Deadly Virtues: Psychological torture at its most gruesome

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Following last month’s Metal Hammer’s Silver Screams with Cottage Country, the next event’s feature presentation is the terrifyingly twisted Deadly Virtues.

Brace yourself big time for a terrifyingly tense and twisted, home invasion shocker – one that’s, on a scale of 10, a massive 11 in the nightmare-inducing stakes.

Cutting straight to the chase: one night, Tom and his wife Alison’s passionless sex session is violently interrupted by a mysterious French man, who proceeds to render them unconscious before rope binding them both – hubby in the bath, wifey in the kitchen. During the subsequent weekend, while Tom undergoes a succession of physical violence (which sees him lose parts of his anatomy), Alison becomes the unwilling victim of a psychological experiment in which she must learn to love, honour, and obey the intruder.

While that may sound like your bog standard torture porn plot, the way in which Dutch director Ate de Jong delivers the goods is neither crass nor exploitative. This is more arthouse than grindhouse, the kind of film that exists to make you question what you are watching and why, rather than to titillate and entertain (think Michael Haneke’s dramatic thriller Funny Games) – cinema that gets right under the skin and makes you squirm. Sure there are times when you may find yourself wanting to look away, but proceedings are so intense you can’t, the overriding desire being to witness the outcome, to see if it’s nihilistic or redemptive.

First-time screenwriter Mark Rogers’ ability to mess with viewers’ perceptions as to who and what is right or wrong about proceedings – especially as the true nature of Tom and Alison’s relationship is revealed – coupled with his fully-developed characters makes for riveting viewing. As do the combined acting skills of Downton Abbey’s Matt Barber and Megan Maczko as the husband and wife, although it’s The Borgia’s Edward Akrout’s performance as the calculated, philosophical adage spouting intruder who ultimately steals the show.

The end result is a highly emotive, harsh yet wholly compelling movie, one that’s as much a marital drama as it is a psycho-thriller. Which is some achievement considering that director de Jong is best known in the UK for the truly dismal Rik Mayall comedy Drop Dead Fred.

Come watch Deadly Virtues at Silver Screams on September 24. Silver Screams is an exclusive event for TeamRock+ Members in the UK. Further details will be sent to members via email.

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