That's the saddest thing I've ever seen. On many levels.His house has been vandalized, the police are useless - sounds like it's time for Jakob to go on a killing spree! But, no. This is a classy British film. Vinson Pike is not the sort of lowest-common-denominator filmmaker who just rushes into senseless violence without proper regard for storytelling. So he has Jakob make tea out of his pet goldfish. Yep, in his blind rage over the atrocity of the poop in his bathtub, Jakob forgot all about his beloved pets and failed to notice they were not in their bowl. Nor did he think to look inside his teapot before brewing up a nice hot cuppa. It's not until he pours himself some tea that he notices a distinct fishy aroma. But even that is not enough to turn Jakob into a whirlwind of righteous fury. No, he just quietly buries his goldfish in a tiny fish grave, marked with a tiny fish cross, and tries to get on with his life.
Then the hooligans make the worst mistake of their lives. They forget that you can harass a man day-in and day-out, you can break into his house, you can wreck his belongings, you can bake a loaf in his bathtub, you can trick him into killing his own pets, but if you dare try the old flaming bag of dog poo trick, you've just crossed a very dangerous line.
How embarassing for you.With every fire-safety-conscious stomp into the canine butt bombs, Jakob can feel himself slipping further and further into madness. The very next night he embarks on a murderous rampage. Admittedly, it gets off to a shaky start. One of the hooligans drunkenly wanders into his yard and starts peeing into Jakob's fountain. While the teen relieves himself (the first of several explicit shots of men going to the bathroom, by the way), Jakob comes up behind him, intent on having some very cross words with the young man. Very cross indeed! As luck would have it, though, Jakob startles the teen, causing him to topple over and smack his head on the stone fountain, killing him and causing the fountain to immediately begin spewing up a torrent of blood. It also, evidently, causes one of Jakob's garden gnomes to flip the bird to no one in particular. It's little touches like these that help us understand that Jakob is not quite of sound mind, or at least, they would if Vinson Pike even tried to use them consistently. Anyway, it's not so much an intentional murder, but once Jakob has a moment to think it over, he realizes that the whole thing actually worked out to his liking. Words are great, but murder is a lesson they'll never forget! Because they'll be dead! Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha! Oh - I mean - mmm, yes, quite.
Perhaps the biggest help to Jakob's bloody swath of vengeance is not that he finds murder quite enjoyable, but the simple fact that these teenagers are incredibly easy to kill. That first guy went down easy, and the next few aren't any tougher. Jakob happens to walk in on two teens as they are coming down the stairs inside his house, presumably fresh from turding up his bathtub again. Jakob beats one to death with a flimsy cane and knocks the other one unconscious by looking at him hard. Then he hangs the unconscious one in his cellar. It is worth noting that neither of these deaths produces so much as a drop of blood. In fact, no other death in this movie features any blood at all. I guess they used up their supply of fake blood between the ridiculously fluid-intensive "guy hitting his head while peeing" death and the gore-tacular flashback sequences.
This picture is inevitably going to be the high point of my career. I feel ... strangely empty.Now, if I was a hooligan - and I'm not; those days are behind me - this is probably around the time that I would start to rethink my daily plans of loitering on Jakob's property. Three of my friends have gone missing, all of whom were last seen on their way to do something horrible at Jakob's house. There must be some other place we could all hang out. But no, the teens just keep coming back. Two of them try to burn down Jakob's toolshed in the night, but he kills one of them with a pickaxe to the face (again, no blood), then forces the other to drink gasoline until he collapses. Then he pours gasoline over both of them and lights them on fire, which evidently burns both the bodies to nothing more than skeletons, but leaves their sneakers and the grass around their bodies totally unharmed. Pretty neat, huh?
A woman from Jakob's church named Debbie drops by the house to see him. Now, this is one of the moments, and there are many, where what is advertised on the DVD and what is actually delivered in the film differ. The DVD packaging claims that Jakob is a "misfit" who "shunned the world around him," and basically makes him out to be the loneliest guy on the planet. I'm not saying that Debbie is the hottest woman in the world, but she's certainly not bad by English standards. And it's not like Jakob is going to do much better, considering he's a grown man with a face like a ham and a neck full of zits. And she clearly wants to do him. I mean, come on, they know each other from church, and if there's anything that we've learned from Jamie Lynn Spears, it's that church is a great place to score. (Author's note: goddamn, I'm funny!)
Take her, Jakob! You'll never do better! Take her now!Debbie is frightened by the rapscallions hanging out in front of Jakob's place, but Jakob comforts her. No, not with his penis. As she walks home, though, Debbie is accosted by two female teens, who proceed to beat the crap out of her for having the audacity to carry a purse that appears to be made out of sequins and pain. The whole beating (which, of course, has no blood) is set to some relaxing smooth jazz. I know what Vinson Pike is trying to do here. He's hearkening back to a far superior British film, the infamous "Singin' in the Rain" scene from A Clockwork Orange. Watching a brutal rape scene while hearing the main character sing "Singin' in the Rain" is a disturbing experience that haunts you for nights to come. Watching two teenage skanks beat up some random church lady to smooth jazz is just irritating.
Beaten and upset, Debbie crashes at Jakob's place, which is, of course, where the hooligans all hang out. Perhaps if she wants to avoid them, she should find someplace else to recuperate. Still, seeing Debbie injured fuels Jakob's rage, as does seeing the teens harass a random motorist who happens to be passing by Jakob's house. Seriously, there's a five minute scene with the teens getting in the way of some guy's car, and a passer-by breaking them up. Neither the motorist nor the passer-by appear again in the movie.
Jakob exacts vengeance for Debbie's mistreatment by stalking a girl who had nothing to do with her beating. Or with the motorist, for that matter. She's really just one of the various background hooligans. Jakob chases her through some woods until she reaches a road and is hit by a truck. That's another death that's not really caused by Jakob, but you just know he counts it as his own.
Jakob wakes up in the middle of the night to find two punks smashing his car. These people just don't learn, do they? You'd think that by this point they'd be questioning the wisdom of continually torturing this guy.
Hooligan 1: "Oy mate, I haven't seen like half our chums around lately."
Hooligan 2: "Right, tosser! Seems a bit fishy, what."
Hooligan 1: "That it does, me old bean. I'll tell you what I think it is."
Hooligan 2: "Do go on, me lad."
Hooligan 1: "I think it's this old sod we've been terrorizing for the past few years. I think he's killing us off one by one, he is."
Hooligan 2: "Blimey! What do you suppose we should do?"
Hooligan 1: "Well it's bleedin' obvious, isn't it? We need to keep acting like complete tits, mate. Trust me, with our reduced numbers and easy killability, pissing this guy off more is the smartest thing we can do."
Hooligan 2: "Bloody hell, it seems like someone is beating me to death with a brick."
Hooligan 1: "Cor!"
TOTAL WRECK - crazy-eyed hound is covered in cobwebs, has a vespiary on back, graffiti on side and savage thirst for boat fuel. Frankly, I'm in over my head. He's in room 115 at Motel 6, yours free. 555-2851
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
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