Directed by Tiwa Moeithaisong
Starring Mai Charoenpura, Anuway Niwartwong, Wiradit Srimalai, Rattanaballang Tohssawat, Duangta Tungkamanee
When the press release for this one calls it a “proud member of the ‘torture-porn’ sub-genre”, I wasn’t looking forward to sitting through yet another Saw / Hostel inspired movie that is about nothing more than seeing people getting beaten, tortured, sliced up and killed. Hate to sound old fashioned here, but for me to be entertained, really entertained, then the movie has to have a good story. Sure, we not against gore for gore sake, and have enjoyed many movies over the years that don’t offer much more than that. But as of late, since there has been a constant onslaught of these types of movies, they get really old, really quick.
But shortly after we started to watch Meat Grinder, we realized that while the film is pretty gory and graphic, there is much more going on here besides the blood and guts. Director, co-writer, cinematographer, and editor Moeithaisong really gave a lot of thought and background to this story, then filmed it in such a way that we learned more and more about the main character Buss, played wonderfully by Mai Charoenpura, as the story plays out. Yes, it does have a lot of gore and graphic violence in it, but the story here is what sets it apart from the countless others in the ‘torture-porn’ sub-genre.
Buss is a trouble woman trying to earn a living by selling noodles, with a crippled and sick daughter that she is trying to care for as well. It also doesn’t help when some local hood comes to collect money that her missing husband owes. Ahh … another fun day in Thailand. The film doesn’t take long to show the viewers what we are in for, when a young man shows up at her house looking for his girlfriend who supposedly worked there. She tries to convince the young man that his girlfriend was screwing her husband and took off together. He doesn’t believe her and starts to search her house. While he doesn’t find his girlfriend, he did find out what kind of woman Buss is and what she is capable of doing. The things she does to this poor guy isn’t really explained other than to watch him being tortured. From having a leg cut off, to having each of his fingers nailed to the floor, with nice close ups of the fingernails being split open. None the less, gorehounds will be pleased.
The real gem here is as the story progresses, and through the constant scenes of gore, we learn more and more about Buss, her history, and her family. From her childhood with her mom teaching her all the important things about flavoring the meat used in cooking, and how to obtain it, to the terrible things that happened to her as a child. There are several parts of this movie that we didn’t see coming.
We do have to give credit the look of the film, even though there is a little of the shaky-cam and fast editing that we’re not big fans of, but it wasn’t used that much. There is also a nice combination of black and white footage to enhance the story, except where it is sometimes used to create beauty, here it is grainy and dirty, giving it the appropriate feel to it.
So yes, gorehounds will get a big helping of lots of severed body parts, multiple murders, and tons of the red stuff flowing, all intertwined and simmering in this stew of tragedy and revenge, one story line that will leave you hungry for more … but probably more of a vegetarian fare….