Genres and classifications can get film critics in so much trouble. Laying a title on any given film is something that can often be easy or secondhand when trying to best describe the type of film a movie most often fits alongside, but on rare occasion there are films that completely and utterly dodge this issue completely. In the case of The Defiled, it is a film that seems to fit into several categories rather aptly, but at the same time it’s hard to imagine it fitting in any one single department. A post-apocalyptic story that reminds us earnestly of the zombie film genre, The Defiled is also an interesting title for its very clever arthouse aesthetics. I will get to this in a moment, but regardless of its place within the world of genres and categories, The Deviled is a confrontational film that differs highly from the "norm". Does that make it "good", well, it will all depend on the viewer!
In a post-apocalyptic world gone mad, a viral infection has left the population divided. There are those who are infected, and a slim number who are not. Deep in a forest setting we are introduced to a family of those who are infected, and we see precisely what this disease has reverted humanity to. This bizarre family unit has degenerated into cannibals who hunt for the uninfected. Like animals, they communicate through unintelligible grunts and their bodies have been left riddled with open sores that do not heal. When this family finds a body lying in the woods, they bring it back home for dinner where the father figure prepares a meal for his family. After his family enjoys their cannibalistic feast they soon become ill and the father figure has to watch as his family dies around him. He helps his wife, who was pregnant at the time, deliver their son and he is soon walking the land with his new child. When he stumbles upon an uninfected woman who is captured by a group of these "zombies" who are looking to make her into lunch, he ends up helping the young woman and the two begin a strange travel through this odd world.
The first thing any audience member should be warned of is the patience you will need for a film like The Defiled. The film is shot so that it faintly resembles older silent films, especially those that were tinted with unusual colors and featured dark or morbid lighting, especially some German expressionistic films. Similar to those films, there is no audible dialogue within The Defiled. Although it isn’t silent, there are no characters who speak English for us to latch onto. We spend the majority of the film primarily dealing with the infected father-figure and his child. We generally understand the flow of the plot by watching the characters react to one another with physical gestures and grunts. Although this isn’t an entirely new concept, as there have even been a decent number of silent independent films recently, but the way that filmmaker Julian Grant handles his concept is admirable. He never blatantly tells his audience what he is referencing, if he is indeed referencing anything, but instead presents his story in a very matter-of-fact manner. This is presented as the only real way for him to tell his story. There is a mix of artistry and true genre-film adoration at work here in The Defiled, and while it is a hard movie to recommend there are still enough elements floating around that make it a genuinely interesting project. To get an idea for your expectations, The Defiled is a mix of both Night of the Living Dead as well as Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker. It of course doesn’t reach the pinnacles of pure visual brilliance that Tarkovsky’s work often did, but it has a similar slow moving reliance on visuals as opposed to dialogue in order to tell its story. The Defiled is a very different sort of movie and for what it is, I really enjoyed the harrowing story that it attempted to tell. A dark and grim epic portrayal of humanity, as painted by a madman. When you can describe your project in such terms, of course it has to be interesting! You can read more about the film via the official blog
or the distribution company releasing the film via