Camp Motion Pictures // 1987 // 187 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 6th, 2007
When renting is not enough.
Ugh. Just when one thinks one's desensitized oneself to all manner of DVD pain, along comes something like this release, revealing new ways to torment a human soul. Video Violence and its retarded sequel Video Violence 2: The Exploitation are about as enjoyable as a paint thinner enema and less coherent than that analogy.
Steven (Art Neill) and his wife Rachel (Jackie Neill) have just moved to a small town to open a video store. As the only such rental business, Steven anticipates a sweet profit. What's weird is that every resident owns a VCR, though prior to his store, there was nothing for the townsfolk to use them for. The mystery is soon revealed, when Steven checks out a blank tape that had been mistakenly left in one of the returns. It's a "snuff film," showing the town's postmaster getting himself butchered by a pair of yokels. Horrified, Steven runs to the authorities, but quickly realizes that the whole town might be in on this sick fetish. With no one to turn to, Steven and Rachel's sole priority is to avoid becoming the next subject matter.
Video Violence 2
Howard and Eli, the two whack-jobs from the first movie, have moved on from home-bread snuff videos to hosting a public access show. Um, what? The 78-minute runtime is comprised of sketches, commercial spoofs, the occasional bout of cheap gore, and an extended harassment of a half-nude girl sequence. There's a lot of winking at the audience, tearing down of the fourth wall, and a surprise guest appearance by the first film's Steven and Rachel at the end.
The above write-ups may seem like the movies have a dark edge to them, but trust me on this: Video Violence and Video Violence 2 are as sucky, uninteresting, and far from disturbing as you can get without featuring characters named Dora and Diego. Add to that, both films look hugely cheap; from their lowly VHS stock and pathetic "acting," to gore effects, which are about as convincing as a fourth-grader's skewered Styrofoam balls are a realistic model of the Solar System.
Snuff films command a mythical nature to them, but the Video Violence movies take big, steaming dumps on what could have been reasonably unsettling subject matter. Sure there's a dash of tongue-in-cheek tone thrown in -- most notably in the sequel, which goes full-bore into horror-comedy -- but the humor is neither subtle or funny. When taken in conjunction with the piss-poor production values, the snuff gimmick collapses in on itself, bringing the films and the viewer's IQ down with it.
Look, let me dispense with the obligatory pretentiousness reviewers have to incorporate in their reviews to make ourselves feel cool: these two movies are just plain bad. They're not entertaining, not shocking, not funny, and definitely not worth your time. The cheapness, ironically, is Video Violence's biggest selling point, as it boasts that Z-grade charm some idiots (i.e., me) tend to enjoy. The actors' resumes were obviously headlined by "friends of the director" and they bring the line-reading acumen of a Teddy Ruxpin doll to their roles. No amount of nostalgic cheese, however is enough to compensate for the bloated (Video Violence clocks in at 100 min, and Video Violence 2 at 80 minutes which is about 70 minutes too long, considering the film has zero narrative cohesion) and tedious experience that is watching these movies, especially -- God forbid ! -- back to back.
As far as gore and sleaze goes, there's a moderate dosing of both, but don't expect anything worthwhile. There is much fluid and fake heads but not much believability, and the occasional breast isn't enough to make you want to stop punching yourself in the eyes. Video Violence 2 attempts to distract from its nonsensical plot by heaping on more fake gore and an unending sequence of nudity starring a woman with areole the size of deli platters.
The films make the jump to DVD with little fanfare, looking very similar to their previous VHS incarnations, including the original tracking flaws. Two waste-of-time commentary tracks and interview with the director are it for the extras.
Review content copyright © 2007 David Johnson; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2014 HipClick Designs LLC
Scales of Justice
Studio: Camp Motion Pictures
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 187 Minutes
Release Year: 1987
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* Director's Commentary
* IMDb -- Video Violence
* IMDb -- Video Violence 2