on October 26, 2003
This movie is not for the timid. Low budget assault on your sense of right and wrong. In the footsteps of "I Spit On Your Grave" it takes you one step further into the mind of true madness. The sound quality rises and falls creating hushed converstaions (turn it up) to loud screams (turn it down) so real it is sure to get the neighbors dialing 911. If you are not offended by extremely realistic bloody rape scenes then give this one a look.
As with Ice From The Sun, Stanze puts it all on the screen. The plot here is simple but executed with a real quality sure to offend anyone. Ths acting here is excellent, but I wonder how much is acting (except by "Leonard" played by the departed Tommy Biondo) and how much is reacting to the sequences they are a part of. "True horror is simply what one human being can do to another"
on October 27, 2002
I first read a review about 'Scrapbook' in Rue Morgue magazine. After getting up the guts to finally buy it, I can say the hype from the article as well as the reviews on various websites does not prepare you for what you are about to watch. This is a tough film to look at. That being said, it is a better than average horror movie. All the credit in the world belongs to Tommy Biondo and Emily Haack for really going all out. The realistic mock-documentary feel to the movie makes the brutality that much more disturbing. As a lifelong fan and collector of all kinds of horror movies, I enjoy and appreciate when a movie is capable of shocking me. 'Scrapbook' did it. It is a very well done movie worthy of a place in any true horror fan's library.
on January 16, 2004
SCRAPBOOK seems to be the result of intelligent filmmakers making a movie in a situation where someone is simply never saying "no" to them. I'm not saying this is a bad thing at all, but one must be responsible to it. The makers of SCRAPBOOK are somewhat responsible, in that the subject matter is treated with seriousness. But, mostly, it feels like by-the-numbers exploitation.
The acting is merely okay. In fact, it is only believable when the actors are screaming, or not speaking at all. The tension is palpable then and only then. The rest of the acting feels phony, making the movie almost silly and unreasonably upsetting.
The movie is bold in its depiction of nudity, violence and sex. It often goes over the top, and rightly so. But the technique betrays the subject matter many times. Constant dissolves and whatnot get in the way of simply telling a straight story. Also, sometimes the camerawork is raw, gritty, and documentary like. Other times, it has an arthouse, picturesque feel. Pick one or the other and be consistent.
A lot of what you've heard about the film is true. It's raw. It's explicit. All of that. However, the filmmakers seem to undercut themselves often simply because they still have a lot to learn about telling a story.
An interesting and affecting movie with powerful (yet not very well acted) performances that pushes many boundaries and is the most visceral thing I've seen in a while. But it doesn't seem to have a soul. What I mean is: I didn't care whether anyone in the film lived or died, as the whole thing seemed a variety of setpieces for "provocative" scenes. The characters are two-dimensional. The killer is an amalgamal cliche, with a silly freudian flashback "explaining" his current behaviour. The victim has no personality or gravitas. She is, simply, "the victim." And her later motivations seem awkward and silly (yet entertaining) as she attempts escape.
A movie that is more about shock and serial killer movies, than it is about a serial killer.
But recommended in its explicitness.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you want to see great, experimental filmmaking that tells a story and is visually amazing, watch Stanze's previous effort "ICE FROM THE SUN".