Judge Daryl Loomis breaks into homes and forces families to watch his stand-up routine.
Who are the Cats? What are they!?
The back of the box for Brutalization reads, "…this nasty rape and revenge thriller in which a gang of wealthy bastards break into peaceful homes and rape the women while forcing their husbands to watch." If that wasn't enough, I see that the movie comes out of the Netherlands, which was thrilling to see because if there's one thing I need, it's another Thriller: A Cruel Picture. That's not true, of course, few types of movies are more repellant than rape movies from Northern Europe, so I was extremely happy to find that Brutalization, also and more appropriately known as Because of the Cats, while not a great movie by any stretch, is really just a perfectly average police procedural about disaffected teens.
But the statement on the box wasn't all lies. It begins with these teens, breaking into the house and raping a woman while forcing her husband to watch. From there, though, the story shifts to Inspector van der Valik (Bryan Marshall, The Punisher), who is aghast that nobody has caught these kids yet. It's not their first go-around with this spree, so van der Valik takes it upon himself to investigate. He finds a group of spoiled rich hoodlums who call themselves "The Ravens" and the only reason they're really committing these crimes is to impress their girlfriends, whom they call "The Cats."
It doesn't start off very promising with the home invasion scene going on entirely too long with full gross nudity though, thankfully, it shies away from showing anything too graphically. And then that's it; there's no worse crime than teen smoking and sassy behavior until the very end, where there's another crime, but this time it's funnier than it is shocking. That and a bit of nudity thrown around here and there doesn't make it some kind of rape-revenge fantasy. Instead, it's an investigation movie—a boring one, nothing so odious as was promised.
Really, the only reason anybody would want to watch Brutalization is for the early appearance from Sylvia Kristel, a year before she'd light the world's loins aflame in in Emmanuelle. It's funny, too, because, while she's only in the movie for a few minutes, it's amazing how young and fresh she looks. It isn't like she looked like some kind of hag after that, but it took me a second to recognize her and, believe me, I know what Sylvia Kristel looks like. Otherwise, though, it's poor acting all around and dull, plodding direction from Fons Rademakers (The Rose Garden), who tries to make a statement about violence and ennui in middle class youth, but it's pretty weak and far from an original thought.
Brutalization comes to DVD courtesy of One 7 in a release than fares better than most on the label, but this is more likely by miraculously finding a good looking print than anything of their doing. In any case, it's pretty clean; nothing spectacular, but mostly lacking dirt and damage. Colors and black levels look good and there's a reasonable level of detail. The audio is a basic mono mix without much noise and decent sounding dialog and music. The only extra is a trailer.
In no way is Brutalization a good movie or decent entertainment at all, but it isn't the rapey sleazefest it promises. The box copy concludes with a warning that the movie isn't for the squeamish. Indeed, even a fairly squeamish person could watch it; they just won't have a very good time doing so. Unless you're a Sylvia Krystel completist, there is absolutely no good reason to look twice at this thing.
Not as bad as I feared, but definitely still guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: One 7 Movies
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