19 June 2015 | MartinHafer
Parts of this are like watching torture porn.
"Pernicious" is a bad film in many ways. However, I cannot just dismiss it because it also, at times, shows a lot of promise-- especially since the director/writer, James Cullen Bressack, is so young and seems to have potential. It's a shame, with a bit of retooling it could be an exceptional horror story.
The film is about three incredibly smokin' hot women who inexplicably land in Thailand to work with underprivileged children!! I say inexplicably because the three look and act just like they are in a Spring Break sex romp and show many of the classic stereotypes. True to the types, they are mostly concerned with getting drunk and getting laid...which makes the entire working to teach poor children angle totally laughable. Had the film simply had them be three hot and terribly spoiled ladies (which they were) but without the silly children aspect, it sure would have made a lot more sense! As it was, this is how the movie started and I was immediately turned off.
What came next was also terrible. The three pick up three sleazy guys and it appears that the film is going to be a nudie picture. Surprisingly, it doesn't go there at all--and what follows is just god-awful. The three ladies torture and murder the men. This alone is not the problem--it did work with the plot that follows. But the scenes were often way too vivid and just plain nasty. I don't enjoy seeing folks' teeth getting knocked out nor their eyes shoved into their mouths! Call me a prude if you like, but at the very least, this sort of thing sure seems to lack subtlety!!
Had I not been asked to review the film, I am sure I would have stopped watching long before all this. Amazingly, however, despite thoroughly hating the film so far, the last half actually shocked me because it was quite good. The sense of horror and foreboding in the film was excellent and the back story about the Kumari* was weird but unique. I almost wish they'd redo parts of the first half of the film and then release it--making the ladies just stupid and vacuous instead of social workers as well as cutting a few of the more revolting torture scenes. It wasn't even because all the killing was that believable--but it was just unnecessary-- especially when the film otherwise did a great job of setting the mood without all the over the top gore.
*If you care, the Kumari is a real sort of thing from Buddhism but is from Nepal and does NOT involve murder and gore. Look it up sometime if you are curious.