“American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice” is a bloody, brutal, and ultimately brilliant film that proves women can deliver the gore goods as well as the men.
Something that I was yearning for in the Unearthed Films Universe finally happened; a woman sat in the Director’s Chair and helped create another brutal addition to the infamous American Guinea Pig series — and one of the most gloriously uncomfortable films I have ever sat through.
I am most definitely a fan of the depraved, gory, uncompromising films that many steer very clear from. There is just something about extreme horror that is so alluring to me. There are tons of female horror fans, we even sometimes outnumber men in genre box office sales, but when it comes to preferring this caliber of filmmaking, our numbers do tend to dwindle. So, for a lifelong horror fan that gravitates towards the gore, I was more than ready to experience the newest member to the American Guinea Pig family, Sacrifice.
Unearthed Films alumni and the filmmaker responsible for Red Krokodil (2012), Domiziano Cristopharo asked his good friend and actress Sarah Rouge (aka Poison Rouge), whom he met years prior on a sideshow named Bloody Cabaret, to lend her talents to his and screenwriter Samuel Marolla’s story of Daniel in Sacrifice (which he also produces).
“Yes, they exist. Dark places exist, I’ve been there. They’re hidden deep inside…”
American Guinea Pig: Sacrifice is a gut-wrenching watch as we follow the horrendous self harm one young man named Daniel decisively inflicts upon himself.
Daniel (Roberto Scorza) begins with an inner monologue filled with dread and despair. We, as the audience, are given so little to what exactly tortures the young man. But know enough through his demeanor that he is a soul wandering aimlessly in this mortal coil, and he wants the fuck out. Daniel is damaged goods you could say and has had his fill of what this life has to offer.
But his demise will not be simple nor plain. In an effort to go out with the fulfillment of achieving self-enlightenment, Daniel embarks on a bloody journey to gain the respect of the Goddess Ishtar (Flora Giannattasio).
Rouge and company definitely earned my respect with this relentless, gore-filled spectacle. Despite ‘Sacrifice”s scant 63 minute run time, I was left satisfied and horrified. Rarely do I look to the side to see how my viewing companion is faring. But in this case, I found myself doing just this on more than one occasion. Rouge’s intuition for where our focus is and needs to be is spot on and deserves to be commended.
Daniel enters his previous home, up the marble steps, and into the beautiful blue tiled bathroom that highlight the hue of his eyes. Tools are laid out, candles lit, and a certain unspoken but breathtaking fortitude is met within Daniel as he looks into the mirror at himself.
His first and notable self mutilation is a nasty gash to the palm of his hand that he begins to suggestively tongue tingle as if he was going down on a beautiful woman. He leaves himself short amounts of time between each infliction of exquisite, extreme self harm before he begins another — leaving little room for us as an audience to recover from what we just saw, and unholy fuck is it something to behold.
Daniel, regardless of time spent between mutilations, appears to savor each. His level of commitment to continue to inflict such horrific self mutilation is beyond impressive as is the effects in this Unearthed Films gem provided by Alessandro Alto and Athanasius Pernath.
Sacrifice provides profound gore, a perfect score courtesy of Alexander Cimini accompanied by realistic scenes of penis mutilation, skull screwdriving, maggots slithering within wounds, and toenail extractions.
Much like her friend’s film Red Krokodil, Sacrifice also involves a lonely man within a bathroom in his tighty whities, meticulously crafting his self demise. Each film possesses a power that is hard to articulate. It is difficult to watch a fellow human suffer so much when you yourself can empathize on multiple levels. The world has a tendency to not be kind and not wait up for those that have been dealt a raw hand or who have not been adequately equipped with the coping skills needed to survive.
Although it drove me a bit mad to not know the exact nature of Daniel’s abuse and what drove him to be so adamant about his conclusion, I still felt compelled to follow his journey wholeheartedly throughout the movie.
Sacrifice is home to some really astounding cinematography from Cristopharo, with a transition shot that made me rewind the movie to experience it again. Poison Rouge’s film will make you cringe and clap (if you’re a fan of gore). More importantly, it will leave you in awe of what you just viewed. The obvious and effective rapport between Poison and Domiziano is something I hope we can all see again, because Sacrifice is something I won’t soon forget.