"Warning: Closed Circuit Extreme contains intense scenes of horror and violence which some viewers may find disturbing. Patrons are advised not to attend this screening if they are easily offended." That was the stark caveat included in an advert when tickets went on sale for the UK Theatrical Premiere of director Giorgio Amato’s film adaptation of his own novel "Circuito Chiuso". Intense scenes of horror AND violence huh? I’m in! The opening frames of the movie intrigued me further when a silent worded intro set the scene.

The place is Rome and back in April 2010 a 23 year old female Francesca Pardi inexplicably vanishes. For some reason her two friends, Daniele and Claudia, are convinced that a 40 year old loner, David De Santis is involved with their friends disappearance. It seems the judicial system does not share their suspicions, so they take it upon themselves to prove the judge otherwise...

It all sounded rather interesting until their method was revealed. You see, as luck would have it, Daniele is an electronic engineering student and I can only assume Claudia supplements her endeavours as a Literature student with the occasional spot of burglary seeing as the duo’s cunning plan is install a stealthy CCTV system in De Santi’s apartment while he is at work. All they have to do now is wait until they have enough footage on the digital drive and BINGO they have their man!

If the rather fanciful scenario curbed my enthusiasm somewhat, what was to follow positively bored the beejezas out of me. Yes folks it’s found footage time with the movie we are watching being exhibit A. It wasn’t just the fact that this subgenre of sorts has been overdone to the point of the recovered videotapes snapping, it was the irritating manner in which this particular movie went about it. Fundamentally the movie is constructed with what essentially surmounts to a series of webcam clips spliced together, and just in case we forgot that, it was peppered with exaggerated interferences and ear piercing "KKKSSHHH" sounds that hammered home the surreptitiously filmed concept. Was it genuinely voyeuristic or simply lazy? Whatever your stance on that particular aspect, the ‘white noise hiss’ started to grate very early on in the 97 minute venture.

So around 30 minutes in, I was getting a little twitchy. We had learned that De Santis likes microwave pizza with his bottled beer, that he faithfully cares for his little bonsai plant and that he had placed a fake advert for a housekeeper to try and tempt a few young female students to his house. You know, if you going to be a successful serial killer, you REALLY have to be a little more creative and anonymous. Isn’t it just a wee bit lazy to expect your female victims to do all the leg work??

Nevertheless, I stuck with it. I watched as Claudia and Daniele riskily returned again and again to the house to adjust the cameras. It should have been tense, but all I wanted is for De Silva to catch them red handed and treat them to a little snoop induced slaughter. I didn’t get that but I did glean, when in Rome, what 150 Euros buys you in the escort scene!

When the ‘plot’ did progress, the plausibility diminished. Our meddlesome duo found a dildo or two and the odd bottle of chloroform yet busily engaged in a little bickering about who was leaving the most fingerprints around the apartment. The fact it didn’t appear to cross either of their minds to actually wear gloves is irrelevant I guess!

Maybe I just missed the point and the fixed spy camera approach conveys a genuine sense of realism and therefore is more ominous. Even so, the decision to have the cast toil with speaking English in thick Italian accents hardly helped the ‘fly on the wall’ aspect. It was semi amusing though especially when De Santis patience snaps after being swamped with surplus calls to his advert when he deemed one caller a "Fackin pain inde haarhs"!

When the "intense violence" did trundle along, and goodness knows it was long overdue, it was hardly a worthy pay off. Considering Daniele was an electronics guru of sorts and went to all the trouble of breaking and entering in order to uncover what their suspect gets up to behind closed doors, you would have thought he might have given more thought as to how to position his cameras. Rather than have the lens peering into the bedroom, it was positioned so it cunningly scrutinized the partition between staircase and boudoir!

Maybe Amato felt it would be more harrowing to only partially display the rape sequences while believing the desperate aural cries would augment these climatic segments but, personally, I just felt a little swindled.

The most distressing scene of the movie was not a physical assault but a psychological one. Forcing a detainee to pen a letter to her mum with her shaking hands demonstrated De Santi’s hankering for dominion over his victim without the need for (partial obscured) violence. More of this convincingly staged mental terror and we could have had a far more interesting picture.

The DVD simply has a menu screen that offers scene selection and the choice of either Stereo 2.0 or 5.1 Surround audio track. That said, for once , given the weighting toward it being a webcam escapade, it would probably have been less annoying simply watching it through your TV’s built in speakers as oppose to hearing ear piercing "KSSSHHH’’s reverberate around your rear speakers every few seconds.

Maybe this movie would ‘easily offend’ the ‘Cabin in the Woods’ demographic, but in an age of Bunny Games, Serbian Films and Centipede sequels, it offers little to those of us with a more stalwart disposition for visceral violence.

Review by Marc Lissenburg

Released by Revolver Entertainment
Region 2
Rated 18
Extras :
see main review