If the idea of seeing a young woman having metal rivets removed from her cranium makes your heart skip a beat, you won’t want to miss this baroque ‘torture porn’ hope-sapper from French director Pascal Laugier which is cut from a similar, po-faced and unrelentingly nauseating cloth as the ‘Hostel’ films and last year’s ‘Frontière(s)’.
It opens on a young girl fleeing mysterious captors who have been using her as a human pin-cushion in their dank basement. Flash forward to the present day, and she’s as mad as hell, carrying a shotgun and out for bloody retribution. The stylishly mounted first half zips along at a rate of knots while the gruesome make-up work will keep your gag reflex in violent spasm. However, it turns out that Laugier’s skills as a director fall squarely in the action department, as an ill-advised mid-point U-turn delivers a talky, depressing and insanely pretentious take on mortality and human experimentation.