Hung Jury (Video 1994)

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Hung Jury (Video 1994). 1h 50m

“Unusually good for a W. A. V. E. feature, HUNG JURY still does plenty to prove thatu0026#39;s a sliding scale. Nevertheless, for a company whose u0026quot;filmsu0026quot; are most frequently identifiable by long scenes of characters wandering around doing nothing, itu0026#39;s surprisingly engaging and moves at an impressive clip, featuring several moments of shocking carnage.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eStarting out in a 1974 that looks very much like then-present u0026#39;94, JURY begins with a local creep accidentally drowning his neighbor while trying to steal her purse. Quickly arrested, he vows revenge while awaiting his execution by hanging (in 1974?!).u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eIn its first baffling misstep, the film completely omits the trial to whose participants the subsequent 90 minutes will refer. Following the execution, weu0026#39;re next subjected to a disorienting barrage of almost non-stop murders for the next half hour, with a seemingly inexhaustible array of characters wandering on-camera and getting offed by some unseen assailant. The film is actually rolling along just fine like this (itu0026#39;s the best part by a mile), but, in baffling misstep number two, it then introduces a TEN LITTLE INDIANS-style murder mystery an hour in and whisks a group of new participants off for a murderous island getaway.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe subsequent hour drags, though is still far less stultifying than the inscrutable DEAD NORTH from a few years earlier. Weu0026#39;ve already gotten the sense, given a straight-to-camera dialogue scene with the killeru0026#39;s mother following his demise, that the perpetrator in u0026#39;94 is an offspring of his, but the film nevertheless strings out the mystery of the culprit to little effect, before vexingly revealing the perpetrator an hour in and re-centering the mystery around his or her motivation. Similarly robbing the plot of immediacy, the people being killed arenu0026#39;t actually the judge, jury, and bailiffs from the trail, but *their* progeny, meaning this is a film about a character with no personal injury getting someone elseu0026#39;s revenge on a bunch of people who didnu0026#39;t actually do anything to either of them. This revenge-by-proxy element robs the story of impact (what little there could have been given the dire lack of filmmaking skill on display) – though complaining about that is much like complaining an extra minute on the grill ruined the your McDonaldu0026#39;s cheeseburger: end result was never going to be that good anyway.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWhat the film does have going for it is the unique, peevish energy that W. A. V. E. brings to most of its productions. Not an out-and-out fetish tape like the majority of their films, HUNG JURY is nevertheless more than happy to indulge its predilections from time to time, featuring several extended hogtie-strangulation (a company signature) and bathtub electrocution murders that go on *way* longer than the rest of the killings and are clearly the product of someoneu0026#39;s beautiful dark twisted fantasy. The movieu0026#39;s total willingness to stop its narrative cold for these moments of excess are the main contributor to whatever shock value it has, and several other scenes emerge as similarly, startlingly sadistic – a late-film barn crucifixion becomes almost unwatchably grotesque, saved only by the fact its effects are so bad theyu0026#39;re almost laughable.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eLike all W. A. V. E. films, this is no great shakes, but it *is* the company at its best if youu0026#39;re looking for something you can throw on and have a few laughs at in mixed company, rather than PSYCHO CANNIBAL DANCE QUEEN or some other weirdo u0026quot;specialtyu0026quot; tape that would surely send any even halfway-normal human running for the hills. HUNG JURY is absolutely turbo-charged in its opening 45 minutes, a non-stop bargain-basement slash-a-thon that eventually curdles into a somnolent riff on Agatha Christie thrillers as conceived by a perverted 13-year-old. Thatu0026#39;s not exactly high praise, but for a specific type of cracked cinema aficionado, itu0026#39;s the kind of weird vibe that inevitably pulls us back.”


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