Serbian Film, A

Directed By: Srdjan Spasojevic
Written By: Aleksandar Radivojevic
Srdjan Todorovic
Sergej Trifunovic
Jelena Gavrilovic

Before I get into this review I would like to say that I am an incredibly jaded horror fan. I always feel a little like I’ve seen it all. I’ve been through all of the supposed “sickest” films with barely a pause in my popcorn consumption. I’ve seen all of the “real death” films (yes, even that one) all of the faux snuff films and I have a DVD collection that has my psychologist girlfriend questioning my mental state. But every so often a film comes along that genuinely affects me on an emotional and visceral level. This time, it’s A SERBIAN FILM. Not since Gaspar Noe’s IRREVERSIBLE have I seen a film that left me broken and ruined. And probably a bit more jaded.

This is the story of Milos, a semi-retired porn star who just wants to settle down with his wife and son. He gets lured (by a massive sum of cash) back into the business to make a conceptual art-porn film which turns out to be something far more disturbing to both Milos and the audience. I’m going to leave the plot summary there because the story is simple and nothing terribly new, especially to those who have “seen it all”. It is the presentation of the story and the way the film forces you to endure that make it effective. If the acting had been poor, if the effects had been cheesy, if the film was shot on video, any of these things would absolutely ruin the overall effect. A SERBIAN FILM is so well done on all fronts (directing, acting, editing, effects) that if you can stay in your seat and watch, you will be completely invested in Milos’s struggle. The reason this film is so terrifying is that by the end, the audience knows what is going to happen. It seems like such an abhorrent thought, but because the film has taken depravity so far, the audience knows it will go that one step farther and is powerless to stop it.

A SERBIAN FILM has drawn a considerable amount of controversy and rightfully so. The film wouldn’t work without it. The anticipation of seeing something that may test your bravery might as well be a triple-dog-dare to someone who has “seen it all”. The build up through the first half of the film almost had me drumming my fingers, waiting to see a hint, a glimpse of all this nastiness that everyone is so up in arms about. When I was finally “rewarded”, I had a truly great film before me because it actually accomplished its goal. It horrified a jaded horror fan.

I can’t responsibly recommend this film because you might blame me for what you see but if you fancy yourself a hardened, cynical, jaded fan who has “seen it all”, I guarantee, you haven’t seen anything like A SERBIAN FILM. I triple-dog-dare you.