Apr 15, 2008


In the generation of low-budget shorts, only several are honestly worth mentioning. The cinematic genius of Broadstone's shorts 3 Dead Girls! being the most influential of which I've seen. When involved with low-budget films, it's easy to become astray with ideas and try to soar to high, only to fall back down to the ground. Henry Weintraub's short film Depraved follows a paraplegic killer. Killer in the sense of vengeance and self-defense, mind you.

Edith is a beautiful woman who is catatonic (In a "play dead" sense) and wheelchair bound. Show through a series of vignettes, we learn why she won't eat or speak, and why she is crippled. Together with her backpack of tools of vengeance, she begins a slow quest to smite those who have ever wronged her.

Perhaps this films most recognizable scene is the house invasion scene complimented with a wheelchair or it's scintillating use of Lloyd Kaufman as a mild-mannered doctor on a house call. Indeed, Lloyd Kaufman is in it, and he has an entirely new stage presence. He speaks in a normal low voice which actually hints a sign of intelligence rather than his goofy get-up where he's normally surrounded by naked "Tromettes"

When you bring up these revenge films, most of them incorporate rape as the catalyst of these ironic and justful deaths which usually end with castration or a family left behind by a cheating, raping husband, this seen in I Spit on your Grave. Similar to Nicholson's Torched, Depraved features gruesome bloodshed and a nihilistic atmosphere, creating a raw and tense foreground. The only difference between the two is the lack of a horrible soundtrack and great acting. Weintraub captures the clever malleability of the shadows and provides excellent lighting.

Depraved features some amazing acting followed by manipulated gestures that bring the overall force of the film down. While many might scowl at the two bumbling detectives in this film, I appreciate the rudimentary characters. They offer a terrific throwback to when cops weren't given 13 types of personality disorders in order to make it "arthouse depth"

Rural America is always to blame in these films. Filthy white trash rednecks are always the people depicted in film to never associate with. I'm sure if a Negro were to play the raping villain that would be considered racist. Depraved is a short film that works within it's own constraints. It offers a glimpse into a mind that really has no other options but to kill and to avenge. After all, Edith really has nothing left to live for except for her final piece of art; a blood-splattered canvas.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great write-up, thanks for the review...