A Serbian Film: The Movie Review

A Serbian Film still causing issues
by Jason Lees, MoreHorror.com

A SERBIAN FILM is the definition of the unreviewable movie. Whether you enjoy it or not (and ‘enjoy’ really isn’t the correct word here) is going to be on a case by case basis. It’s not a film for fans of splatter, although it’s explosive in that department. It’s not political enough to appeal to that demographic, and it’s a bit too absurd to satisfy the nihilists out there. What it is absolutely one of a kind. And that’s a good thing. We don’t need more than one A SERBIAN FILM.

The film follows Milos, a mostly retired Serbian porn star as he tries to provide for his family the only way he knows how but still be the father figure he wants so desperately to be. He’s offered the chance to star in one last porn film which will set them all up financially for life. So instead of finding a real job, like his corrupt cop brother, he goes for the easy cash and re-enters his old life for one last chance at fame. What happens next is a very calculated and unnerving descent into what even this man won’t do for money.

A SERBIAN FILM succeeds in making its central character somehow an everyman, even considering who he is. We follow him through lunches and business dealings, talks with his wife, and even legitimate father/son moments. It’s this initial subtlety that surprised me and left me unprepared for what came next.

And that’s the part that will make or break your experience with A SERBIAN FILM. Milos is tricked (or forced, depending on your point of view) into witnessing and partaking in what is easily the most extreme depictions of rape, murder, necrophilia, and pedophilia ever put on film. It’s not done to arouse or excite, it’s done to sicken and repulse. You can accuse the film of doing many things, but catering to the fetish crowd is not one of them. And while it sounds shocking for the sake of being shocking, there is a point to it all, and a plot.

A SERBIAN FILM is either the most exploitive art film ever produced, or the artiest exploitation film I’ve ever seen. It is very well acted, with performances that come off as pitch perfect to their environment, even when it gets ridiculous. The look is not what you’d expect from its synopsis, and throughout the setup you never doubt the world you’re peeping into. Whether or not you the shocks shake you loose from the experience are up to you and your personal tastes. Hell, your personal morals.

Unlike other shockers, A SERBIAN FILM will likely loose you due to its subject matter. It’s at time fun, but then it hits you in the brain with something that you just don’t want to see, losing its fun status. If you can shake the image from your brain (I couldn’t) and continue on, the best you can hope for is even more atrocity. And again, if you can survive that, then maybe, just maybe, you can get to the most absurdest black humor of a final punch line I’ve ever seen in a movie. After the last hour of mind numbing cruelty, that final joke and a few gore gags leading up to it were almost a shot of helium, so out of place that it just seemed silly.

That’s what you’re left with, something so distasteful and wrong that it can’t be forgotten. And that by itself would make me want to recommend it to those who are tired of boring tepid horror fare. I won’t recommend it as a film to watch with a pizza and good friends over, but if you love to bitch about the crap that Hollywood shovels out, then definitely seek out A SERBIAN FILM now before it’s remade with Keith Urban and Justin Beiber as father and son.

Where it could have just been sick exploitation, A SERBIAN FILM gets points for never once trying to titillate or glorify. Its intent is to unsettle, and that it does. Almost too well.

Did I enjoy it? No. It’s not something you’re supposed to enjoy.
Would I recommend it? Yes, but only with a forewarning to not judge (or indict) me for the referral.

Will I ever watch it again? No, sir. There are some experiences that while I’m glad I endured, I just don’t ever want to go through again. I’m glad I saw it, I’m glad it was made, and I praise director Srdjan Spasojevic for the artistry on display here, but no, A SERBIAN FILM won’t make my repeat viewing playlist. Good film, but now I have to go take some steel wool to my mind’s eye.

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