As much as I love blood and guts in my horror cinema, I’ve never been one to really gravitate towards what is considered ‘extreme’ horror. That changed recently, however, after my viewing of Stephen Biro’s Song of Solomon. Since then, I’ve become a bit more brave and have ventured into a few more titles from the American Guinea Pig series. Because I’ve been on somewhat of a roll with the more graphic and explicit stuff, when the opportunity presented itself to review yet another film deeming itself ‘extreme,’ it was only fitting for me to jump at said opportunity. I mean, how much could Lucio A. Rojas’ film, Trauma, really effect me?
Along with her girlfriend, cousin, and sister, Camila is more than ready for a fun getaway to her uncle’s country house. Things quickly take a terrifying turn, however, as a strange man and his even more strange son enter their cabin uninvited and rain down pure violence upon the girls. After finally being free of the two men, the girls, along with the two local police officers, decide to take things into their own hands, once they realize justice won’t come in any other form.
The synopsis I’ve laid out above makes the Chilean Trauma sound like a pretty run-of-the-mill revenge flick. Let me assure you, that is not the case. This one has been compared to A Serbian Film in some reviews I’ve read and while I personally don’t think it quite reached that level of depravity, it sure as Hell did come pretty damn close. Before the opening credits even display on-screen, we fall witness to forced incestuous rape and necrophilia. If that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will.
Trauma is shocking and appalling, while also being quite beautiful. I say that not in reference to the film’s content, of course, but to the overall aesthetic of the film; the production quality it top-notch, much higher than that of the other extreme gore flicks I mentioned earlier, and the cinematography is stunning.
There are countless scenes of grotesque torture, rape, and murder throughout Trauma‘s 110 minute runtime. Most of the depravity is executed with second-to-none practical effects and make-up, making it even harder to hate what I was seeing, just because I was in such awe of how real everything looked. Ripped off jaws, searing flesh, and all sorts of other brutality all look tremendously impressive, while, ironically, things that seems easier to pull off on paper (i.e. poisonous gas filling a room), look extremely fake and downright silly, if I am to be frank.
CGI gas aside, Trauma will be a tough one to get through for a lot of viewers. The film is said to be based on true events and representative of the dictatorial past of Chile. While this may very well be true, just as A Serbian Film supposedly held similar meaning, I was never one to be able to see what lies below a film’s surface. What I saw was violence at a very high level, mixed with some of the most disturbing relationships between fathers and sons, across many generations. How that relates to the country of Chile as a whole, I have no idea.
If you are a horror fan who is always looking for that next level of hardcore, then Trauma will be right up your alley. If you have a weak stomach or are easily bothered, however, you’re going to want to skip this one. Either way, Trauma is available now on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD from Artsploitation Films, so you can judge for yourself!
Due to some of the more uncomfortable scenes, I don’t see myself watching this one too many more times in the future, but I do think it is worth at least one watch. It is enjoyable as a horror film, overall. Because of that, I still give the film 4 mouth-fulls of cheek flesh out of 5.