NO REASON (2010)
Directed & written by Olaf Ittenbach.
Starring Irene Holzfurtner, Mathias Engel, Alexander Gamnitzer, Andreas Pape, Annika Strauss, Ralph Willmann, Markus Hettich, Timothy Balme, Thomas Reitmair, Hildegard Kocian, Dominik Bühler, Felix Becker, Karen Breece
NO REASON opens with a naked and bruised woman who we will come to know as Jennifer (Irene Holzfurtner) frantically racing through a warehouse, brandishing a gun, and running away from a large man who looks to be a police detective. After firing the gun at the officer, Jennifer passes out. We then follow Jennifer to some time before this opening incident as she is living what looks to be an ideal life with a young son Nico and a fiancée Sebastian (Mathias Engel). When she leaves her son with a neighbor while she goes to the grocery, she finds herself propelled into a waking nightmare, guided by a leather clad man-monster wearing a Cthulhu tentacle mask through different levels of hell and experiencing all forms of mental and physical torture.
Unearthed Films is a distributor of extreme horror so if you’re a casual horror fan, this isn’t a film for you. I mean it. Still, I often find that these uber-gore films have a lot of smart and resonant themes behind them. This definitely can be said with NO REASON, which is a rough-around-the-edges horror film filled with blood, shit, tears and other gross stuff. NO REASON is a gory, obscene, and nauseatingly wrong film that utilizes all forms of bodily fluids and bodily torture to make the viewer squirm, wince, and have a strong urge to scrub your soul with steel wool after viewing. The gore and torture are at the forefront of NO REASON and it’ll be the thing most will take away from the film. Things look real. Almost too real. As if real body parts were used in making this movie. There’s an autopsy scene that looks as nauseatingly accurate. There is a scene where a woman gets her face whipped off by a cat of nine tails that I honestly don’t know how they did it. As with most films of this sort, the gore is in your face and center stage. And it looks absolutely convincing, adding to the gak factor even more. I can understand why people wouldn’t be able to endure this film. The effects, though, are next level artistry and will make you wonder if they actually are real.
Unfortunately, the script needs work. I think the film really put a lot of thought into the overall philosophy of enduring the ultimate torture in order to achieve the ultimate awareness of one’s soul. The problem is that any part of the film that might be considered normal or banal aka any scene without torture, blood, and gore, are underwritten to be kind and lazy writing to be more accurate. Characters come and go simply to show up later as fodder for torture. Weird connections between characters are overexplained when it would have been much more effective to show in a scene or simply be omitted completely as it really isn’t important to the plot and serves simply as filler between horrors. Even though this film is spoken in German, I still could tell that much of the line delivery from the cast is flat and feels as if most of the cast are either non-actors or bad actors. That said, this is a film that focuses entirely on Jennifer’s journey and the actress playing her, Irene Holzfurtner, delivers an unconventional, memorable and absolutely brave performance. She’s stark naked for almost the entire film and covered in all kinds of gore and blood to boot. She slips and slides through spaces littered with body parts, tortured souls, and monstrous demon creatures in search for her lost son and offers up a soul-searing performance filled with screams, wails, tears, and utter torture. What the rest of the cast lacks in acting chops, Holzfurtner makes up for it big time.
Director Olaf Ittenbach, who also delivered another extreme horror classic THE BURNING MOON, begins NO REASON gracefully and quietly, luring the viewer in with almost devilishly sweet glee with a home movie and a montage of family photos before ripping the bandage off and spattering the gore in all directions. Ultimately, NO REASON takes the hopeless hells seen in Barker’s HELLRAISER, done with a do it yourself hand a la BASKIN, and mixes it with nihilist philosophy, ultra-gore and uber-torture, and inexplicably, color theory. The result is a horrifying and taboo-smashing gauntlet of razors slicing at the mind, body, and soul. Again, it’s not for the faint of heart, but I know there are fans of this kind of intense and extreme horror out there and this one’s for them.