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Reel Advice: Catacombs

By Steve Anderson Mar 21, 2008, 16:00 GMT

Reel Advice: Catacombs

CATACOMBS is the story of a young woman on her first visit out of the country. While in Paris, she is taken to an underground party in the Catacombs, a labyrinth of over 200 miles of 14th Century limestone tunnels under the Left Bank of the city, lined with the remains of 7 million people. When she is separated from her friends and becomes convinced that someone or something is ...more

Another stinker from the producers of Saw, folks...let's wade right into this sub-sewer and see what we've got.

Basically, a young woman goes to Paris for the first time and winds up at a party in the Catacombs, a labyrinthine mass of burial chambers and assorted morbid French inscriptions.  After she becomes separated from the rest of the party, she finds herself believing a horror story told earlier about a goat-masked monster of a man who kills people in a grotesque and horrifying fashion.

There are so many things wrong with Catacombs, even from the earliest beginning, that it's very, very hard to like it.  The Twisted Pictures apparent philosophy of "casual brutality for casual brutality's sake" is well in place and in full swing even from the first five minutes.

And worse yet, when it's not being gratuitously graphic it's being unsettlingly pedantic.  People drink ABSINTHE, for crying out loud.  Who drinks fucking ABSINTHE any more?  Yeah, sure, it was all the rage back when Poe was still writing but damn, this is just ridiculous.  Discussions of philosophy will also abound, and they're wildly out of place.

Oh, and the absolutely godawful cinematography--with all the jump cuts and non-sequiturs and constant blood-spraying ridiculousness that seem to be more and more the hallmarks of Twisted Pictures--is also back in full display.  Frequently, the movie will be lit by flashing lights so intense you'll think Catacombs is trying to be a replacement for the Litton Light Test. 

Before the first third of the movie is over you'll be both revolted AND bored.  Either by itself is bad enough--both at once is downright unthinkable. The second third, sadly, will not get much better.  Though there will be plenty of blood and screaming and running around in corridors that all look vaguely similar, this won't translate into much fun for the viewers.

The ending is too much of a Saw knockoff to believe without seeing it.  The sheer precision of it is just astonishing.  If they ripped it off any harder someone would say "Game over" before the credits rolled. It's that bad.

The special features include a making-of featurette, commentaries, English and Spanish subtitles, audio options, and trailers for "The Eye", "Saw IV", "Wristcutters: A Love Story", "Killer Pad", "Born Killers", "Boy Eats Girl", and a commercial for Fearnet.com.  Which, parenthetically, is one of the scariest things on the disk. 

It's a pretty well-made commercial--chances are you've seen it.  It's the one with the little girl with the screwed-up face in the apartment where things go flying around.

All in all, this was a pretty lousy foray from the guys who brought you Saw, and if this is the kind of crap they're churning out these days then they can count me out of any future forays.

Catacombs is now available at Amazon and AmazonUK. Visit the DVD database for more information.

Check out the Video Store Guy on his own ever-lovin' website.  Featuring never before seen pieces exclusive to Reel Advice! (reel.panel2panel.com)



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Catacombs

CATACOMBS is the story of a young woman on her first visit out of the country. While in Paris, she is taken to an underground party in the Catacombs, a ...more

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