Friday, 1 May 2009


Exploiting a theme so often seen in grungy horror films that it has all but lost its shock value, Mu Zan E is unlikely to be remembered even by diehard gore hounds. The trite story begins with an unnamed female TV presenter taking us unconvincingly through her latest exposé on snuff films. Initially, the worst she manages to uncover are niche porn films involving liberal amounts of menstrual blood, but the more people she interviews, the more she is reeled into their world. Eventually, she unearths the hyper-brutal snuff porn ring she had presumably been anticipating for her entire professional career... and she is not disappointed. As her curiosity burgeons, she gets perhaps a little too close to the action, resulting in some rather unpleasant sights.

While the film never pretends to be anything more than a curt exercise in grisliness, it still fails to fulfil its desired reactions. The presenter’s testimonies are delivered on a cheap DV camera, an effect which actually ruins the illusion of realism by eschewing decent production values. The interviews are unlikely to fool anyone given the insipid performances of the subjects. In addition, the final denouement desperately lacks sequential credibility, in spite of the nauseatingly lavish effects. To the film’s credit, it does build up intrigue from the pixelisation of the women’s faces, but sadly this may be less of a conscious creative choice by the director, and more another sorry attempt to reach that “realism” it so sorely needed to have any impact.

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