Sunday, April 20, 2014

DVD Review: BIG BAD WOLVES (2013)


Label: Magnet Releasing
Region Code: 1 NTSC
Duration: 110 Minutes 
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen (2.40:1) 
Audio: Hebrew 5.1 Dolby Digital with Optional English SDH Subtitles
Directors: Aharon Keshales, Navot Papushado
Cast: Lior Ashkenazi, Rotem Keinan, Tzahi Grad, Dov Glickman, Menashe Noy, Rami, Dvir Bebedek

BIG BAD WOLVES (2013) comes by way of the demented duo of writer/directors Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado who first popped up on TV with the film RABIES (2010), a nasty slice of cult cinema shaded with a streak of dark humor that's fully intact with their newest endeavor.

This ones a kidnapping thriller that touches on some pretty dark subject matter - a small city is plagues by a child killer who abducts, rapes and decapitates young school girls. The victims bodies are staged minus their heads with their toenails removed, the unthinkable crimes are the stuff of stomach churning nightmares. The prime suspect is a quiet religious studies teacher named Dror (Rotem Keinan) but there's very little evidence against him other than suspicion a desperate Det. Mickey (Lior Ashkenazi) who attempts to beat a confession from the teacher. The incident is captured on video and posted on YouTube and in the aftermath Mickey is suspended from the police department while Dror loses his teaching job when parents protest the employment of a suspected child murderer. 

Gidi (Tzahi Grad) the father of the murderers most recent victims, a young girl found mutilated at the park. When the identity of the teacher is revealed through the YouTube video the vengeful father plots to abduct and torture the suspected murderer until he confesses to the horrific crime. However, the vigilante detective has similar plans and the two uncomfortably join forces, kidnapping the Dror and strapping him to a chair in a basement where they begin to administer a series of gruesome tortures in an effort to squeeze a confession from the teacher. 

They really put the thumb screws to poor Dror, the torture sequences had me squirming - this is some uncomfortable stuff. These sequences are unsettling but are punctuated by some dark humor. One minute were witnessing a gruesome nail-through-the-knee when suddenly we're baking a cake in the kitchen. At one point the young girl's grandfather unexpectedly shows up and at first tries to dissuade his son from carrying out his revenge before taking part in the proceedings with a certain glee. While the scent of Dror's burning wafts through the air h comments that the odor makes him crave the taste of beef. Yup, this comic kidnapping thriller definitely has some very quirky moments of humor peppered throughout, sorta a mash-up of Kim Jee-Woon's I SAW THE DEVIL (2010) by way of the Coen Bros. FARGO (1996), 

The DVD from Magnet Releasing presents the film in it's original scope aspect ratio  with strong color reproduction, accurate skin tones and strong black levels. The Hebrew 5.1 Dolby Digital audio options strong and well-balanced. Extras on the disc include a 16-minute making of doc in Hebrew with English subtitles and the standard issue AXS TV featurette plus selection of trailers from Magnet.

Verdict: BIG BAD WOLVES has a superb cast, the cinematography is quite nice and a great score from composer Moshe Edery. Director/writers Aharon Keshales and Navot Papushado are definitely a film making duo to watch. This is a razor-sharp kidnapping-thriller with a wicked sense of humor that will have you wondering right up till the end if this guys a child murderer or not. Not sure what their next project might be but they will have a segment on the upcoming ABCs OF DEATH  2 anthology film. 4 Outta 5