cast: Patrick Adam, Lanny Rethaber, Amy Searcy, and Steve Furedy
director: Charles Peterson
96 minutes (18) 2009
widescreen ratio 16:9
Chemical Burn NTSC DVD Region 1
review by Mark West
The Eleventh Aggression
Right, so there’s this hot-shot young cop, detective Davidson (Patrick Adam), who loves whoring around and looks like he’s desperate to be back in the 1970s with his wide-wing collars, leather coat, sideburns and bad-ass attitude. He’s teamed up with an older, strait-laced cop, detective Garret (Lanny Rethaber), and they’re assigned to investigate the vicious murder of a local stripper. Which they do, dragging out their unexciting investigation over 96 minutes before delivering a twist that is fairly obvious from about the midpoint.
This is a terrible film, make no mistake about that. Ultra-low-budget (though that doesn’t excuse the quality at all, witness last month’s Melvin from the same distributor), this is amateurish and flabby and doesn’t hold the viewer’s interest for more than a few moments at a time. We know who the killer is from the off – Jeffrey Walters (Steve Furedy) – and the only surprise about him is that he’s an older gent who looks a bit like a gone-to-seed Willie Nelson. There’s no suspense, because even though Walters leaves his cigars at the scene, his tyre tracks and his dog-tags, the cops still can’t track him down (which is surprising, because Garret spends a lot of screen-time flicking through sheets of paper in the file, moaning “why can’t we find him?”).
So what’s so poor about it? The acting, across the board, is awful and none of the cast have any kind of screen presence at all, with most of them hamming it up as if they were auditioning for panto. The dialogue is appalling, perhaps because a lot of it seems to be ad-libbed by cast members who can’t ad-lib. Whole sequences, for minutes at a time, are devoted to one character – usually Garret – explaining to another character – usually Davidson, but sometimes his wife – what we, the viewer, have just seen. Then, ten minutes later, we get another recap to make sure we’re keeping up.
The reasoning behind Walters’ murder spree is so laughably stupid – he kills people who piss him off – that it’s difficult to understand why he isn’t more easily found or why this hasn’t happened sooner. There’s no sense of characterisation (bad-ass Davidson becomes a meek detective after about 10 minutes), there’s no sense of peril and, crucially, there’s no sense of reality (at one point, the coroner explains about ‘the 11th aggression’ as if she were a psychiatrist).
Speaking of which, what I took from that explanation is that anger is on a scale, wherein most people get to an eight or nine and can calm themselves back down, but if you get to 11, that’s it, no turning back baby! How you’d administer such a test, let alone decide on the scoring, is one joyful reason to ignore some of this rubbish as you turn that thought over in your mind. But back to the film and the so-bad-they’re-terrible special effects which consist of thick ketchup for blood, an obviously rubber penis (don’t ask, it’s best you don’t know) and eye-trauma appliances that look as if they were cut out of an egg box.
Worse, there’s a dark streak of misogyny running through the piece, as it’s Walters’ girlfriend – and her cheating ways which have left her pregnant – that push him to 11 and start the spree. Unfortunately, we get to see her death scene and it’s nasty (for reasons beyond which I think the director planned) – she’s tied upside down between two tree trunks, her trousers are ripped at the crotch and a funnel is inserted into her vagina, which Walters then pours drain cleaner into. The victim is then turned right-side up, so that the police can find her and see her intestines pooled at her feet (“her insides just melted,” says the coroner helpfully, “and slid right out”). As the cops mill around her, the following dialogue takes place:
Random cop: “That’s her insides, on the ground.”
Davidson: “Was she raped?”
Garret: “No, she’s fully clothed. Well, except that her genitals are exposed.”
This film – and I use that word in its broadest sense – has absolutely nothing to redeem itself and is a complete waste of a disc, and the 96 minutes of my life I spent watching it. I seriously never thought anyone could topple Uwe Boll and his dreadful Seed but this has done so, on so many levels it’s difficult to comprehend the sheer awfulness of it. You’re reading this presumably because you want a heads-up before you rent a film – or clarification on what others think of a film you’ve just watched. Well please, don’t waste your life on The Eleventh Aggression – I’ve seen it, so you don’t have to. Avoid it like the plague.
There is one DVD extra, a commentary with the director that almost immediately managed to get out of sync with the film, so the soundtrack you hear behind him doesn’t match what you’re watching. It’s as bad as you’d expect, from congratulating the cast and crew on their sterling work to the sheer blindness to the poor quality of the finished film but there’s a comment, early on, that sealed the deal for me. Talking about the opening murder, he says he knows it’s nasty and that half the people who watch it will hate it, but he likes that, he wants people to feel the jolt, before going on to explain how something similar happened to a friend of his.