If you’re reading this, then you might already have an understanding that I have penchant for extreme horror films, and often delve into the most fucked-up of those to help readers like yourself avoid having to destroy your soul. It seems that it’s now almost impossible to have not heard of Srdjan Spasojevic’s highly controversial and notorious A Serbian Film; an extreme horror movie that continues to hold it’s status within that sub-genre as one of, if not the most, disturbing film that has ever been made. There are arguments amongst fans that this status isn’t true due to other depictions that outweigh the atrocities seen within this film, but it’s not merely due to how many children get raped that makes A Serbian Film the most depraved. There are other aspects of this film to be considered, which really do keep it as the number one contender for a film that will ruin your mind and soul forever.
Milos is a retired porn star who left the industry to settle down with his beautiful wife Marija and his son Stefan. Although not interested in returning to his past and the industry, he’s offered one last job that would give him enough money to secure the future for his family, and it seems like too good of an offer to turn down. After speaking with his wife, they agree that for the sake of their family it’s an opportunity not to be missed. The only problem is that Milos isn’t allowed to know exactly what they’ll be filming otherwise the director feels it will ruin his stamina and the atmosphere… It soon turns out that if Milos had really known what he was about to film, no amount of money in the world could have convinced him to partake.
Typically if you look at the history of extreme horror films you’ll stumble across films such as Cannibal Holocaust, Salo, Vomit Gore Trilogy, Grotesque, Tumbling Doll of Flesh and more. These films are fucked-up beyond belief but they all have something in common; the quality of the films tend to be low-budget and half of the disturbing content isn’t quite as visible in terms of sharpness that it could be. One aspect that really sets A Serbian Film apart from the rest is that it’s shot well. The cinematography by Nemanja Jovanov is particularly sleek and beautiful for a film of this particular taste, and it means that watching the awfully sickening scenes is even more mentally challenging because there is nothing stopping the viewer from having their view path obstructed and disturbed. There are certain films where that gritty and grimy look makes it all the more unbearable, for example the August Underground trilogy, but with A Serbian Film the high production works in the same way and makes you feel dirty. Why? Because the audience know that someone has put time and effort into making this look good, similar to the story that is being told in unison within the film; a well-produced snuff porn film that features heavy doses of peadophilia, necrophilia and incest.
Throughout my time as a fan of the extreme, I’ve had the displeasure of meeting people that claim A Serbian Film is tame for them or that they’ve even been able to laugh at some of the scenes…. There was one memorable chat amongst a group (which shall not be named), where one person mentioned how they found some of the scenes worthy of a boner. There is room within anything for dark humour, and nothing is out of bounds in my personal opinion, however, after rewatching this horror film, there’s a moral compass inside me that prohibits me from finding anything remotely funny regarding the topics that are covered. Sexual violence, rape and peadophilia are the most disturbing realms that are covered in this film and to an extent of showing “newborn porn”, which is the scene that has caused this film to be banned in several countries. Spasojevic intended for his film to be as graphic and controversial as possible, but why? A Serbian Film with all it’s immorality stands to make a point about Serbia and the ways in which the country completely fucks the citizens from the moment they are born to the moment they die, and beyond. It’s this metaphor that takes the film from being created purely to shock the audience and make them feel disgusted, to a film that although is the worst of the worst in terms of topics, has a deeper meaning behind it and therefore is important to extreme cinema. Those who watch and commend the movie aren’t doing so because they agree with any of the themes that are seen in the film, but because it takes what is such a contentious genre and gives it a purpose for existing, which is important.
A Serbian Film is a movie that distresses me, upsets me and pushes past my personal boundaries when it comes to film. Milos isn’t a bad guy who is obsessed with getting his dick hard and wet, regardless of the person or substance; he’s a well-rounded family guy that makes a living from pornography, which he’s very honest about with those in his life. That’s what makes this film even worse to watch is how he is deceived by those closest to him, and by trying his best to provide for his family, he eventually fucks them over and leaves them in the most dire situation possible. I feel helpless and depressed watching this film as it resonates so closely with how fucked-up the world is and that there really are those out there who get kicks from causing harm to others.
This isn’t a film that you should casually watch, and it isn’t a film that should be watched without caution. Even for those of us who have watched the most vile and vicious horror films, A Serbian Film still rips apart our morals, and deepthroats us with them until we vomit our own regrets. For me it still holds the title as most nasty, disturbing, controversial and fucked-up horror movie to ever exist, and one that I would only ever recommend to watch if your stomach and heart is made of steel.
Verdict: 5 out of 5 (for extremity)