When I first started Scary Film Review, many years before, I didn’t always review straightforward horror movies. I found that many mainstream thrillers were just as scary if not more horrified than modern horror. Every now and then I’ll run into a mainstream mystery, thriller, or drama that has a subject matter that is worthy of the Scary Film Review blog. That was the case with the following movie. 8MM came out in 1999 and it was directed by the guy that ruined the Batman franchise, but somehow, this Nicolas Cage film brought elements of horror to the mainstream in a way that should have been on par with “The Silence of the Lambs” but probably filtered out somehow. Join me today in a review of 3 elements that were scary in the Joel Shumacher film “8MM”.
SNUFF – The first thing that you’ll notice about this film is the subject matter. The movie is about a detective that is looking for a girl that could’ve been murdered in a snuff film. Now, I have talked about the genre in the past, and even saw a documentary about this. Is it real? Well, many people still swear that they have seen one, but honestly, there have not been a lot of real snuff movies available to the public. Hardcore, porn, and ultra violence, sure, but real snuff? That’s something that scares many people, and only serial killers have been known to distribute and record their stuff. That being said, the subject matter of the film shows clips of ultra violence and if you’re squeamish, you will flinch, as they are prominent and urgent to the story’s main plot.
Slavery – The second horror element that you’ll find in this film is a mix of violence and sex within the adult industry. Our hero, in this case a private detective, finds himself in the world of underground pornography, and he’s not sure what he’s getting into, until he is in too deep. Does this exist? Yes. I’ve seen many a CNBC special and even worked at an independent video store, and a small stint in the adult industry while I was in college. There is in fact sex trafficking, deviance, and a major criminal element within the adult industry that many people don’t know about. That is shown here in a very “comical” way at times, but it’s not something that is completely fictitious. It becomes truly scary to know that sex trafficking, kidnapping, and murder are all part of the pornography industry, even though many refuse to read, or know about it.
Missing Persons – The scariest thing about this movie is how hard it hits home for people. I am not a victim of this, but I do know several people that have gone missing. A friend of mine disappeared once, and a few years later resurfaced as a bum on the streets. For years his family searched for him and he was nowhere to be found. What happened? For all I know he decided to walk away. But how many girls, and young boys are taken away and either murdered or kept in someone’s basement with mothers and fathers waiting for them? This element is sad, and is a catalyst for the plot mid-way through the film.
8MM takes a slow moving plot and shifts into high gear in the third and fourth act. The movie is not without comical flaws, and over reaction moments with Nic Cage, but there are some serious sick and twisted elements. In the hands of a “horror” director, this movie would have seriously taken a more macabre road. However, you get just enough tinges of serious shock to make this one more than just a thriller, and categorize it into a “scary” film. If you've seen it already, give it one more go with new eyes, and you might enjoy it more this time around.
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