Studio: Dread Central Presents
Director: Anthony DiBlasi
Writer: David Bond
Producer: Corinne Ferguson, David Bond
Stars: Chad Rook, Chantal Perron, Dana Christina, Dylan Sloane, Ashley Smith, Yoshihiro Nishimura, Ami Tomite, J. LaRose
To confront her psychological trauma, a troubled woman participates in an extreme haunt with terrifying consequences.
Allison’s traumatic history of childhood abuse, a failed suicide attempt, and an unhealthy obsession with horror would raise immediate red flags on any psychological wellness check. Fortunately for her, immersive attraction ‘Perdition’ doesn’t perform due diligence on a prospective patron’s background, or doesn’t care. In one of the plainest antagonist incentives imaginable, Perdition proprietor Bob needs big bucks to pay child support, and he banks on Allison’s experience somehow being key to his extreme haunt’s viral success.
Against the advice of her therapist as well as her girlfriend, Allison dumps her psychiatric medication on the ground and proceeds to the pickup point. Along with fellow Perdition participant Zachary, Allison forcibly faces her deepest fears as scare actors test her limits through various physical and mental tortures.
With Perdition pushing them past their breaking points, will you care what becomes of Allison or Zachary? Probably not.
Someday, someone may make a legitimately frightening fictional film that accurately reflects the immersive terror of an extreme haunt. “Extremity” isn’t it.
Director Anthony DiBlasi’s movie lands high among the most detached experiences I’ve had watching a thriller. Boogeymen like Freddy Krueger tap universal fears involving nightmares. Woodland-set slashers do the same for anyone who has heard noises in the night while outdoors. But masked men in clown suits chasing attraction attendees merely presents costumed chaos. “Extremity” encounters steep difficulty scraping up scares because personally tailored frights are exclusive to the people onscreen, making vicarious involvement unfeasible.
Dribs and drabs deliver details of Allison’s past via piecemeal flashbacks. For much of the movie, no reason exists to tether emotional investment to her trauma since she’s a vacuous victim of vague violence. Allison’s most defining personality trait is her uncanny ability to alienate anyone trying to help her heal, erecting another impediment to endearment.
We literally know nothing about Zachary. Given these two indistinct lumps for leads, “Extremity” fights to find some sort of engagement in interchangeable scenes of hallway chases, big baddie Bob verbally sparring with Allison, and random acts of torture like waterboarding, coffin claustrophobia, and a perverted peepshow forcing Allison to masturbate.
Where is the suspense among repetitive sequences of skull-masked actors muah-ha-ha-ing as they dunk Allison underwater or force Zachary’s face to the floor? “Extremity” doesn’t know. David Bond’s script searches high and low for a story, auditioning several subplots that fail to stick along the way.
Japanese vlogger Konishi and her unnamed cameraman hang around recording Allison’s experience for Bob’s YouTube channel or something. Their obtrusive arc culminates in ‘Cameraman’ confessing to Konishi, “I only took this job to f*ck you,” followed by an implication that Konishi goes down to her knees to convince him to stay. Hard hitting intrigue there.
When they aren’t providing unnecessary distractions themselves, Konishi and Cameraman collect yawn-inducting interviews and immaterial BTS bits from crewmembers. Phil plays coy about interrogation techniques learned in the military that he applies to Perdition performances. John bores us with blather about expressing himself artistically through various character work. Like Allison’s therapist and girlfriend in their brief moments, barely anyone registers a blip on your attention span’s radar.
Piling on more pointlessness, Bob’s sidekick Nell bitches to Morgan about another actress stealing her coveted role as the nude peepshow girl. Nell refers to Morgan as her sister, but their suggestive kiss and subsequent stroking sends other signals. Similarly, I’m not sure what to make of ‘Allison’s Mother’ telling Allison in a flashback, “don’t call me (mommy), I’m your sister, okay?” Maybe “Extremity” means to add insinuations of incest to its laundry list of inanities with more pedestrian shock value than meaningful substance.
Reconsidering, I suppose “Extremity’s” uninteresting agenda does emulate the senselessly demented, narratively bereft sleaze of an extreme haunt like McKamey Manor. Boomeranging back an ironic line from the movie’s laughably insincere derision of uptight prudes who make “horror is evil” claims, “Extremity” amounts to directionless “smut dressed up as entertainment.”
Review Score: 30