for minor drug offenses, robbery, etc) sit alone in a cell, going about their normal routine of shooting the breeze and playing cards. When one of the foursome places a bet that involves the cost of an unpleasant act (the eating of some toothpaste) and then refuses to follow through, it sets in motion a series of acts which begin as unpleasant, and quickly escalate into abuse, beatings, torture, rape, and murder.
The film does a good job of making the series of events seem believable. The young men are all caged, angry, scared, and, most of all, determined to maintain their reputations as tough and a part of the group. Whenever any of the characters display a slight sense of apprehension or conscience, the other characters are quick to instill in them the fear of the consequences of going against the pack. The film cuts from the showing of the events that led up to the death of the victim with interviews with the three perpetrators following the crime. Ultimately, each of the characters is processing the events in a different way, which vary from cold detachment, complete denial, and sniveling regret.
Director Uwe Boll is about to release a film about Auschwitz. "Stoic" was probably good exercise for that film, since it depicts a microcosm of the kind of group psychosis which led to the events in Nazi Germany.