Plot: What’s it about?
“Chaos” is one of those movies that’s very hard to watch. It shows us a side of society that we might realize exists, but we don’t really want to think about it. I have to admit that I had mixed feelings before watching this movie and I do remember reading Roger Ebert’s review of this earlier this year (more on that ordeal later on). Ebert gave the movie zero stars, the filmmakers retaliated and Ebert wrote a piece on the movie in the Chicago Sun Times. Suffice it to say that there’s not a lot of redeeming qualities about a movie like this. It’s gruesome – plain and simple. Now that’s not that movies like this can’t be well-made and have some sort of value to them. Take a look at “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” which covers some of the same material and that movie is now viewed as a classic of sorts. “Chaos” doesn’t really fall into the same category as the aforementioned title and furthermore, it’s kind of a rip-off of a Wes Craven movie “Last House on the Left” (no credit is given to Craven, by the way). What “Chaos” does show is gratuitous violence and profanity seemingly for no apparent reason. Adding salt to the wound is the message that precedes the movie stating that this movie might even help people. Uh huh.
The plot of the movie is very elementary as we meet the drifters: Chaos (Kevin Gage – currently serving time in prison for selling drugs, nice casting choice by the way), Swan (Sage Stallone – son of Sylvester), Daisy (Kelly Quann) and Frankie (Stephen Wozniak). The use Daisy as bait to lure people to the side of the road (allegedly these people who would offer Daisy a ride have other things in mind, but that’s beside the point). These people are beaten and sometimes killed for their money and what little drugs they might have on them. Evidently the scheme has worked and Chaos is now “famous” for being wanted in 4 states. We then meet Angelica (Maya Barovich) and Emily (Chantal Degroat), two college girls who are heading to a party in the woods. They catch sight of Swan hoping that he can provide them drugs, he lures them back to his place and it’s all downhill from there. I don’t want to say what exactly happens to these two girls, but let’s just say that the punishment doesn’t fit the crime (the “crime” in this case would be the two girls were looking for “E”). I’ll also go out on a limb and say that a majority of the cast could use some acting lessons, but that’s being a bit nit-picky.
“Chaos” isn’t the worst movie I’ve ever seen and I suppose if I look real hard I could find some cinematic value in it. I felt no attachment to the characters or their motives and I feel that the movie was mainly made for shock value. I think the same subject matter would be rather fascinating if it were another type of movie – a documentary. However the filmmakers didn’t see fit to provide us with one. I’ve no doubt that fans of slasher movies might actually enjoy this, but I like to watch movies that make me think and not leave me with images of raped women with their kidneys missing. But hey, that’s just me. Take it for what it’s worth and you might not really be as shocked as some of us who have seen the movie. Personally I’ll never watch it again as it’s just not my thing. And as for the supposed message that this movie was to contain – I can only assume it’s “Don’t do drugs else you’ll be stalked and killed in the woods”. The end.
Video: How does it look?
The transfer for “Chaos” is actually quite nice, though it’s in full-frame format which is a bit odd. I found the colors to look quite nice and you’ll certainly see the color red quite often. Edge enhancement isn’t really a factor as well. This movie was obviously shot on Digital Video as it has somewhat of that quality to it, but it’s a testament to how far we’ve come with consumer products. I’m not sure if a widescreen version exists, though the Internet Movie Database lists the “technical specs” at 1.85:1. It’s a good, sharp transfer that does look a bit low budget because, well, it is.
Audio: How does it sound?
There’s not a whole lot of ambiance going on here and the Dolby Surround track does a fairly decent job at reproducing the dialogue. That’s what the movie has in spades – dialogue. If you’re looking for overuse of the “F” word, then you’ve found your movie. Dialogue sounds a bit whispy at some points in the film and perfectly clean and natural during other parts. It’s this sort of inconsistency that makes it hard to assign a rating to it, but it’s certainly not unwatchable (from an audio perspective).
Supplements: What are the extras?
There are very few supplements on the disc and one that really got me going was the first featurette. It’s entitled “The Roger Ebert Controversy”. As I have noted, Mr. Ebert (a critic I admire and respect, by the way) have this movie zero stars and then, at the request of the filmmakers, wrote an essay in the Chicago Sun-Times. Evidently this didn’t appease the makers of the film and they continue to rant and explain themselves during this segment. On a personal note, if you can’t take criticism then you shouldn’t be making movies. I felt this self-serving featurette was childish and uncalled for. Roger Ebert has done far more for independent films than these men and their attack at him was just immature, plain and simple. Also, this is the “Director’s Cut” which contains three minutes of additional scenes not shown in the regular version of the film. I’m not sure if the man biting off the woman’s nipple made it in the original cut, but in case it didn’t – you’ve got it right here. Opinions vary and you can make up your own mind, but I didn’t see too much value in “Chaos” – others might.