Monday, April 1, 2019

Inked In Blood: The Fury (2006)

The Fury (2006) (AKA "Off-Panel")
Rating: ***1/2
Starring: Matthew Jockey, Emma Lin, Joshua Macks

Traumatized from nearly killing his girlfriend during an argument gone way bad a year ago, Lester (Matthew Jockey), a comic book artist and writer living in the city of Ashville, North Carolina, struggles to disassociate himself from his first graphic novel, a bestselling slasher story simply titled The Fury, fearing that the violence he envisioned for the book is affecting his psyche negatively.

His new lighthearted comic, however, isn't much of a hit which queues in his editors and publishers advising him to try his hands on another horror story, much to Lester's dismay at first until his psychiatrist friend Jolene (Emma Lin) convinces him to comply as a way to come in terms with what he did and hopefully move forward.

Unbeknownst to him, someone out there has taken a liking to The Fury a bit too much as a trail of brutal murders soon makes its way around the city with the perpetrator (calling himself "Instinct" after the comic's lead killer) eventually targeting Lester's publishing circle, as well as his friends, family and former lover. It soon becomes a race against time for our artist and a responding Sheriff  to stop "Instinct" before the obsessive killer preys on the very comic creator they look up to. But what do we make of the strange bloody visions Lester have been getting lately, or the concerning matter that the latter killings resemble those from pages he hadn't even published yet...?

Harking back a bit of Tenebre (1982), A Cat in The Brain (1990)The Dark Half (1993) and even Haute Tension (2003), The Fury (2006) is an ambitious mid-2000s slasher that attempts to blend commentary, psychology and a splatter-filled bodycounter under one helping. Though this attempt to put more brain in your run-in-the-mill slasher isn't exactly new (try any Italian Giallo from the 70s to the 90s) and the resulting film is anything but a perfect amalgamation of mind and mutilations, Fury at least succeeds in being a worthwhile watch promising imaginative kills for anyone lucky enough to see this rarity.

For what its worth, the more narrative-focused scenes were passable enough to follow through as they do put some thought on the commentary they're implying regarding violence in media and how it affects those involved in it, may it be those who consume it or those who instigate it. The brutality of the murders also helps add some weight into this idea as it cleverly questions just how well our protagonist is to begin with and just how far has he dug down the rabbit hole to be that good in drafting his horrible works on paper. Frankly, they could have made a tamer and more serious movie surrounding this topic, but the over-the-top kills littered left and right says otherwise and, even if they do leave the film uneven in tone, these murders are more or less the reason this film's a hoot to watch.

Done practically with little to no CG, the kills in Fury puts the gore in gory, near-borderline into torture porn (and, later, splatstick) territory. The killer doing them, in turn, is this rainslicker-donning brawn that's constantly shirtless to show off the self-carvings adorning their flesh, remaining silent for most of their onscreen presence and only starts talking to reveal this movie's own twist that, honestly, a tad groan-worthy seeing it's been done and over with by other films. This fortunately meant that the villain has an air of coldness in the little screen time he's allowed to utter some lines, relying more on the bulk and hulk for the rest of their more physical scenes that I could oddly compare being a cross between Friday the 13th's Jason and Candyman (1992)'s, well, Candyman.

The direction can be all over the place, but The Fury (2006) holds its ground enough to maintain a basic story of fanaticism and uncontrollable fury. It's a tad shame that it's such a rarity of a find as I'm earnest fans of splatter and gore will find this nearly lost gem a satisfactory addition to their collection. If you could find a copy of this, cherish it and enjoy it. Just don't loose your head over it...

1 female had her head pulped with a tire iron, hurled through a car window
1 boy hit on the face with his own mother's pulped head, smothered in brain matter
1 male beaten with a rebar, repeatedly impaled
1 male brained, gets a whole brick force into his mouth and choked
1 female stabbed in both eyes with screwdrivers, pushed head-first to a fusebox
1 male shot through the back of the head with a handgun
1 male had his gut hacked open with an axe, force fed water with a fire hose until innards get strained out from gut wound
1 male brained and paralyzed with a hammer, dunked in a tub full of powdered lye
1 female found with her back flayed open and her lungs pulled out from her shattered shoulder blades
1 female gets a garden shear through underneath her jaw
1 male had his spine severed by the neck with a knife, forced into a car and rolled into busy traffic; immolated in car crash
1 driver immolated in car crash
1 male hoisted and impaled with a shotgun, head shot off
1 male had his leg shot off with a shotgun and his arms torn off, bled to death
1 male bisected with a chainsaw
1 male had a heel cut with a knife, repeatedly forced into and off a running chainsaw, mutilated 
1 female hits her head against a table, bled to death (flashback)
1 male knifed to death (flashback)
1 male bitten on the neck
1 female dragged into a padded room, presumably killed
Total: 20