frankie’s review published on Letterboxd:
It's approaching three years since I attempted to watch this movie, and after years of both logical thoughts and full-fledged flashbacks, I've decided to finalize my opinion on this film so I can move on with my life.
Fuck this movie. It literally has the potential to catalyze, if not cause in and of itself, diagnosable Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. For me, it did in fact catalyze diagnosable, and now chronic, PTSD. The torture in Olga's death scene has the landmarks of the worst parts of most traumatic events that the average trauma survivor experiences. The amount of graphic detail is not something the human brain is actually made to process. For those who have actually witnessed or been subjected to any form of torture or trauma, like myself, this damage that this imagery can cause should be a legal liability for these filmmakers. There is a point where the subconscious is incapable of trying to dismiss imagery and sound as fictional, and the detail of body horror in this film is far beyond that point; moreover, it's not only emotionally dangerous, but laughably purposeless. Why would they expect someone to finish the film? Why would I give a shit about what you have to "say" after that?
I can't believe it's a hot take to say it is irresponsible, shortsighted, inhuman, pretentious, cowardly, and emotionally idiotic to put a graphic scene of someone getting brutally, physically contorted to death over the span of 5+ minutes in a film to be shown to a mass audience. It is, point blank, emotional torture to ask someone to watch someone else undergo that much pain and distress with such disgustingly graphic detail, let alone expect them to watch it, enjoy watching it, or not sue you for medical bills for not giving a warning.
I want my therapy bills since November 12, 2018 paid. It's been almost three years and I still haven't been able to watch even the calmest of movies without my subconscious sending me into debilitating panic for fear of being exposed to witnessing something like that again and invoking the underlying trauma I have experienced.
Those of you who made it through and/or love this movie, please become surgeons or something. You may have unintentionally found your calling, because your brain is Different™️.
Really wish I could have finished this one; it got stellar reviews from everyone whose tastes I trust. However, I was physically unable to make it even through the first half of the film, and had to leave the theater. This movie was physically triggering, and it gave me the worst panic attack and near fainting episode I have ever had, right in the middle of the theater. I was on the verge of fainting for a full three minutes, and couldn't stand up to leave for another fifteen. That was truly an awful experience.
If you are even remotely squeamish or claustrophobic, I highly recommend you don't go to a theater to see this. If you do, be prepared for body horror two orders of magnitude greater than you expect. I (obviously) had underprepared. I have never had a reaction like this during any movie; I have only ever been slightly off-put by body horror. But this is the most fucked thing I have ever watched, and might not be able to ever attempt a rewatch.
On a more subjective/filmmaking note, I really felt that that level of body horror wasn't necessary, especially since the movie gave me no reason to understand why that was necessary before the scene happened. I can't use this to make a full judgement call on the entire movie, but I viscerally feel like that wasn't necessary.
I hope I can watch Luca's next film!