Review: 'Victim'


It doesn't take a genius to realize that part of why The Human Centipede made a few waves was because of its wonderfully unpleasant plot synopsis. "Oh, it's about an insane doctor who sews three people together, mouth to butt. Wanna see that movie?" A description like that sells a few extra tickets, DVDs, and / or VOD purchases. Whether the film is good or not is your call (I think it's pretty solid, but hardly a "new classic"), but there's nothing like the "freak show" sales pitch to pique an already curious audience's interest.

That's not to say that the recent indie horror flick Victim is a copycat of The Human Centipede, but it is a firm assertion that a movie, indeed an entire production, can exist on the motto of "shock value sells." Victim is hardly a shocking film, but it's premise goes a little like this...

A policeman is kidnapped by an insane doctor, thrown into a cell, and then turned into a female through surgical means. There is much moaning and whining on behalf of the captive, a metric ton of portentous and dull monologues from the kooky doctor, and the occasional grunt from the husky assistant. Halfway through the film another cop shows up, gets shot, and the movie continues on like it was a pizza delivery.

Once more: the doctor (and his lumbering manservant) turn a skinny cop into a blonde chick. With scalpels and silicone and all that stuff. Filmmakers Matt Eskandari and Michael Pierce (and two additional screenwriters(!)) hope that the batty doctor's simplistically basic yet still annoyingly plodding backstory will make the "why" of this mandatory sex-change more interesting, entertaining, or insightful, but those intentions are thoroughly undone by flat performances, a dreary narrative, and a plinky-plinky piano-heavy musical score that inspires yawns more than shivers.

On the up side, if you're looking for a certifiably silly film that takes itself and its wackily pedestrian subtext way more seriously than it should, feel free to give Victim a shot. At the very least you'll be able to describe the plot to someone and watch their bemused reaction.