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SCREEN

CHAOS

Josh Bell

Chaos begins with a sober disclaimer citing statistics on how many abductions occur each year in the U.S., noting that most victims are female. Positioning itself as a cautionary tale, the film then goes on to depict extreme acts of violence and a highly implausible series of events that teach nothing other than it's a bad idea to follow a stranger to an isolated cabin in the woods with the promise of free ecstasy.


Writer-director DeFalco shoots a nearly note-for-note remake of Wes Craven's Last House on the Left, a grindhouse classic that might have been as cheap and tawdry as DeFalco's film, but was nowhere near as crass and self-important, and was far more affecting. The story concerns teenagers Angelica (Barovich) and Emily (Degroat), who venture forth from Emily's home in rural California to a rave in the woods, where they meet Swan (Sage Stallone, Sylvester's son), who promises them some ecstasy if they just follow him to the abandoned cabin where his friends are staying. What could possibly go wrong?


Well, rape, torture and murder, of course, courtesy of Chaos himself (Gage, the only actor in the movie with anything resembling screen presence). DeFalco takes his time getting there, though, eventually offering up two brutal scenes of gory violence that will please die-hard horror fans and repulse most everyone else. But that amounts to maybe five minutes of an already brief 74-minute movie and the rest is excruciating, not because it's disturbing but because it's just awful.


Full of bad acting, tin-eared dialogue and nonsensical plotting, Chaos needs every bit of its scarily effective marketing campaign. Having succeeded in baiting Roger Ebert to respond point-by-point to their rebuttal of his negative review, DeFalco and producer Steven Jay Bernheim have elevated their movie from the cheap straight-to-video-quality exploitation film that it is to some sort of high-minded, controversial provocation.


Critics have called the film offensive and morally repugnant, but that's overstating things. It's far too inept to achieve anything that complex. DeFalco asserts that Chaos is a film people will never forget, but unless you still hold on to memories of movies you accidentally watched on Cinemax at 3 in the morning, that's highly unlikely to be the case.

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