That's all I could think of while struggling to get to the end of this mess.
Movie starts with several random prisoners in what looks like a medieval type of dungeon. Simple steel cages with straw for bedding. One of the prisoners finds a white sash tied to the bars of his cell which apparently means that he has a chance of being set free if he can pass some kind of test.
The test is a sadistic torture sequence at the hands of what are eerily represented as Eastern European prison guards. After they torture him, they let him run off to see if he can escape with a rabid human let loose after him. As it turns out he wasn't fast enough, so the result is they catch him again and rip all his teeth out with pliers before returning him to his cell perhaps to bleed to death as from memory that was his last appearance. Charming stuff.
Through various flashback sequences we learn that all these prisoners are there as the result of very violent crimes they committed. One day they notice a new prisoner but none of them saw her arrive and she's certainly not like any prisoner they have seen before. She arouses the male prisoners and gets under the skin of the female prisoners, and they start referring to her as a witch.
As the movie progresses, it starts to become clear that this new inmate is not what she seems. A female prisoner manages to throw a blade at her getting her in the neck but she doesn't die, and she seems to know too much about everybody else there. Another prisoner who appears to be a trustee, is doing his rounds and collecting the meal spoons. He starts to go nuts when he realises one is missing and via another flashback this guy, who's called "spooney", loves to gouge out women's eyes with large spoons and then eat them.
The whole thing just statically jumps from one mindless brutal scene to the next as this new girl kills one of the prison guards with her bare hands and kills one of the male inmates after getting frisky with him for no other reason other than wanting his soul. It then starts to become clear what this is all about.
Turns out this really isn't a prison as such, it's purgatory, so basically they have a chance to redeem themselves and have their souls end up in a positive afterlife or their souls are collected and they are forever damned. Some of the prisoners who end up killed, (again, I guess), wake up in their cell feeling empty. In the cell opposite is a blackened version of them with glowing eyes and this is supposed to represent their black souls. A blind medieval monk explains to them what they are there for and that they are not to re-bond with their souls. 2 female prisoners do just that anyway, they try to escape, are re-captured and killed for their trouble.
One of the prisoners manages to redeem himself by praying to god for forgiveness just prior to being killed by another prisoner, so apparently his soul is lost to them forever which manages to upset the witch just a tad, but with everyone else dead and their souls now pretty much useless it's a kind of "c'est la vie" moment as more souls are on their way soon.
To say that I hated this movie is an understatement. I didn't know much about this when I picked it up and thought that the movie would head in a different direction than what it did. This isn't well written or well acted and it's nothing more than a sick snuff film. Violence and brutality just for the sake of it isn't entertainment. OK, for the sake of argument, these people are in prison or purgatory for committing very violet crimes and Hell is probably where they need to end up, but this is just trash. The source material is amazing and there is so much you could do with a tale of purgatory, but this was just a cheap, nasty flick that didn't the need copious amounts of gore and suffering to drive home a point. It's the same reason I hated the Saw and Hostel movies, the story and characters end up taking a back seat to the brutality as the makers of such rubbish believe that excessive violence will cover up any holes in the acting, writing or the plot.
The fact that Fangoria writes positively about this movie highlights just how far they have fallen from endorsing good horror movies, and will now praise anything that has bucket loads of blood whether it makes any sense or not. Give this a total miss.
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