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Thriller: A Cruel Picture - action/adventure DVD review
Thriller: A Cruel Picture rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America rating: 3 stars
Actors: Christina Lindberg, Heinz Hopf, Despina Tomazani, Per-Axel Arosenius, Solveig Andersson
Director: Bo Arne Vibenius   Studio: Synapse Video
DVD release: 28 Sept. 2004   Runtime: 107 minutes (1 disc)
Format: Color, Dubbed, Limited Edition, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSCC
DVD Features: Subtitles (English, Swedish), Audio Tracks (Swedish), New 16:9 Anamorphic Transfer, Uncut, Uncensored, Rare Behind-the-Scenes Photos, Original TV Spot and Theatrical Trailers, Outtakes, Alternate Harbor Fight Sequence Reconstructed from Rare Vault Materials, THRILLER: A CRUEL LAB MISTAKE, THRILLER: "The Story in Pictures"

This European cult flick hyped by the likes of Quentin Tarantino (and banned in its native Sweden) is one that needs to be seen if you're a fan of the aforementioned director, '70s sleazy exploitation-style movies, or arthouse flicks. The premise is simple: revenge! Frigga (Christina Lindberg) is molested by an old man in the woods, filmed with POV camera angles. The attack leaves her mute (through dialogue we get to know her parents tried their best to get medical help), but nonetheless she grows up to be quite a beautiful young woman. After missing the bus to her speech therapy session, Frigga takes a ride with a shady character named Tony (Heinz Hopf) who drugs her and forces her into prostitution and heroin addiction.

Yes, there is some graphic sexual content (that's a nice way of saying hardcore sex scenes - penetration, full frontal nudity, even a lipstick lesbian thrown in for good measure), but it's not meant to titillate. It's meant to create sympathy for Frigga, and it does it well. For those looking for such content, the DVD put out by Synapse films is dubbed in English and has all the explicit content in it, even the ejaculation scene. Eventually, Frigga gets away and starts to take lessons of all kind - driving, shooting, even karate - in an effort to exact her revenge on the ones who did her wrong.

Written, directed, and produced by Bo Arne Vibenius, Thriller: A Cruel Picture shows some real skill in its stark imagery, especially toward the end when Frigga goes on her rampage. But it's still not for the squeamish, and it is still a rape-revenge flick reminiscent of Deathwish minus Charles Bronson as the lead. Other films in the same vein are I Spit on Your Grave and Last House on the Left, both having more horror elements and neither having explicit sex. Though the rather bad porn inserted into the film adds shock value and pushes this into exploitation realm, that doesn't mean that elements of this flick haven't inspired others. Particularly, the one eyed bandit in Tarantino's Kill Bill films and possibly Lucio Fulci's inspiration for the eye puncturing scene in his cult horror favorite Zombie. Overall, there is plenty of exploitation fun for those seeking this flick out. The only negatives story-wise are the bad porn and Frigga not saying a word.
reviewed by Bobby Blades
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