MEAT GRINDER Review [A Good Find For Gorehounds]

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Written and Directed by Tiwa Moeithaisong, 2009

I feel like I use the “I normally don’t like…” phrase often enough that it has lost a bit of its heft.  After a while one would think that enough qualifications of “normally don’t like” would mean that I do indeed like a specific type of film, but the reality is that I see so many dreadful movies of a certain kind that when I do finally feel motivated to write about one, it’s because it truly was an exception.  With that in mind… I normally don’t like hardcore gore films, but I dug the hell out of the Thai stomach churner, MEAT GRINDER.

Those who know my tastes know that I have a soft spot for Asian films, particularly of the Korean and Thai variety.   But even though I’m predisposed to liking Thai horror films, I typically don’t like their gore-heavy entries.  They have such a rich, superstitious culture worth delving into that it’s almost disappointing to watch them attempt to dabble in more Western flavors.  MEAT GRINDER, however, is a captivating blend of Thai ideology, particularly of family relationships and the subservient role of women in the home, mixed with a sickening mastery of nasty make-up effects that look as though they’ve slipped out of the darker side of European horror.  The title alone should give it away, but if you have a sensitive stomach, MEAT GRINDER will rip it out of your chest and make you eat it.


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Written and Directed by Sopon Sukdapisit, 2008

It’s no secret that I am partial to Thai horror.   Because the US has no counterpart to it, I envy the genuine superstition for the afterlife found in Thai culture.  We have no nation spanning fears of spirits, which is precisely why American horror pales in the ghost department to that of the Asian rim.  Sure, we can do our slashers and our monsters with the best of them as that’s all guttural, but we’re a spiritually incongruous nation and our cinema is lacking for it.

When it comes to Thai horror no one has more enthusiasm for the fears of the afterlife than Sopon Sukdapisit, who wrote the two biggest horror films to come out of the nation to date: SHUTTER and ALONE, the latter of which is arguably the most successful as well.  COMING SOON marks the first time Sukdapisit takes on both scripting and directing duties, proving off the bat up to the task with one of the most gripping openers I’ve seen in recent memory.

A little girl awakens on a heavily soiled mattress in a dank room.  Startled by the dead body laying next to her, the girl hides in the corner as the door slides open and an hysterical corpse of an old woman brandishing a knife best suited for use in a fish market enters the room, searching its shadows for the little girl all the while dragging a hobbled foot behind her.  The girl can’t hide forever and soon the crazy old lady forces her to the dinner table where her “brothers and sisters” paw at bowls of rice unable to see thanks to bloody eyelids with no eyes to cover.

Meanwhile a band of parents are searching the abandoned house, eventually coming upon the old woman’s room.  All is too late.  The little girl has joined her “brothers and sisters” and the parents are left with a roomful of eyeless children.  While the mothers sob uncontrollably the fathers string up the psychotic old woman, set to hang her burned and nearly hairless body from the rafters.

Hell of an opener.  If only things stayed that way.

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