Real Horrorshow: “A Serbian Film”

Photo courtesy Jinga Films.

Photo courtesy Jinga Films.

The Worst of the Worst

Every now and then, when the stars align in just the right way, a film is created that is the perfect storm of everything that unsettles the human psyche. Movies from Psycho to The Human Centipede shocked audiences enough to become legendary during their theatrical runs. However, few movies are as infamous as Srdan Spasojević’s 2010 über-sexualized, ridiculously violent A Serbian Film.

As a brief background on the film’s reputation, it features pretty much everything that society frowns upon (incest, pedophilia, gratuitous drug use, pornography, necrophilia; seriously, just name something and it’s in there). It’s because of this content that film has been banned in Spain, France, Finland, Australia, and more and currently holds the record for the most-edited theatrical release in America, with 19 minutes of footage being cut. While there’s definitely a message about the national cinema of Serbia and political correctness in the film, the intensity of the content dilutes and hides it. The best thing to be found is something quite different: an amazing score. Any fan of electronica should definitely give it a listen, as the gritty, industrial songs compliment the action to a tee.

Over this summer, on a 3:00 AM dare from a friend, I ordered the Blu-Ray of A Serbian Film on Amazon. Having heard nothing but horror stories of about the plot, (that and Wikipedia’s synopsis) I was expecting something that would leave me traumatized for years afterwards. What I didn’t realize was that there are two versions of A Serbian Film, the one that everyone says is, “the single most messed up thing in the history of ever” and the actual movie. The hype surrounding the film simultaneously entices (albeit those with a morbid sense of curiosity) and lets down the viewer. Why? Because it isn’t as graphic as one would imagine after hearing the horror stories about it; after all, that’s almost next to impossible.  All in all, A Serbian Film is one of the holy grails for hardcore cinematic thrill-seekers, though it won’t be the film you expect it to be. And if you’re not part of that demographic, stay away from this movie, trust me. 

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