13 April 2009 | Mr_Censored
A solid cast can't save weak story-telling and bad film-making.
Kip Pardue, Bijou Phillips, Crispin Glover, Brad Dourif and The Suicide Girls (!) star in the 2007 remake of "The Wizard Of Gore" as directed by Jeremy Kasten. While the box-art seems enticing – an intense Glover beckons you to join him amidst scantily clad females – the movie itself is rather flat and self-indulgent. Glover plays Motag The Magnificent, a bizarre magician who is fond of dismembering and torturing his volunteers to horrified audiences on a nightly basis. It's all fun and games in the crowd's eye, as each would-be victim emerges unharmed. However, when a young reporter by the name of Edmund Bigelow (Pardue) catches onto some crazy coincidences – namely, the participants turning up dead the next day in a fashion similar to their staged fate – the line between his reality and Montag's stage-show is blurred. Is Bigelow somehow responsible for their fates? Is Montag playing a game with him that he doesn't know about? Or is it all just a side-effect of some mind-expanding drugs?
Kasten (whose previous credits are as thin as the movie's plot itself) tries to juice up a weak story with a bit of visual flare, but unfortunately wacky camera angles and color filters can't hide the lack of substance. The film is almost redeemed by its strong cast, though. Brad Dourif plays a creep well, and it serves his role appropriately. Following up "Hostel II," Bijou Phillips turns in one of her more likable roles, but it is Glover who truly steals the show. With his hilariously over-sized codpiece and Conan O'Brien-from-Hell hairstyle, it's hard to imagine he didn't know he was involved in a train-wreck, but he makes the best of things, hamming it up and his scenes are the best the film gets. Genre fans will appreciate some of the creative death scenes, although, the way they are presented (with some truly obvious and offensive CGI) kills any effectiveness whatsoever. The biggest problem, though, is the air of self-importance this film carries, especially considering how weak the story is. The bad attempt at mind-games – especially in the final act – kills any sense of enjoyment and strips the movie of at least earning the label of "enjoyable B-movie." Too pretentious for its own good and too nonsensical for what it attempts, "The Wizard Of Gore" is a messy failure, at best.
At one point – somewhere in the final act – my wife turned to me and asked me if I "get this movie." The answer was "I think so," but the real question should have been "Are you enjoying it?" to which I would have answered a solid "no." "The Wizard Of Gore" doesn't have much to offer. It may confuse you into thinking it is actually a smart movie, but nothing could be further from the truth. The film is too amateurish to be convincing (think late-night HBO/Cinemax fare) and too pretentious to be enjoyed on the most basic level. I personally can't comment on how it compares to the original movie as I've never seen it, but that is irrelevant, since the movie – on its own merits – is one sorry piece of work.