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Piercing (Movie Review)

Piercing (Movie Review)
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PLOT: After kissing his wife and baby goodbye for a seemingly normal business trip, Reed checks himself into a hotel room to accomplish something he's always dreamed of: the perfect murder. As his sinister plans unfold, he soon realizes he might be in over his head with a mysteriously unhinged call girl named Jackie.

REVIEW: Being a big fan of Nicolas Pesce's THE EYES OF MY MOTHER, the director made my list of up and coming horror directors to keep an eye on. I was excited when I heard the man had been tapped to helm the upcoming reboot of THE GRUDGE starring Lyn Shaye. But then I heard word that the man has another movie in the pipeline set to hit before GRUDGE. This is that movie. It's called PIERCING (WATCH IT HERE)and it stars Mia Wasikowska and Christopher Abbott. The movie kicks off the right way with some retro-style VHS opening logos. Sure the movie doesn't adopt this style (sans its killer opening credits) but the opening credits put a smile on my face and let me know that I was in good hands from the get-go. They reminded me of the Tokyo scenes from Tarantino's KILL BILL in spades. Does the rest of the movie hold up to the stylish promise of the opening credits? Let's find out!

Stylish opening credits aside, from there we meet our "hero" in this tale Reed played by Christopher Abbot. The man sets himself up as a super creeper from the word go as we meet him debating whether or not to stab his infant baby to death with what looked to be a metal sewing needle. It's a creepy and disturbing beginning to be sure. It's not long before the newborn starts talking to Abbot in the voice of a grown man and then we know things are going to be wicked. Abbot decides he has a bloodlust inside of him and if he ever plans to have a happy life with his wife and his newborn baby, he's going to have to feed the beast as it were. He books a hotel room and calls up a prostitute. This should be easy, right? Think again. 

To get into what happens once the two are locked in the hotel room together would be a disservice to you. This is one of those movies that needs to be viewed knowing as little as possible about the plot before going in. So being that we're sidestepping the plot specifics, let's go ahead and move on to the acting on display. Abbot is an actor I'm not that familiar with. I watched a few episodes of THE SINNER which he co-starred in with Jessica Biel, but that series didn't grab my interest so I can't speak too much on my thoughts of the man before peeping this flick. But having seen this movie now I can say that Abbot is a winning actor and will no doubt be a star one of these days. And speaking of stars, I am familiar with Mia Wasikowska from films such as Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and especially STOKER co-starring Nicole Kidman. Wasikowska rarely disappoints and this movie is no different. However, let's just say she ain't playing wholesome little Alice going down the rabbit hole here. She's a bit... darker in this movie. 

As for the writing of the movie, Pesce's script is based on the book by Ryu Murakami. I haven't read the book but I'm thinking I might seek it out now that I've seen the film. The movie is a mindfuck which never quite lets us know what's real and what's merely happening in Abbott's crazy-ass mind. I dig flicks like this so I was loving the strange David Lynch moments the movie boasts here and there. In fact, this really seems like a movie that David Lynch would have directed had he got his hands on the book first. Tag to that, the movie sports a healthy helping of S&M. Hell, maybe this is a movie that David Cronenberg would have directed had he got his hands on the book first. As for the technical achievements, the cinematography is top notch and colorful as all hell. It's super stylish and reminiscent of Tarantino's KILL BILL. Here we get split screens and slick angles galore, that all lead to some twisted full on trip-out visuals. Oh, and let's not forget to point out this juicy bit of trivia for all you fellow Giallo fans out there, the movie uses both the Goblin scores from Dario Argento's PROFONDO ROSSO aka DEEP RED and TENEBRE. Pretty cool, huh? It works well in the movie don't worry.

But for all of the horror going on here, there is a strange and sweet undercurrent as well, like this is all just a metaphor for losing your virginity and the two characters are just teens trying to figure their way around each other. As I said, it's sweet and I don't think that's by mistake. It's like watching two little kids play adults. Granted these are two severely fucked up kids, but all the same, the performances are almost childlike and that made the movie all the better in my eyes. Had these two actors been Rob Zombie style trailer trash who cuss like... well like Rob Zombie characters and looked like the just left Bike Week, maybe this movie wouldn't have had the impact that it did. Actually, the fact that the movie uses miniatures for its exterior shots of the city, I'm thinking a whole article could be written on this film really being played out in the minds of two twisted kids playing (serial killer) house. 

Overall, the film is about as good as I could have hoped. Abbott and Wasikowska give two terrifically twisted (and oddly child-like) performances and Pesce continues to display style for days albeit that this time the film is color wall-to-wall as opposed to THE EYES OF MY MOTHER which was shot in glorious black and white. But beware those without a strong stomach, things get nasty in this film. And disturbing. But if you can handle some disturbing content with gore to match, I think you'll be right at home giving PIERCING its day in court. It really is a film that feels like a mixture of two of our beloved genre's top David's - David Lynch and David Cronenberg. And if you enjoy the films of Cronenberg and Lynch - and Pesce's own THE EYES OF MY MOTHER -  I think you'll dig this as well, as it more than establishes Pesce as an up and coming horror director to KEEP your eye on. 

I need to watch this again ASAP.

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