Binge and Purge

Director: Brian Clement
83 Minutes

Encoding: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only.)
Sub Rosa Studios Llc
Special Features
: Director's Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, Premiere Featurette, Stills Gallery, Preview Trailers


Binge and Purge starts off unexpectedly with some B&W historical footage of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939).

Appreciatively I checked the DVD cover: maybe they sent me the wrong movie to review and I wound up with a documentary of what was probably the Last Noble Cause Worth Sacrificing One's Life For! ?

Alas, no such luck. The B&W footage turns into colour as two soldiers come across another soldier hungrily devouring the entrails of a human corpse in a deserted alley. The soldier starts shouting deranged slogans such as ?Long live, Franco!?, etc. This is a bad idea since the two soldiers confronting him are obviously Republican troops and they kill him for being the fascist dog he is for supporting Generalissimo Franco. Oh, yeah, and for being a deranged cannibal too I suppose.

Then we're suddenly in the back of a police car in a COPS parody - replete with grainy hand-held video camera work. However, after a while you realize that this isn't intentional: the camerawork is going to be like this for most of the movie.

Oh well, you shrug, as you listen to the long expository conversation between the two cops, one of them with clearly non-regulation sideburns and the other resembling a villainous Tintin henchman (Tintin and King Ottakar's Scepter, perhaps?) replete with twirly moustache and brush cut hair.

Despite the 1980s looking car they're driving and all the other old-looking technology (TVs, etc.) you'll see throughout the movie, it would appear that this is the near future and that following some terrorist attacks the United States is now officially a police state. George W. Bush seems to have won the 2004 elections then it seems!

Anyway, now that they?ve gotten rid of all that ?democracy crap? (as the Tintin henchman cop calls it) such as human rights, the Constitution and the like, the cops? jobs have become a lot easier. No search warrants, no reading them their rights, etc.

However, none of this seems to help when they investigate a call and have to confront - that's right - an incident of cannibalism. (And none of this "America being a police state" plays any role in the plot later on either by the way.)

And here things stop making any sense really ? as if they were in any case. We are introduced to three private investigators (Binge and Purge - they're cops!) and the chief of police who hires them to investigate a spate of mysterious killings. This may be the near future, but the chief of police dresses like 1930s Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade ? trench coat and hat, you name it!

Later on we're introduced to a group of supermodels and their sunglass-wearing polo-necked cardigan agent. Another thing we learn about the future from this movie is that models resembling famine refugees would no longer be fashionable. Models of the future would be, well, a bit more robust. Considering their diet, this shouldn't come as a surprise since much of the movie is taken up by scenes of these, um, models stuffing bloody human entrails resembling raw strings of sausage into their mouths.

No doubt these scenes are the reason for this movie's existence because I soon found myself hitting the fast forward button on my DVD player just to get past these endlessly repetitive scenes of fake-looking cannibalism set to exaggerated gobbling sound effects.

In fact, Binge and Purge is what would happen if a regular reader of Fangoria magazine ?borrowed? his dad's Sony video cam and decided to get his pals together to make a movie.

There are endless gross-out scenes. For some reason there is a graphic severed penis scene, my second within a single week (the first being Beyond Re-animator). I don't know why this is. I've spent my entire life without ever having seen a penis being graphically Bobbit-ized and casually chucked away - and then in one week I see it being done twice! Why? Oh, why Lord?

Things get more confused in the bits in-between the models' cannibalistic binges. There is talk of a Nazi virus that turns people into cannibals (someone involved in the movie obviously having read The Paperclip Conspiracy by Tom Bower) and there is even a flashback to Nazi Germany.

Everybody - the cops! the fashion media! you name it! - it seems are cannibals. One of the detectives obliquely refers to They Live, the cult 1988 John Carpenter flick in which pair of special sunglasses reveal something we have already suspected for a while, namely that the powers that be and the rich are secretly aliens, and that they have already taken over the Earth. No doubt an influence.

Unlike the sunglasses, the plot looses all focus as the movie progresses. Finally, there is more gore and violence.

Well, what were you expecting? In spite of the title, this isn't the latest eat-as-much-you-like diet craze video ? a glance at the trashy DVD cover will disavow you of that. Instead it is one of Sub Rosa Studios? latest offerings - on sale at their aptly named web site. We're not talking low budget here, but rather ?no budget?: amateur actors who have probably never done any acting whatsoever before, shot on location probably without permission on a hand-held video camera.

Watching the movie I wondered how DIY movies like this manage to make any money. Then a ?documentary? on the movie's premiere supplied on the DVD gave an answer of sorts. After renting a cinema to show the movie once and filling it with paying ticket-holders (probably consisting of friends and family of everybody involved in it) the director managed to cover his costs in making the movie.

Is this possible? you ask. If you too saw the cheap effects, production values, etc. then you might see how this can be. Besides, it had a rather big cast for this sort of thing . . .

THE DISC: This ?special edition? DVD (there isn't any other edition of this movie!) includes director's commentary, deleted scenes, outtakes, the premiere featurette I mentioned, a stills gallery and preview trailers.

Except for watching a few trailers (there are worse movies out there - as unbelievable as that sounds!) and listening to a few minutes of the inane director's commentary I didn't check out any of the other special features. This doesn't exactly qualify me for reviewing the disc, but having survived the feature itself seems like an accomplishment enough . . .

WORTH IT? One critic wrote of Binge and Purge as being a ?thoughtful, well-crafted independent gore film...superior direction and production value...? Another wrote that it is "one part horror and two parts pitch-black satire, Binge & Purge is as socially relevant as it is entertaining.? Both quotes are used as ad copy on the disc itself. I couldn't help but wonder if they have seen the same movie as I have . . .

RECOMMENDATION: If you know someone involved with the movie then you might consider buying a copy for future blackmail purposes . . .



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