This is a movie I hadn't heard anything about before today, so I pressed play with absolutely no knowledge of what awaited me whatsoever.
What can I say? I was all ready to slate this movie due to its appalling lack of plot, flimsy character building and seemingly spliced together scenes, but on thinking about it outside of the box and outside of my own personal viewing preference, I can't be as critical as I would perhaps like to be.
To give some idea of what we're talking about here, Murder Set Pieces is a story of a german photographer living in Las Vegas who has a penchant for raping, torturing and murdering beautiful young women. The movie mainly documents him picking up the women and their eventual demise.
The photographer is portrayed as an incredibly sadistic, immoral individual who it seems is driven to do what he does. It doesn't even seem that he gets much enjoyment from his actions, but rather it's just normality for him. We are given a tiny piece of background information on him in that his grandfather was an associate of Hitler and fought in WW2. He has various Nazi paraphernalia around his appartment and seems to believe the germans were the good guys in the war. This is as much information as we are given about why he is how he is or what drives him. The movie just seems to be one long blood bath with occasional naked women thrown in.
A store robbery is played out in the movie which seems to have absolutely no relevance whatsoever. 1 woman is left alive, which I thought may tie in later, but it is never visited again, making me wonder what the point was... It is slightly humorous which is saying something in the midst of this movie, a little light relief is sorely needed. This scene shows us that he is willing to kill anyone for pretty much no reason, again adding to my notion that he doesn't do what he does for kicks or fun, but simply because he wants to.
There is also the murder of a child in the movie, which is definately a taboo, but thankfully this isn't strung out and no torture or abuse scene is included here. I think I'd have been reaching for the remote if much dwelling was done. Again, I wasn't sure of the relevance of this scene, apart from to make him even more repugnant.....
Now that the negatives are over, I will say the effects in this movie are excellent. The blood is one of the most realistic I've seen and the murder scenes look exactly like you would imagine them to be in reality. There is no theatrics, no case of overkill (no pun intended). This does honestly feel like you're watching these horrible scenes for real. Specifically one scene in a bath with a young woman who is almost drowned and then has her throat cut comes to mind. I would imagine the violent dunking she undergoes left quite a mark with her. I know I cringed watching it, not because I was enthralled with the story (because there isn't one!), but because I felt for the poor actress playing the role.
I will say all the deaths, rapes and tortures in this movie are horrible. They are remarkably well put together and believable, I will give the movie makers that much. However the one scene which disturbed me the most about this movie was a scene including a young toddler. The Photographer lifts him from his cot with his hands covered in blood and holds him up to examine him. Inwardly my heart was thumping... as a mother of a 2 year old, I can't bear to see anything happen to a child in a movie, but with the way this movie was going, I didn't even want to think where we could be going with this one. Thankfully he doesn't harm the baby and we see him toddle down a corrider crying, covered in blood to his dead mother, where he puts his head on her chest. The scene is heartbreaking. I found it very difficult to deal with, both from an emotional viewpoint of being a mother, but mainly as this child was clearly very upset and distraught and was of much too young an age to be 'acting'. He was flailing around and pulling away from the actor, clearly wanting to get away from him, clearly frightened and crying hysterically for real. I didn't find it appropriate that they put such a young child through this experience for entertainment purposes. Ok, so it's a movie, it isn't real, but the fear coming from that poor child was definately real!
After watching several deaths and rapes, I just felt like this was a movie for gorehounds who don't care for a story at all. It did however occur to me, that this lack of plot, storyline or explanation is quite possibly due to wanting to place us inside the head of the killer. This guy didn't give anything much thought and killed for killings sake. The movie definately succeeded in giving us an insight into the mind of such a person and it most definately isn't somewhere I liked visiting.
So in retrospect, can I slate the movie because it doesn't fit a certain stereotype and it wasn't necessarilly my type of thing? Most probably not.
Oh I neglected to say, the soundtrack is excellent. Its very industrial/rocky and I found myself wondering what the tracks were all the way through as I loved them.
I will end by saying, I didn't enjoy this movie. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone I know to watch for enjoyment purposes, but I will say, I think it achieves what it sets out to and it does contain some of the most realistic murders I have personally ever seen. Most people would do well to avoid this one, but I can't give it an 'Avoid' tag, as certain aspects of the movie were very well done and it will surely appeal to some people.