Ate De Jong's "Deadly Virtues" is a blend of invasion horror and torture porn with an uncomfortable slice of horror-erotica. (At least I hope that last bit is intended-if not I need therapy.) The film stars Edward Akrout, Matt Barber, Megan Maczko, and Helen Bradbury. "Deadly Virtues" is a taut horror film that will make your skin crawl, and put you on edge in what is one terrifyingly dramatic, and emotional story.
Synopsis: A sadistic home invader exploits the relationship of a suburban, middle class couple. Aaron, is a psychopath and expert in Kinbaku, a Japanese fetish art of tying knots. His torture of the husband and seduction of the wife reveals an uncomfortable truth about their marriage and acts as a catalyst for liberation.
Ate De Jong brings Mark Rogers' story of fetish, and horror to life in dark, visceral , sometimes uncomfortable intensity. Normally I pass on films that I consider torture porn, or at least I bail on the film once I get that impression. I am glad that I did not check out on "Deadly Virtues" because it is definitely a tight, methodical nightmare that pushes one to experience that taboo in the horror genre, the eroticism of sexual nightmares. Much like "Straw Dogs (the remake)", this movie goes into those areas and exploits those darker subjects.
"Deadly Virtues" doesn't completely nail it, there are moments that play out almost like cliche of the erotic horror subgenre. At times the energy falters, and certain moments that could have really pushed the horror over the edge are only mediocre. That being said, the characters are developed more than you usually see in these sorts of stories, the subtext is deep and dark, and the acting is captivating enough to cause you to built a very intense connection with the characters. Plus the ending is one that I didn't quite see coming, made me angry until the ending finally played out- an ending that is well worth setting through the sexual overture that runs through "Deadly Virtues", and that sense of discomfort in seeing some of the scenes play out.
Overall, "Deadly Virtues" is worth watching on so many levels. I enjoyed being pushed into less comfortable forays of "what is horror" and "what is erotic". Rogers story balances it nicely and De Jong brings it to scream wonderfully. The special effects are practical, even though they are limited and not a big focal point of the movie. The real focal point of "Deadly Virtues" comes from actually watching the film, experiencing this situation through the eyes of these tragic characters, and that ending. This is one of the better, more elevated torture-porn, exploitation, and modern cult films I have seen in a while.