DVD Review – Sweatshop

Sweatshop (18)
Dir: Stacy Davidson
Scr: Stacy Davidson and Ted Geoghegan
Starring: Ashley Kay, Peyton Wetzel, Brent Himes, Melanie Donihoo
80 mins, 2009
Distributor: High Fliers
In a supposedly deserted factory, rave organizer Charlie and her band of techies and crew have one hour to prepare for the night’s shindig. Sex abounds and booze flows as the group come closer together or in some cases come to fisticuffs. All the while though they are being hunted by a disgruntled behemoth wielding a ginormous hammer. Striking at random the monster, with his disciples, work their way through the group of ravers.

Sweatshop has a beautifully simple set up. Group of drunk and horny people get killed off by monster in increasingly violent ways. It’s a horror standard that’s hard to argue with and it’s something Sweatshop does very well. In a horrendously over-crowded market of straight to DVD horror films simplicity is not often a films strongest point. These days filmmakers seem far too concerned with delivering twists and turns based on substandard plot-lines. So it’s refreshing to see a film that isn’t look to do too much more than shock you, then treat you too oodles of blood-letting. Let’s be honest with ourselves, if you’re planning to watch a film like Sweatshop you mainly in it for the gore.
In this regard it’s a film that stands up remarkable well in this day and age where extreme violence has almost become apart of the mainstream. Director Stacy Davidson creates an appropriately bleak and cold setting within the factory, with it’s cavernous bowels and dimly lit passage ways. The cast too do a fine job of not just appearing as canon-fodder to the slaughter. Everyone has their own little back story. Everyone has different relationships with each character. It’s impressive that it’s hard to pick off exactly who will be next. Whilst I’m not claiming the characters to be any kind of methodically thought through characters of the ages – some are still one-note – but they raise themselves up above the usual cheap horror cliches.
The killer at the centre of the mayhem who is credited as ‘The Beast’ is an effective entity. Their is no explanation to why or how. It just is. It’s in the factory and it’s annoyed that these attempted ravers are there. So it does what any disgruntled person would do by smashing peoples heads in with a massive mallet or in some cases dismember and slowly torture. In fact it’s these torture scenes where the film horrifically impresses. Given the films obvious budget constraints the death scenes are carried out with ingenuity and surprisingly strong effects. It feels like a throwback to an old-school 80’s kind-of bloodletting where life in films was cheap and the overall tone incredibly nihilistic. All though saying that the film is capped off with a grim but slightly humorous punchline.
If you’re in the mood for something disgusting with a good few shocks involved you could do a lot worse than Sweatshop. In fact this review may have done your enjoyment a disservice. This isn’t a great film by any stretch of the imagination. But sometimes you don’t expect a lot from a film and it can be a lovely (yet horrific) surprise. Approach with caution – expect little, but enjoy. That makes no sense I know so I’m going to stop. Do as you will.
Sweatshop ***



© BRWC 2010.


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Alton loves film. He is founder and Editor In Chief of BRWC.  Some of the films he loves are Rear Window, Superman 2, The Man With The Two Brains, Clockwise, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind, Trading Places, Stir Crazy and Punch-Drunk Love.

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