Surviving extreme trauma is likely to leave a lasting effect on just about anyone. Trauma’s lead antagonist, Juan, is no different. He survived sickening abuse as a young man before eventually letting madness take the wheel, and the result is something monstrous. Juan now abducts local women and subjects them to acts of torture that are bound to leave his victims every bit as damaged as he is.
You’ll hear wildly conflicting opinions on this one due to its extreme nature, and for that reason, I’m not sure Trauma is the type of film I can say I “enjoy” or “recommend”. What I can say is that if you found yourself entertained by 2010’s A Serbian Film, this one is for you.
The setup is simple. Four friends visit a rural town in Chile before they are brutally attacked by a man and his son. After law enforcement becomes incapable of assisting, the friends set out to kill the men that tortured them personally. You’ve seen some variation of this tale before, but what separates it from horror films of similar design is its politically charged sub text and a shocking commitment to sexually depraved violence. And while the former is lost on me as someone unaware of Chile’s history, the latter went to such lengths that even I couldn’t believe my eyes from time to time.
Much like the aforementioned A Serbian Film, Trauma benefits from surprisingly strong cinematography. This, along with a quality musical composition and believable cast, make a film this dirty feel even dirtier. Trauma is a mean and violent film that should only be viewed by those with zero triggers. That said, it’s worth mentioning that this isn’t a nonstop gore-fest. The most shocking and controversial moments are generally confined to 3 or 4 scenes, but boy do they serve their purpose.
The film is available on DVD and Blu-Ray on October 23rd, but distributor Artsploitation Films has decided not to submit Trauma to iTunes and other popular digital markets for fear of being banned. While that might sound like a shameless marketing fact to include… I think it might be true. This one is for hardcores only.
‘Trauma’ is the Serbian Film of 2018 [Review]