Monday, 10 November 2014

Euro - Horror Vaction: Dard Divorce (2007)

Dard Divorce (2007)
Director: Olaf Ittenbach
Starring: Martina Ittenbach, Daryl Jackson, and Jaymes Butler
Running Time: 87 min

I've only seen one other film by German director Olaf Ittenbach and although it was probably one of the worse scripted movies I've ever seen, it was also one of the goriest nastiest funniest films as well.  Given "Premutos" was one of his first films and made a decade earlier, I'm hoping ten years in the biz has given Ittenbach a bit of time to create better looking movies with better storylines, while still keeping all that awesome gore intact.  Fingers crossed.

  Nathalie Stein is a mother, divorce attorney and an alcoholic going through a messy divorce with her husband, Tim.  She had her first child, Elisabeth, who is how 13, when she was 14 and her son, Jeremy 10 years later. Which if you do the math makes him 3, but he seems to be 8?  These bad math skills are probably one of the factors why Tim lost his restaurant franchise and is now working as a dishwasher at one of his former restaurants.  This must be one of the reasons, I think, why Nathalie is divorcing Tim and taking what money he has left and making it so he'll never see his kids again but they don't really explain why she is being so harsh.
  Anyway one afternoon, Tim picks up the kids for his weekend visit and Nathalie reminds Tim and the kids that this is probably the last time that he'll see them.  They say goodbye and she goes to meet her lover.  When she returns, the family dog is missing but she can hear it barking in the cornfields in their yard.(?)  She quickly calls for the dog, but the barking ends with an eerie yelp and Nathalie rushes into the house.  Inside she finds a note that says "Dard" in blood and calls the police.  The police arrive and say they can't do anything for her but to stay in touch if the situation escalates.
  The next day, she feels unusually sorry for Tim and makes plans with him and the kids to have dinner.  When they don't arrive at the restaurant, she goes home and finds Tim stabbed in the gut and dying on her deck.  She asks about the kids but in his dying breathe, he mentions something about the dog and the cornfield.  The police arrive at her house and Detective James Gates cannot find Tim's body out on the deck because it has disappeared.  She tries to explain that Tim was just here but Gates doesn't want to hear anything because he thinks that Nathalie is being paranoid because of the "Dard" note.  Later on another police officer arrives to put a tracer on the phone but after he puts the tracer on, he beats up Nathalie and demands that she tells him where his money and drugs are. What?
  In an incredibly graphic flashback scene, the fake police officer explains that her husband Tim killed everybody at a drug deal and stole all the money and "cokes" or cocaine.  Then with another very gratuitous flashback, he also tells her that he has killed one of her children and she and her daughter are next, if she doesn't tell him where Tim is and the money and "cokes".  Will she be able to tell this man the information he needs so she and her daughter's will survive or is there something else going on that is more dangerous than she could ever imagine?

  I am really surprised, the production value of this film is way better than I expected.  It actually looks like a film and there is a somewhat cohesive story.  Writer/Director Olaf Ittenbach (Beyond The Limits, Legion of the Dead) has the makings of a very inventive and interesting crime/horror/thriller here but a lot of it fails due to bad storytelling.  The main character Nathalie is not likeable and there is no justifiable explanation why she is being so cruel to her husband in the divorce. So when bad things start happening to her, people are happy or at least I was.  Also, there are too many trips to the well, with people coming in and trapping her.  She is captured four times in that house and has to escape that many times.  Each time more beaten and exhausted than the last and it just gets old after a while.  We get it she doesn't know where her husband is, there must be another way to find him villains, think outside the box.  Finally, you can see the ending a mile away, so when the reveal happens at the end it's not a surprise.  **SPOILER** This is a shame because at first, was hoping that this going to be a psychological game that her husband and his friends were playing with her, so that they could make her look crazy and the husband could get the children.  However, as time passed on, I realized that this was just a crime thriller with that element put to the wayside.  The potential was there but I think it got missed.  **ENDSPOILER** 
  Also the acting is terrible and I partially blame the script because I think it was written in English but some things don't really jive in the translation from German.  But even good writing couldn't have saved some of these performances but it might have given them a fighting chance.
  Finally, the audio mix at the end of the film is terrible.  When they real "villain" is exposed, you can't hear their explanation because it is drowned out by the background music, thankfully the script is so simplistic that it doesn't matter what he/she says because it's pretty cut and dry.

  The only saving grace to this film and the only reason I would recommend seeing this is the amount of disturbing gore in this film.  What this film lacks in acting and storyline, it makes up in ultra-violence.  There are heads exploding, limbs being severed everywhere, fingers, toes and faces being pounded into goo.  It's really quite extraordinary just how gratuitous this film is and how enjoyable these parts are to watch.
  Also because the rest of the film is so bad, it then goes into that so bad, it's good category.  If you can stomach the crap about her and the divorce until the first fake cop shows up then it's all gravy from there.  Bloody gravy!  It's like watching a human loony tunes cartoon with people splattering all over the place.

  As a whole this is a terrible movie.  The acting is shit and the story is alright but incredibly simple.  However, Olaf Ittenbach has such a gruesome imagination that it's hard not to recommend watching it for just the mindless senseless violence.  So if you like B to C grade movies with an absurdly amount of gore then this could be the Horror/crime/thriller for you.  And it actually looks like a movie movie.


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