If a movie could be a hate crime, Chaos is it. It’s like Birth of a Nation without the artistic merit. It was originally slated as a remake of Wes Craven’s seminal Last House on the Left, but pompous writer/director David DeFalco felt that his film was original enough to stand on its own. It’s not. It’s a complete and utter rip-off.
Two girls (one innocent, one experienced) are murdered by a group of baddies (two bad guys, one bad gal and the reluctant kid of the gang leader) who then stop by a house when their car breaks down, not realizing that the people in the house are the parents of one of the slain girls. Sound familiar? (Granted, Last House took the premise from Bergman’s The Virgin Spring.) Even the movie posters copped Last House‘s tag of “It’s only a movie.”
DeFalco apparently thought that the bad guys in the original weren’t bad enough, though, and made them racists as well. Oh, and the sheriff who’s supposed to help rescue the girls? Racist too. How did Donald Trump not get a part in this movie?! All of the racism comes to light because the featured, “innocent” girl, Emily (Chantal Degroat), is black. Her mother (Deborah Lacey) is black, and her father (Scott Richards) is white. And while it’s nice to see a black lead in a horror movie, in Chaos‘s case, I’d just as soon have it star a pack of llamas.
You see, not only does DeFalco feel the need to make the criminals even uglier than in Last House, he feels it would somehow add value if they actually got away with their crimes. At least, the main bad guy (Kevin Gage, whose character’s name is…Chaos?) does — meaning we spend the whole movie building up animosity towards him, and there’s no payoff, none of the parental vengeance that Last House fans enjoyed so much, leading one to believe that this film is celebrating racism, misogyny and criminality.
To top it off, Chaos has a bloated sense of self worth, trumpeting itself as “the most brutal film ever made.” Not only is this claim woefully over-exaggerated, but the two-faced filmmakers who flout its supposed graphic appeal on an entertainment level at the same time tack on a flimsy “purpose” for the violent realism, stating in a prologue that the movie “is intended to be as disturbing as the subject matter it depicts in order to educate and perhaps save lives.” Yeah, right. In truth, Chaos is the equivalent of filming puppies being cooked in a microwave as a warning for people not to put their puppies in a microwave.
Plus, it’s not as brutal nor as impactful as the film it so freely copies. It’s not the most brutal film of the year (The Proposition anyone?), much less the most brutal film of all time. While Last House on the Left, flawed as it was, sought to push the envelope by portraying violence in all of its ugliness and by showing something on screen that had yet to be seen, Chaos can claim none of these things.
Such exploitation has been done to death (pardon the pun) since Last House came out in 1972. Chaos is just sensationalizing it, trying to profit from depravity in a juvenile attempt at one-upsmanship, and any claims to the contrary are ridiculous. And, as if the filmmakers’ immaturity and shallowness wasn’t obvious enough, DeFalco and douchebag producer Steven Bernheim spend 15 minutes of the DVD special features whining about a bad review the film got from Roger Ebert. (His being married to a black woman probably didn’t help its chances.)