Monday, September 5, 2011

Flashback - Morderische Ferien Review

And the Story Goes...
A young girl, Jeanette, witnesses the murder of her mother and father in their home. She manages to escape from the killer, but spends her youth in a mental institution as she works to overcome the memories. Her doctor feels that she is capable of entering the real world, and he finds a job for Jeanette tutoring a family of rich kids to speak French. Strange events take place, people begin to go missing, and it is up to Jeanette to uncover the secret as to who the killer is, and why he is following her.
Tutor Jeanette arrives on the scene, do you know what I mean?
My Thoughts (This may contain spoilers)
It's no secret that Germans can be scary people. Seriously, they have an intense love of order, they have a real penchant for Polka music, and  they seem to feel a strong desire to push sauerkraut on you when invited into their homes. In spite of all of these terrifying characteristics that the filmmakers of Flashback innately possess, this is not a scary movie. In fact, I propose that what we are seeing is a comedy with some gore thrown in for the heck of it. Comedy/horror would be a more appropriate classification.
It's better that they don't show his face. Trust me
To begin I'd like to proclaim that I personally love just how unlikable all of the victims are. Honestly, the kids seem to be bigger sociopaths than the killer, so we end up just watching people, who do bad things to others, die. Tormenting a person to the point that they have a mental break down is not the best way to go about drawing sympathy. Maybe that schei├če flies in Germany, but not in my hood, crackuh®! This leads me to believe that the writer intentionally made them so horrible that their deaths become comedic, rather than scary.

Speaking of the victims, one thing that I was confused by is the exact age of the "kids" that Jeanette is hired to tutor. I assume that they are supposed to be high school aged, but they really do look like they would be in grad school. And, the fact that Jeanette sleeps with her male student, Leon, would suggest that he isn't a minor. However, out of curiosity I decided to take a stroll on over to the CIA World Factbook to see the age of suffrage in Germany, which is 18. However, according to Wikipedia ( I know, I know), the age of consent in Germany is only 14! This means that Jeanette could rock Leon's world without fear of prosecution as long as she isn't over 21 and in a position of control, e.g. a guardian or tutor, over him. In any respect the kids look a hell-of-a-lot older than teenagers, so I still have no idea what age group we're supposed to be dealing with.
It looks like Jeanette is tutoring Leon on more than just French (wink)
The dubbing is pretty much on par with 1970s chopsocky flicks, and calling the voices inappropriate would be a gross understatement. It is the opinion of us/me at Inimitable Movie Reviews© that the actor voicing Leon, and the dude voicing Chin Bo in Twin Warriors are, in fact, one and the same! I have no evidence to support this, but I'm sticking with the accusation. It's interesting to see that his ability to appropriately voice the characters that he is dubbing has not improved in a full 7 years. In his defense, the female voices every bit as tragic as his, so I'd like to believe that he may be just trying to fit in. In any respect, I feel that subtitles would be more appropriate (I'm looking in your direction Netflix).

Now I know what you're thinking, "but Jack, isn't there anything that is good about Flashback?" Well, yes there is. The choice of camera angles were interesting and fresh. Also, the scenery is very nice, and I liked seeing different types of locations than what we're used to seeing  in typical American slashers. The landscapes are beautiful, and the house is amazing. I can say with a clear conscience that I have never wanted to be a rich German more than I do right now.
The vibrator is mightier than the sword
As to be expected, the women in the cast are all pretty hot. Clearly director Michael Karen knows what the typical fan of cheesy slasher films looks for, which begs the question as to why there are no boobers. This is a European film dagnabbit, we expect no less than 6 nude chicks to be presented for every 90 minutes of footage! You failed us Mr. Karen.

There is a fair amount of human gore, and a lot of animal gore. If you're the sensitive type who can't stand to see dogs chopped in half, or cats in blenders, then you probably wouldn't like Flashback. I will say that it's pretty fake looking, and nowhere near as cruel as what we saw in Cannibal Hollocaust. Personally, I found the dog's death in Funny Games to be much more disturbing than this. Just be aware that animal murders do take place.
Ye get what ye deserve
For the record in regards to the killer, I don't believe that if you see your parents murdered, and you kill their killer in an act of self defense, that you would become a psychopathic killer. That seemed to be the angle that they were going for, but it just seemed weird. After the opening act we see that Jeanette is living in an institution, but appears to be a well adjusted young lady. As to why she is in an institution, I can only ask did she go insane, or was she being punished?

In Conclusion
It's interesting to see a German take on the typical slasher film. Flashback may not be an entirely original story, but it does an adequate job of keeping it entertaining. The twist ending isn't really necessary, and it actually raises a few more questions. This isn't giallo, so I don't understand the need to try to be clever and the constant barrage of twist endings that we as the audience are forced endure these days. If I want mystery I will watch La Signora in Giallo.
Those Germans know how to party!
All in all, Flashback isn't a bad movie, and you will probably get some laughs out it. It's a definite rent before you buy. Check it out with some friends, and enjoy learning about different cultures. Did you know that the standard mode of transportation in Germany is the ski lift?


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