"One classic sequence of amazing gore...preceded by 75 minutes of dreary yap"
Alexander Pope’s famous quote “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” can easily be augmented to read “Half-assed social commentary is an obnoxious thing” - and Brian Yuzna’s "Society" would be a perfect example.Dreary suburban drama with a goopy horror finale, Society seems to be about a whole lot of ideas – when in truth it presents one or two pedestrian concepts and then repeats them ad nauseum.
Teenagers often feel alienated and alone, particularly in relation to their parents. OK, that’s easy.
The upper class feeds on the lower, only this time literally. OK, got it.
Modern society is a merciless, amorphous mass that abhors freedom and individuality. Mmmhmm, fine.
Now imagine these simplistic platitudes being bandied about by bad actors for 100 minutes, capped off by an orgy of ridiculously gore shunting.
Oh wait, I forgot about the shunting. This is where a whole crew of the ‘society’ gets together and collectively melt into a ball of flesh-colored goo. This extended sequence would undoubtedly be effectively creepy – were it not for the abysmally timed attempts at humor. (The first 90 minutes of the film are a dry and laughless bore, so why director Yuzna chose to jam some juvenile humor into the film’s only effective horror is simply beyond me – and I know I’m not the only horror fan who’s wondered the exact same thing.)
Similar in theme to Bob Balaban’s (vastly superior) Parents, Society charts the slow-moving adventures of one teenaged ‘outsider’ in a town full of, well, everyone else – except a few nerds who know the truth and soon die because of it. We’re not given any sort of satisfactory explanations, but it seems that the Society has been around for a very long time...and they eat poor people. Well, shunt anyway. Eventually young Bill Whitney suspects that things are…amiss at home. Of course he’s entirely correct, and the 85 consecutive minutes of clue-searching yield precisely zero real surprises.
The last ten minutes of Society are sort of famous in the annals of low-budget horror. The goopy and quivering metamorphoses (courtesy of Screaming Mad George and his crew) are certainly worthy of a look if you’re a fan of screaming mad gore. Some see a truly disturbing sequence; others see wet silliness. I’d find it difficult to recommend ANY movie based solely on a ten-minute finale, but in this case I don’t have to worry about it, since very little about Society is worthy of a strong recommendation.
For those who disagree and find Society a piece of pop culture brilliance, you’ll find an audio commentary with director Brian Yuzna – who clearly agrees with you. One might expect a splatter director to have some kind of funny bone, but Yuzna rambles on sonorously about how deep his movie is......although it’s kinda tough to see the depth while you’re hearing dialogue from a talking anus, but there you have it.