Stomach (2019) is an Italian horror film that is sauced in buckets of blood and sprinkled with gratings of psychological horror. Director Alex Visani has no qualms about exploring sex and violence, and with some truly nasty gross-out gore, this splatterfest was quite the sensory experience. From Italian indie distributor HomeMovie, Stomach has recently been reprinted and is available via DVD and BluRay.
Fabio Carlani stars as Alex, a quiet, introverted man who spends his days working in a warehouse oppressed by bullies, as well as dealing with his mentally and physically crippling stomach pains. His only solace from his lonely nights of nightmares and haunting voices is being in the presence of his coworker, Anna (Ingrid Monacelli), a nice young woman of their rural town. When one day Alex is fired from his job, he drinks himself into such a stupor that he experiences his worst fevered dream yet — seeing his pain manifest in tangible and terrifying ways. When neither his doctor nor a popular psychic can help, Alex takes matters into his own hands in order to save himself and the one person he cares about.
At first, Stomach starts out feeling like Tommy Wiseau (The Room) was trying to direct a David Cronenberg script, but once I got through half of the movie, Stomach turned into an absolutely emotionally and anatomically gut-wrenching film. Artsy and surreal scenes of Alex’s nightmares show Stomach to have all the makings of a serious psyche-horror screenplay, and it slowly becomes more horrific as the death toll rises and the twist ending is realized. Stomach shines when its narrative floats into dreamy sequences, and even more so in its unflinchingly graphic and visceral scenes. These scenes are few and far between, however, their use of body horror was mesmerizing and often left me squirming in my seat.
Stomach‘s monster sure knew how to tear people apart, but the film missed out on opportunities to rev up the design of this demonic creature; some sort of CGI, unnatural and awkward body acting, or heavier practical effects makeup was needed. First impressions of the creature were that it looked a little silly with his underwhelming design of body paint and a bald-cap. Luckily, as the creature became drenched in the blood of more and more of its victims it became a menacing figure. The horrors of rape are depicted in the way that reminded me of Rosemary’s Baby (1968), and also, with Alex’s illness not taken seriously by his doctors, that could be a commentary on lack of care in rural communities. As his pain could be what very well drives Alex to madness, the fallout of healthcare neglect is a rise in the death toll, whether it is death by murder or death by malaise. Stomach‘s layered nuances and its fast-paced edited shots made this film a very entertaining watch.
Stomach is obviously a low budget film, but it has flashes of greatness with artfully gruesome shots, and its pacing is like a rolling stone, picking up speed along the way. At times I was reminded of John Carpenter’s disgusting creature designs, and the level of violence in this film is beyond compare. Watch what you can just about stomach in Alex Visani’s graphic body horror film, Stomach (2019).
MOVIE RATING — 6.5 out of 10 ☠️
|Runtime:||1 hr 15Mins.|