Monday, July 14, 2014

Stripped



Stripped
Stripped, like Sx_Tape, isn’t quite what you will be expecting. Yes, this is another found footage flick with a group of guys (and a hot girl that has been part of their entourage since childhood) goofing off, going to Las Vegas for some partying and fun, getting high and drunk, making sex and slob jokes (also pranking each other in various ways), and using their camera recorder to capture all of their antics before the horror of what they will encounter begins. It’s all fun and games until they run across the wrong people potentially offering them something sexual which winds up being anything but. Stripped is actually used in this film for a different loss…not as much of clothes as of a loss of organs. Like sex trafficking, organ theft is another underground crime that sends chills and is downright horrifying in concept. Visualizing being drugged and while unconscious losing your organs, your body raped of its parts while asleep, this is something that works as a horror movie. Again, horror works because most of the time we are safe in our beds or comfortable in the confines of our living rooms (or in the cinema) at a distance from what happens on screen. Found footage adds a “horror captured on digital or tape” vibe that permeates because what happens feels somewhat real. This is all happening right before our eyes, recorded by a fivesome with organ-theft far from their minds. Vegas is the latest city to feature underground crooks stealing from tourists…instead of cash or jewelry, it is organs. I admit that I grew tired of this rather early, particularly of the characters involved. I didn’t like any of them. I am so fucking tired of the obese character made to look like a stupid fool. I’m sick of it. There’s a character in the film that is secretly in love with the only female of their group and he’s right off the advertisement of a Calvin Klein cologne. He can wear a hoodie, faded jeans, a pair of dark shades, with a ciggie unlit and protruding from his lips, made to look like the whole nine yards of a GQ model, while the only fat guy of the film is presented as gross, crude, horny, buffoonish, and dopey. This kind of casting just leaves me ambivalent. You lose me and a lot of others I’m sure that are simply tired of this typecasting. Seeing pretty boys talking about getting laid in Vegas leaves me flat cold. I could give a rat’s ass if they lose their organs. That’s a problem to me because I want to care. If they mean even remotely something to me, their fates leave an effect with me. I don’t want to see them suffer and die. I personally am tired of rooting for characters to die. I am at that point in my life as a horror fan that wishing for obnoxious jerk-offs to die horribly (or just not caring if they do) has grown taxing. I’m 37, not 20 anymore. If those involved in Stripped has at least made the big guy likable and not a dumbo, I could have felt something for his fate. However, he dies unceremoniously; dismissed like a secondary goof, a honey takes to him with a knife. Off with the fat guy’s head…in horror, there seems to be little use for him. At least the African-American character is getting a little love in horror these days…while still often dying somewhere in the middle of the film, he’s not as shitted on as the fat guy. Venting over. One of the characters, after the guys decided to take a drive to this stripper location (instead of having strippers come to them which would have been the safer option) after calling up a girl named Candice, says that this could be a bad decision in a long line of bad decisions…he’s correct. They come to a place that looks like an abandoned warehouse yet still decide to go inside. The film slightly disembarks from the found footage formula when the boys are attacked and strapped for organ removal. The girls seductively lure them in and eventually subdue or kill them. Shots from security cameras throughout the “organ removal warehouse brothel” provide some extra footage. Then this shifts to the female of the group and her phone camera’s footage once she leaves her boys after meeting up with her boyfriend and his pals. Soon she learns that her man was bagging a whore overseas in the military and returns to her friends’ pad only to discover them missing. Returning to the male leads of this film…screaming obvious when we first see the stripper locale, it is hard to fathom cautious fellows, even if wanting sex, would enter such a scary place. That these guys do and die is no surprise…they kind of ask for it. Unfortunately for their chick pal, she is dragged into her doom because of their stupid asses. Sure Stripped offers her and a buddy a slight chance of escape but the psycho organ doc is not far behind. This is a film that portrays those over this sketchy, sick operation of organ harvesting as cold-blooded and conscienceless, totally devoid of any sort of awareness of how grotesque their actions are. Horny men willing to follow girls into any establishment, no matter how ominous, succumb to bloodshed when the workers seducing them accost them as they are at their most vulnerable. The doc is right out of an over-the-top slasher, complete with maniac eyes, silent stalking approach, and bloody surgical garb. To tell you the truth, I will barely remember this in a few months. As far as found footage goes, Stripped is a mediocre example of the genre; with some tiresome characters and an average series of developments, only the organ-harvesting is something fresh thematically. At least this film wasn’t about something paranormal or demonic.

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