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Rigor Mortis: The Final Colours DVD Review

Written by Daniel Benson

DVD released by Neo Cinema

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Written and directed by Timo Rose
2003, Region 2 (PAL), 70 minutes, Not rated

Starring:
Dan van Husen as Denver
Andreas Pape as Ritchie
Ben Tewaag as Dallas
André Reissig as Queens
Anja Gebel as Nadja
Sebastian Gutsche as Norman
Marc Fehse as Honk
Peter Thorwarth as Paul

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Movie:

Left alone by the death of their mother, and with no father present, brothers Ritchie and Norman only have each other to rely on. Ritchie (Andreas Pape) struggles to balance his life between looking after mentally handicapped, wheelchair bound Norman (Sebastian Gutsche) and developing a meaningful relationship with his casual girlfriend Nadja (Anja Gebel).

One day, when Nadja is out walking Norman in the countryside, a bloodied figure runs from the woods, chased by an unknown enemy. Stopping only to push something into Norman’s jacket, the man flees back into the forest, only to meet a grisly end at the hands of Queens - a henchman of ruthless criminal Denver (Dan van Husen). Although life seemed tough for the brothers, things are going to get a whole lot tougher.

Having seen the object passed to Norman, Queens (André Reissig) believes they are part of a conspiracy to rob Denver of the super virulent computer virus that his organisation has created - and intends to sell to the highest bidder. The fact that Nadja is calling Ritchie at the time makes Queens even more convinced of their plot.

To find out their involvement and have his property returned, Denver sends his team of sadistic torturers to kidnap Nadja and extract information from her in the only way they know how.

With extreme pain.

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Review:

In the world of German Cinema, there is one name that has become synonymous with extreme violence and bloody gore; Olaf Ittenbach (Premutos, Beyond the Limits). Normally, Ittenbach takes the directorial reigns and creates the special effects for his movies, but in this case, the director’s duties fall at the feet of Timo Rose, with both he and Ittenbach collaborating on the effects, assisted by Ramin Shafiai.

And what effects they are.

When Nadja is first kidnapped, she is knocked out by a savage hammer blow to the face. The scene is short, but filmed with such slick editing and special effects, that its power is undeniable. It hits the viewer like...well, like a hammer blow to the face.

The sequences that depict Nadja’s torture are some of the most disgusting I’ve ever seen. Horrifically realistic make-up is employed as mercenary psycho, “The Doc,” slices up Nadja’s face with all the vehemence of a butcher trying to remove a particularly stubborn piece of gristle from his best steak.

However, outside of the disturbing gore scenes, the actors put in a fairly pedestrian performance in their respective roles, with no particular standout. The film’s general premise is a little on the weak side; an innocent girl gets mistakenly wound up in organised crime affairs, and then is kidnapped and tortured in the most gruesome manner to extract the information. That is the rough framework that supports the impressive visceral sequences. It’s almost like gore for gore’s sake, but it is crafted so well that the shortcomings in the story are easily overlooked.

Curiously though, by the end of the movie, Timo Rose has convinced the viewer of a sensitive relationship between the two brothers. When the police finally find Ritchie sobbing and holding Norman in Denver’s torture chamber, you actually feel their emotional stress.

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Video and Audio:

Shot on digital video, this PAL format picture is presented in widescreen at roughly 1.95:1 aspect ratio. It is clear and crisp throughout, but displays little in the way of cinematography due to the majority of the movie taking place in one room. The English subtitles are clear, easy to read and, for a foreign independent movie, surprisingly well translated.

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A German Language stereo soundtrack accompanies the main feature — which is adequate, but unremarkable. Slightly ‘hollow’ sounding around the dialogue, which is normal for lower budget productions.

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Special Features:

  • Behind the scenes featurette. (German Language Only) – Made up of snippets of material from the production material. Mostly uninteresting, except for a sequence where Anja Gebel (Nadja) seems to be incredibly distressed in her ‘face torture’ make-up — either from claustrophobia or the savage nature of the scene she is filming.
  • Trailer
  • Ben Tewaag erzählt! – (German Language Only) A short interview with Ben Tewaag (Dallas).
  • Halsweh! Kurtzfilm – A short film of one of the characters from the movie cutting his own throat.

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Grades:

 
Movie: Threestars – Savage, brutal and undeniably sick.
Video: Threestars – As crisp and clean as one would expect from DV.
Audio: Twostars –Doesn’t do any favours for the movie, but doesn’t do it any harm either.
Features: Twostars – Wouldn’t stand repeated viewings (unless you want to improve your German).
Overall: Threestars – Only serious gorehounds need apply.

About The Author
Dj Pic
UK Editor / Webmaster
Fuelled mostly by coffee and a pathological desire to rid the world of bad grammar, Daniel has found his calling by picking holes in other people's work. In the rare instances he's not editing, he's usually breaking things in the site's back end.
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