by Louis Fowler
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
The slasher-slash-torture flick Bereavement is the prequel to Malevolence, a movie I’ve never heard of or seen, and one I probably don’t need to. Bereavement does just fine by itself, thank you very much. It’s got a great premise: a deranged serial killer (a creep-tastic Brett Rickaby), who lives in the old, abandoned slaughterhouse, kidnaps a young boy who has a rare disorder that makes him impervious to pain. He trains him in the art of the kill, as one is wont to do. Meanwhile, down the road, a good-hearted farmer (the always-a-pleasure-to-watch Michael Biehn) takes in his niece after her parents are killed in an accident. As per these movies, the killer takes a special interest in the niece, leading to a series of well-gutted red herrings, jaw-dropping shocks and enough graphic murders to last a lifetime, or at least a sequel. But, really, what can a sequel tell me that Bereavement hasn’t already?
A fictionalized account of a notorious Norwegian political figure who was tried for high treason and espionage, Norwegian Ninja wisely does away with the dramatizations in favor of a hilariously tongue-in-cheek, Cold War-era action-comedy that plays like the European cousin of Chuck Barris’ Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. Said figure is Arne Treholt, who leans a top-secret team of super-spy ninjas at the behest of King Olev V. They practice martial arts in their commune while simultaneously keeping the world free from Russian tyranny through various terrorist activities. What makes Ninja different from the cinematic martial arts clan, however, is that director Thomas Cappelen Malling uses every underground film-stock trick at his disposal, creating a truly otherworldly sense of alternative history throughout the movie.