Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Curse of the Crows (2013)

Five prisoners are held in a dank prison, where they await sentencing from a Judge they have never seen.  Only three fates are possible: imprisonment without hope of release; death; or pardon at the cost of a sacrifice.  "Maybe they'll only take a finger; maybe a hand ... or both hands." we're told.

The movie pretty soon makes it clear that these folks deserve to be incarcerated, as they are all murderers of one stripe or another.  It also hints very broadly that this is no mundane place of punishment.  None of the inmates remember how they came to the prison, for instance.  Plus three of them remember killing a woman, and the victim is played by the same actor in every case.  This could just be a cost-cutting measure, of course, but no attempt is made to hide it in the film, so I think it is meant to be noticed.

The final and most obvious hint is there's the newcomer among them, a sixth cellmate who quickly demonstrates supernatural abilities such as telekinesis.  Such powers should of course let her escape without much difficulty, but she seems to have no interest in doing so. It's hardly a surprise that the original group quickly come to suspect that she is somehow associated with the prison, and may even be the Judge herself.

So the first thing to point out about this movie; other than it's alternate title is Wrath of the Crows; is that it likes itself some gore and brutality.  I wouldn't call it outright torture porn, but if you're squeamish about such stuff, you should probably stay away.

The second thing to point out is that feels like a film where the writers genuinely wanted to engage with themes of sin, punishment and redemption but weren't really up to the task of clearly articulating what it was they wanted to say or of integrating it into the gorefest they were otherwise delivering.  It ultimately ends up coming across as rather muddled.

I could only really recommend this one for ardent fans of B-movie scream queens Debbie Rochon and Tiffany Shepis, both of whom have major roles.

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