Movie Review - Raze
When I first saw the trailers for director Josh C. Waller's Raze, I thought it was just another action movie and decided not to see it while it was in theaters. Excuse me while I take a few moments to kick myself in the ass for my short-sightedness. Because Raze is certainly action-packed, but it's so much more than just that. And while on its' face this isn't your traditional horror film, the sheer brutality and graphic violence is so unsettling that it's just as effective as any genre movie, perhaps even more so. Josh C. Waller's feature length debut is fantastic, featuring a stand out performance by the talented Zoe Bell and some of the most intense fight choreography outside of The Raid: Redemption. Admittedly, I found the ending of the film to be a tad underwhelming, but that didn't take away from the fact that this movie hits you like a punch in the gut and completely knocks the wind out of you. The film is currently running on Starz and is available on iTunes as well. Check it out.
The movie centers around Sabrina and forty-nine other women, who have been kidnapped by a wealthy couple and forced to fight each other to the death in order to prevent harm from coming to their loved ones back home. As the women slowly kill one another in hand to hand combat for the entertainment of some sadistic rich people, the bonds they have formed will be put to the ultimate test. And at the end, who will be left standing, and will they actually be granted their freedom? You're going to have to watch it to find that out.
Before I go any further I need to take a second to acknowledge some of the people working 'behind-the-scenes' who strongly contributed to its' success. First, the fight choreographers Kenny Gage, James Young, and the entire stunt team. The fight sequences are explosive and they just keep on coming. Second, the visual effects and makeup departments, who create some of the most realistic wounds I have ever seen. And last, the sound department, who manage to make the wet slap of fists on flesh sound sickeningly lifelike. The director does an amazing job of setting the stage for the sheer madness that unfolds. It is an impressive first outing.
But all of that being said, this is Zoe Bell's film, and she plays Sabrina with a darkness and grit of a woman fighting for her life and desperate to survive. The savagery of the opening scene will leave you in shock, and her performance matches the tone of the film perfectly. It was also nice to see her re-teamed with her Deathproof co-star Tracie Thoms. All of the women in the film are fantastic, but Bell commands every frame with authority.
I highly recommend this film to everyone who can handle the ultra-violent nature of a modern-day Exploitation Film, you won't be sorry. If you're anything like me, you may find the ending a little disappointing, but you'll thoroughly enjoy the ride. Cheers.
- Leo Francis