Depraved and sickening to it’s very core, this short extreme horror film from 1997 really knows how to make the audience feel uncomfortable through the subject matters that are subtly exposed throughout. Writer and director Douglass Buck manages to give us a storyline that really shows just how fucked-up family affairs can be within a mere 29 minutes of runtime. He explores the unsettling reality of child abuse, but takes a difference viewpoint and looks at the effects this has on a doting wife and her relationship with her husband. 

From the first takes, Patrick seems like nothing other than a normal father, but quite quickly it becomes prominent that something is wrong with his son. The family are going through a turmoil which is defining how they interact or don’t interact with each other; all of them with sombre looks plastered on their faces, glassed eyes without any sign of a soul and the need to escape each other’s presence at every moment possible. Patrick’s wife Sarah seems to be desperately fighting for her husband’s attention, which the audience soon become aware is diverted completely to their son, because the father has sexual fantasies about his own flesh and blood. Sarah becomes fixated with wanting to piece together their broken marriage, and become the centre of Patrick’s lust, which means she’ll go to any demeaning form just to get him back.

Cutting Moments short horror film review

First realising that Patrick has an affliction towards his son is something that makes the stomach drop as far as possible, and a queasy feeling comes washing over. It’s done so subtly, with only a few pivotal moments put in place where we are able to pick up on body language presented and then one small sentence that confirms our unbelieving suspicions. This lust that Patrick has for his son is never explained to us, but it’s clear that it is destroying the family and in particular Sarah. The only confusion here is trying to understand why Sarah, who is never presented as anything other than a doting wife and mother, wants to fight for the attention of her husband regardless of the fact that he has clearly been sexually abusing their son.

From here we see Sarah’s chaotic descent into darkness as she tries to find a way to make her husband succumb to his past attractions of her. Yet there’s a slight disconnect between going from that to how she eventually gets him to make love to her… What seems to do the trick is for her to start slicing parts of her body off and becoming a sexualised bloody mess. Her sense of desperation is so sickening, and intensified by years of resentment towards her husband that she feels the only way to be attraction to him again is to destroy herself in order to transform into a barely recognisable version of herself. 

Cutting Moments - disturbing and gory horror film, man castrating himself

The culmination of the short horror film ends in detailed self-mutilation as a form of foreplay; both Patrick and Sarah reconnect their sexual desires through through graphic desecration of the human body. Through this they finally find their reckoning of gratification, and conjoin their souls in one horrifically bloody mess of desperation, confusion, personal disgust and a bleak platter of other melancholy emotions. Cutting Moments really is a film that slices through in terms of how bleak it is; not once does it stop to let the audience have a breather from the depressing family life that is imagined. There’s a lot to be said about a film that has been recommended by none other than director Gaspar Noe, who is known for his exceptionally brutal film Irreversible. Although not a thirty minutes you’ll want to find time for again, it’s a short extreme horror film that should be watched by anyone who is a fan of the sub-genre. It shows how you can combine disturbing taboo issues that play to the audience’s psychological fears, while also satisfying the needs of those with a macabre fetish for gore. 

Verdict: 4 out of 5

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