The Demolisher (2015) Review
Written, Produced & Directed by Gabriel Carrer
Starring Ry Barret, Tianna Nori, Jessica Vano, Bruce Turner, Gerrit Sepers,
Owen Fawcett, Andrew Bussey, Duane Frey & Duncan McLellan
Synopsis: "Bruce (Ry Barrett) is an ordinary repairman tormented by a crippling sense of responsibility for his disabled wife Samantha, an ex-policewoman (Tianna Nori), the survivor of a gang-related assault. Bruce's increasing hyper-sensitivity to the injustice suffered by his wife steer him down a dark path of vigilantism, and with his rapidly disintegrating mental health, paranoia and overwhelming sense of doom, Bruce channels his inner rage towards a young woman, Marie (Jessica Vano) and finds refuge in a world of extreme violence. Both a character study and a psychological examination of trauma, The Demolisher is an unapologetic portrayal of what can happen when a fragile mind is pushed too far."
Screened at last years Vancouver International Film Festival, The Demolisher was met with mixed reviews - mostly bad it would seem. I can see why a lot of viewers would be displeased with the end result as the posters for the movie would lead most to believe it was a modern grindhouse/ 80s homage/ gritty revenge thriller. While it is all of those to a certain extent it comes across as more of an arthouse film with beautiful cinematography, lots of slow motion , drawn out scenes of city landscapes saturated in neon and less dialogue than you would expect in most violent revenge movies. Think less 'Death Wish' and more 'Drive', but on a far smaller budget of course. While most people probably would've preferred if the director opted for the modern grindhouse look, or should I say the post-Tarantino/Rodriguez' Grindhouse look that so many attempted to copy afterward and failed each time with the odd exception here and there, I applaud Gabriel Carrer for taking the time to add his preferred style to the movie rather than taking the easy route - it takes a lot more time and effort to make a film look beautiful and stylish than to just throw a sheet of grain over the entire thing to try to make it look like it was shot in the 70s or 80s. That being said I did feel like the whole thing was more style over substance. Most of the scenes in between dialogue felt like clips of music videos and the story wasn't entirely original, but hey what is these days?
However I did feel that it was a bit of a fresh take on the revenge thriller and I honestly wasn't bored once throughout. I quite enjoyed it actually. I really routed for Bruce as he spent most of his days looking after his crippled wife and spent the rest of his time going around in riot gear beating gang members to death with a big fucking police baton or whatever other weapon he could use. Gang members who might I add wore a strange patch with a crazy looking monkey on their backs - I would've picked something with a skull on it but that's just me. In fairness, no one is gonna take you gang serious if they're called The Monkeys.... At first I wasn't too sure what the director was doing with the two lead characters Bruce and Marie and their separate story-lines and how those characters were relevant to each other but then when their paths finally crossed I think it worked out well. And just like most good movies nowadays it had plenty of over-the-top violence and a pumping Carpenter-esque synth score. I know I tend to use that term a lot in my reviews but hey, I'll stop using it when composers stop paying homage to John Carpenter with their film scores. Like I said, fans of faux-grindhouse flicks might be disappointed with this one but those who enjoyed films such as The Guest, Blue Ruin or Bellflower should definitely check it out.
I give it 3 brutal bloody batons to the face out of 5.