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Lung II (2016)


August 8, 2017 - 5:56am | Ryan Tutolo

Your rating: None Average: 6 (1 vote)
Reviewer Rating: 
6
Review Lung II 2016-1.jpg

Rating #: 
6/10
Director: 
Phil Stevens
Runtime: 
74 minutes
Cast: 
Phil Stevens, David Chopping, Samantha Coppola


Full disclosure: Lung II was produced by UHM message board members “Woodenheart” and “Splat” though I do my best to keep my opinions impartial.

Horror is not a single style of film. Horror can be trashy, artistic, subversive, gory, psychological, and sometimes it can be all of the above. Phil Steven’s Lung II is certainly a combination of many aspects of the horror genre. First and foremost it is an underground extreme film. Copious amounts of blood and guts are present. The movie opens with a visceral scene of a faceless character mutilating a corpse in hacking, cutting, pulling, techniques that would surely make a butcher squirm. More so than just gore the movie quickly moves on to more subversive scenes of a forest with urban landscape trickling through much like the stream shown in many shots. The back and forth of both beauty and decay play off each other until both the main character and the viewer are unraveling the mystery of the initially confusing scenes and putting the puzzle pieces of the story together.



Our main character is a wandering patient covered in blood with a hospital bracelet still attached to his hand. He roams around the woods and into the city in a seemingly drunken stupor and comes across some morbid scenes and dead bodies along the way. With them come hallucinations/visions of visceral gore and abstract art creations. He makes his way back to his home where he discovers more of the same, and a particularly gruesome scene inside his refrigerator involving a mass of sexual organs. Also, throughout the film, our unnamed character is pulling bits of glass from himself and often has visions of an older heavyset man and beautiful women butchered. I won’t go into any more details because we would be getting into spoiler territory, but the movie explains many scenes (at least in a metaphorical sense) as the running time ticks down.



So everything I’ve written may seem esoteric, but the Lung II is itself esoteric. You have to want to figure out what is happening to actually figure out what is happening. The movie does not spoon feed info to you. It plays with many themes like the artistic side of horror (beautiful scenery and camera work) vs. the brutal side of horror (gore and shaky cam). Some of these are spelled out further like the imagery of the main character seeing the literal gore and torn flesh, and then creating artwork via hand-painting. Another interesting aspect of the film is the soundtrack, or lack thereof. There is no real “score” in this other than instrument notes meant to highlight particular tense or interesting moments. Instead a low creepy noise background is played to keep the viewer unsettled. There’s also no real dialog in the movie really playing to the arthouse aspect of Lung II. It’s also shown in a near-black and white pallet with a tiny bit of sepia to give it a rusty, grimy feel.

It’s not entirely praiseworthy though. Some props seem to be slapped together quickly (specifically some “MISSING” posters our main character comes across). Also, a couple shots of the unidentifiable flesh masses are a little too rubbery for such a brutal film. These complaints are likely more budgetary than actual execution, still these could have improved the viewing experience.


 
For those horror fans that haven't seen an extreme gore or underground film, they often feature copious amounts of mutilation (often using actual meat for their shots) and usually have very low budgets which can often lead to weak acting and a lackluster story. Talking about the gore and special effects, they’re intense though I’ve seen worse, but if you more into something like a ghost movie instead of a true splatter film Lung II will be a little intense for the average viewer.  Acting-wise, Lung II has no problems due to leaving out the dialog and having our main character (Stevens himself) in a daze most of the time. As for the story, it’s non-linear and often has callbacks that aren’t spoon-fed to the viewer instead relying on an audience that actually pays attention to what’s going on. This isn’t a movie you can put on in the background while you're making dinner, it honestly requires your undivided attention.

Would I recommend Lung II to every horror fan? No. However I would recommend it to anyone willing to dip their toes into the extreme side and don’t mind some metaphors and art spilling into their gore. While it’s well done, it does slip into the pretentious side from time to time, but still worth checking out as long as you don't forget your barf bags.

Author Information

Ryan Tutolo's picture
Ryan Tutolo is a horror movie lover and host of the UHM Podcast. Follow him on Twitter and let him know why his reviews suck!

https://twitter.com/ryantutolo
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