A violent and desperate journey in the life of Alex, a guy who lives in a desolate country place. He’s surrounded by rough and violent people and every day they don’t miss an opportunity to torment him. But inside Alex there is something wrong, something that pushes to get out. Something that is bloodthirsty.
From the mind of Italian writer-director, Alex Visani, comes the gut-wrenching horror film, Stomach. Starring Fabio Carlani (Alex) and Ingrid Monacelli (Anna), Stomach teeters somewhere between a number of genres: creature, body horror, psychological, slasher…It is a twisted, dark and visceral journey of gory madness that will leave you hungry for more.
Stomach follows the morbid tale of Alex, a handsome yet lonely man who lives alone on a gorgeous Italian estate. Not seemingly in need of money, Alex works menial blue-collar jobs to presumably keep himself occupied. Little known to his knuckle-dragging colleagues, Alex also harbours a dark secret; one that he does not quite understand himself. Once the workplace bullying goes from pranks to full-blown violence, Alex simply isn’t able to stomach it anymore.
Ok, enough of the playful puns for now, let us get down to the meat (I’m sorry, I really cannot help myself). As mentioned earlier, the film has a hard time fitting neatly into a single sub category, instead choosing to be smorgasbord of horror essentials…a taste of everything, so to speak. There is a creature or sorts, but the film still focuses more on Alex than his “offspring.” Saying more than that would be giving too much away so let’s stay clear of spoilers briefly and focus on what’s good and what’s not.
I liked that Visani chose not to hold back. The movie is gory, bold and sometimes hard to stomach. There’s rape, murder, viscera, and cannibalism—sometimes in pretty quick succession. I’d like to say that it was all tastefully done, but it wasn’t. It is more akin to an exploitation film than it is to some arty indie flick, and I’m totally down with that. There was one point where seeing the creature’s underwear kind of broke my suspension of disbelief but I was otherwise engrossed.
*Spoilers in the next paragraph*
The film seems to be a play on the Freudian id, ego and superego and Alex’s battle to balance the three. Is the creature his id that he simply can’t control? Are his animal desires to kill and need to feed simply stronger than his superego? Visani is definitely exploring the relationships between our base instincts and our denial or suppression thereof, even going so far as to relate the suppression of these base desires as physical pain. Then there’s also Alex’s own identity crisis, his relationship with Anna, and his role as saviour. Or have I missed the message completely and its all about inner demons wishing to break free?! Who knows? What is important here is that the film is more than just mindless violence, it is an exploration of the darker sides of the psyche.
*End of spoilers*
The production value isn’t exactly Hollywood, but the film is far from B-grade. It is incredibly well made, well-acted and a wild ride. I enjoy good indie cinema and this is one of the best I’ve watched this year (and we’ve all probably watched quite a bit this year). I really can’t critique anything in particular as Stomach really did check all those boxes. It may seem a little overacted at times and perhaps a little cheesy now and then, but that—for me—absolutely added to the charm. It’s very stylised and has an early 90s feel to it, which again just adds to the appeal for me. It is a little retro and I like that. Thanks for reading and as always, stay sordid. Trailer and poster below.
Site founder. Horror enthusiast. Metalhead.