Directed by: Karim Hussain
Written by: Karim Hussain
Stars: Sophie Lauzière, Anne-Marie Belley, Brea Asher... read more

Year: 2000
Genrer: Anthology, Crime, Drama, Horror
Run time: 1h 32 min
My rating: 4 out of 5

Subconscious Cruelty is director Karim Hussain's feature debut, a Canadian arthouse movie that aired between 1994 and 1999. In four welded sequences, our illusions cross the stable points that our existence rests on. Family, love and religion are presented in its most perverted form - even Mother Earth takes part of this vile creativity.

Karim could just as easily be the son of David Cronenberg and David Lynch - They might as well have melted together like a weird mutation and absorbed into the void . This isn't even a classic vintage horror, but rather a surreal journey through a nightmarish world in order to open our eyes to the monster man has become.

It's required that you have an open mind to understand the stories and its meanings, despite the difficulties that may arise. The movie works like a dream - There's no linear structure and the subconscious and the conscious are somewhat blurred along the way. We're alone in the movie and the director gives us an opportunity to interpret it in our own way, and sometimes I find it difficult to determine the movie's main act.

Subconscious Cruelty is about exploring the left and right side of the brain, the difference between fantasy and reality and what would unfold if we ignored the left logical thinking side and thought through a passionate perspective. This is a very scary movie and it has a tendency to intrigue in many ways.

We're thrown into the story of a man and his obsession with creating life. He's fascinated by his pregnant sister. He's worried about her and wants to make love to her after having had a dream where they caress each other. This dream makes him feel disgusted about his sister's pregnancy (and women in general). He forms a plan on how he can mock human birth and become his own god by committing the most heinous crime you can do to a human being - to kill during childbirth.

It's difficult to compile a real plot to this movie, but I think it symbolizes the damage we humans do on earth, and we continue to do so, despite knowing that we are the cause of its destruction. It becomes ambiguous when a group of six people literally make love to Mother Earth - A man digs a hole into the ground and discovers that it's filled with blood, while a woman snaps a branch and it starts to bleed. Then she starts having sex with a knife and imagines that the knife is a penis. All is lost in the passion and she enjoys her blood and feels no pain .

When the last novel reveals itself, we are witnessing a businessman who sees his life go past him. When he goes home and masturbates we peer into his nightmare that includes female genital mutilation. After that part we see how his life becomes a long dream in color and how he slowly turns into a caricature of Jesus and gets eaten alive by three naked female cannibals.

This is one of the best movies I have seen under the slogan "extreme horror", but I'm aware that it's a very divisive movie. It has some very slow and hypnotic undertones and the music by Teruhiko Suzuki takes a big role in the surreal atmosphere. As soon as the first images appear, you understand that you are taking part of something very different. This is a visual audio experiment - a nightmarish journey into a sick mind. Karrim uses powerful imagery and displays it in a very beautiful and creative way. Some will call it junk and some will call it brilliant. Myself, I see no middle ground. I think that Subconscious Cruelty is pretty damn original and I would recommend it to anyone who's brave enough to be able to see it through to the end.


Produced by: Mitch Davis
Cinematography by: François Bourdon, Karim Hussain
Editing by: Karim Hussain
Special Effects by: C.J. Goldman
Music by: Teruhiko Suzuki
Country: Canada
Language: English
Color: Color

Distributor: Another World Entertainment