DVD region 2. Crabtree Films.
you take the idea behind Rear Window, spice it
up with topical ideas about a sureveillance society and throw
chunks of Saw into the mix, you have the potential
for a horror film that is a tense and terrifying ride, one that
could be paranoid and chilling in equal measure. What a pity,
then, that ICU pisses away all these opportunities.
Set almost entirely in an ultra-modern apartment festooned with
video cameras, this Australian film follows three extraordinarily
annoying teens – the hot but irritating Margot Robbie and
the almost laughably ghastly Christian Radford and James R. Dean
– as they are left to their own devices by policeman father
Matt Flannigan, acting as though every bit of dialogue is a one-liner
delivered by a pissed off action hero). The boys spend their time
spying on their neighbours… for ages. Cue endless shots
of people going about their tedious business, backed by what is
probably the worst music soundtrack I’ve ever heard, while
Robbie argues with them before suddenly and incongruously announcing
“I’m going for a swim” or “I’m
going for a shower”.
Eventually, after about an hour of nothing happening, the boys
witness what they believe to be a murder. But when Flannigan investigates
and comes up empty handed, the alleged killer realises that they
are on to him and breaks into the apartment. This is a staggeringly
anti-climatic scene – after waiting for something to happen,
the audience is rewarded by a shot of him walking down a corridor
and then a fade into the three teens tied up. Talk about leaving
things to the imagination! The film then rushes to a climax with
a passable twist ending that is then trumped by the most ridiculous
secondary twist you could ever imagine.
Writer / Director / Actor / Pretty Much Everything Elser Aash
Aaron (his name is all over the stretched out closing credits)
tries to compensate for the lack of action by editing the film
like a gnat on speed, jumping from scene to scene, and intercutting
graphic but ultimately uninvolving torture shots throughout, where
anonymous victims are sliced, hacked and power-drilled by an unseen
assailant. Much of this scattershot footage is presented through
the lens of various cameras, and the end result is fairly nauseating.
For a film obsessed with voyeurism, it’s fairly timid too.
While the thin plot is packed with feeble excuses to get Robbie
out of her clothes, don’t expect any nudity from her, or
the couples we see engaging in sexual encounters, or the girls
in their underwear jumping up and down, or the endless line of
prostitutes that the bad guy has visit him. This makes no sense,
given that the graphic gore and stream of swearing hardly makes
this family friendly – I can only assume that the budget
didn’t stretch toward paying girls to get naked.
With some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen, bugger all
happening for most of the film and a really flat video look, even
to scenes that are not supposed to shot through security cams
or camcorders, ICU unfortunately has little going
for it. It might ‘CU’, but you don’t need to
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