Friday, May 13, 2011

Sweatshop (2009)

Sex, Drugs, and Mutilation...It's All the Rave

While I've never done ecstasy or put a glow stick in my mouth (aw, who am I kidding, I did that last week), I have a small appreciation for rave culture. Unfortunately, most of the rave kids these days are shallow little underage fuckheads who think taking a handful of uppers and downers will get them laid when they're not discussing how "the bass needs to be thus high to enhance the maximum pleasure of this massage", which is kind of a downer in its own. The upside is that in Stacy Davidson's Sweatshop, you get the opportunity to watch the aforementioned fuckheads get brutalized with a giant anvil-hammer. I wonder if that feels any better on X?

A group of friends decide to throw an impromptu rave in an abandoned sweatshop and arrive late at night to set up their equipment. As soon as they walk in the door and a whiny chick voice tries extremely hard not to force the line "Where's the disco ball, yo?!", you're probably thinking you're in for a long night. Though I'm sure the actors in this film are completely likable people, the characters they play are not. Nearly every character is devoid of a true identity as they blend into one clichéd raver with wild hair, piercings, spooky contact lenses, and an outfit made of fishnets and leather.

Again, this worried me, but as soon as I realized they were each in for a brutal demise, I was put at ease. Said demise comes in the form of a giant hand crafted sledgehammer, made from thick pipe fastened to a massive anvil; the weapon of choice for our hulking party crasher only known as "The Beast". Along with his ghoulettes, which are reminiscent of Lamberto Bava's Demons, they terrorize the ravers in what can only be best described by the lyrics to Cannibal Corpse's "Hammer Smashed Face":

Brutality now becomes my appetite
Violence is now a way of life
The sledge my tool to torture
As it pounds down on your forehead

Eyes bulging from their sockets

With every swing of my mallet
I smash your fucking head in, until brains seep in
through the cracks, blood does leak
distorted beauty, catastrophe
Steaming slop, splattered all over me 

Yep. Sounds about right.

 I was a bit nervous going into Sweatshop, namely due to the lack of identifiable characters and some pretty weak dialogue ("The only cream I ice cream"), but once the violence kicked in, I was a happy camper. Bodies are smashed in half and grounded into meat, fingers are severed, and heads are smashed into pulp; everything a growing gorehound needs.

Sexual proclivity also reigns supreme, though you may be disgusted by the fact that a fat, balding, hairy hick gets the most action in this film. The chicks in the film, though dressed beyond normal recognition, are pretty damn sexy and make for great eye candy throughout the film (alive or dead). There's also the obligatory token black friend, who is also gay, which means he never stood a chance against The Beast in the first place, poor thing.

This assclown gets the most tail in Sweatshop
Sweatshop's strongest suit is its special effects department. The gore may fall into b-horror but it also looks real enough to cringe those who are accustomed to Hollywood fare like Hostel and Saw. Be it CGI or prosthetic, the kills come swiftly and gruesomely, leaving little time for nitpickers to decipher the difference. The ghoulettes also display some fiercely ugly mugs that make you wonder if their beautifully horrid FX-work took up a good chunk of the budget.

With enough nudity and gore to sate the classiest of horror fans, Sweatshop ultimately provides despite its flaws. While this film may not be on the top of the slasher list, I would welcome a return of The Beast with open arms, provided that he bludgeon a group of people I could actually relate to and feel sympathy for. With very little explained, a prequel would also make a great followup project for those audience members who want to know when The Beast and his ghoulettes made their home in the sweatshop and what the hell they do in their spare time. Making wardrobe for the cast? I is a sweatshop.

3/5 Stars

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