Welcome to Film Apocalypse!






(Photo Galleries)

R    E    V    I    E    W    S

Stockholm Syndrome (2008)



4th Floor Pictures is yet another independent film company from Pennsylvania cranking out gory goodness for the internet distribution market.  I'm pretty sure that I receive more no-budget and super low budget films from Pennsylvania than any other state besides California; and when it comes to horror and gore, Pennsylvania seems to have California beat in terms of quantity.  When I first heard about the film Stockholm Syndrome, I read that it was being distributed by GMD Films.  At the time of this review, it turns out that distribution is still up in the air, but because of the original announcement, it gave me certain expectations.  I've seen several films released by GMD, so I was expecting similarly amateur video appearance, bad editing and an overall extreme homemade quality.  However, by the time I watched it, I had forgotten that it was associated with GMD and I was able to watch the film without my previous expectations.  As it turns out, the quality of Stockholm Syndrome is actually considerably better than the other GMD movies that I have seen due to the fact that it's a completely different group of people working on the film.

While the other GMD movies that I've checked out were made by Paul Gorman, 4th Floor Pictures films like Stockholm Syndrome are made by writer / producer / director Ryan Cavalline.  In fact, at this time, there is not a definite connection with GMD at all.  The story of Stockholm Syndrome isn't very complicated and honestly is not the true point of the movie.  Conceptually, Stockholm Syndrome is basically a simpler version of films like Hostile where there's an organization kidnapping people and selling them to sadists.  This kind of plot give the filmmaker an opportunity to throw all kinds of wonderfully sick shit into the film without much explanation or back story and throwing sick shit into the movie seems to be Ryan Cavalline's specialty.  The blood and gore in this film are sure to satisfy even the most desensitized splatter fan!  The quality of the gore ranges from mediocre to pretty convincing, but in terms of quantity and creativity, Cavalline certainly delivers.  There are several topless scenes and one scene of male frontal nudity.  However, although the film is about human trafficking, the focus is much more about sadism than sex.  This isn't a complaint, just a clarification.

The picture quality, although not completely professional, is good for a no-budget film.  The shot composition was pretty good too, but I was most impressed with the editing of the film.  Most of the independent homemade horror filmmakers don't have a handle on editing and can't seem to cut scenes down to a natural length thus giving their films an awkward pacing.  Stockholm Syndrome is actually edited nicely and the pacing works very well.  As with many homemade productions, the acting varies from actor to actor.  Several of the actors were great while others delivered their lines very unconvincingly.  Actress Katie Russell, who was one of the standouts in the movie House of Bedlam, delivered another excellent performance here.  When you don't have much of a budget, you work with what you've got and with that in mind, Cavalline made it happen in spite of some of the limitations that a few of the actors created.

My biggest problem with the film is with the audio.  I don't think there was any balancing done to the audio at all before this film was sent out.  It sounds like whatever the microphone picked up was edited into the film at whatever volume it happened to be.  There are actors whispering immediately followed by other actors screaming at the top of their lungs and it doesn't seem like the volume discrepancies were taken into consideration one bit.   I had to watch the whole movie with the remote in my hand turning the volume up and down every few seconds.  I was constantly having to go back to try to hear quiet dialog then turn the volume down quickly before the next burst blew out my speakers.  I've seen a lot of movies with inconsistent audio, but I think Stockholm Syndrome may be the worst.  This is surprising considering how well the rest of the film was put together. 

In conclusion, I would say that Stockholm Syndrome is a better than average no-budget film in most respects.  If you're a gore fan looking for uniquely sick shit, I would give this film a high recommendation if it weren't for the audio.  However, the audio levels were so inconsistent that I wouldn't try watching this movie unless you either plan to watch it with the volume off completely or you plan to watch the whole thing with the remote in your hand constantly adjusting the levels.  Check out the myspace page for more info.:


Gore-o-meter rating: 5 out of 5
(Great quantity of gore even though some isn't very realistic)

Skin-o-meter: 3 out of 5 (Several scenes with topless women)