There’s some sickos out there. One thing people are always going to be fascinated in is murder, an act that most will only experience themselves thankfully second hand in the news and on film. It’s a fascination that has led to a huge interest in serial killers who litter the filmic world and with the likes of Hannibal and Dexter having crossed into the modern zeitgeist. Lurking in the underbelly of what can be looked at as acceptable in the movie mainstream is the snuff film; an act of capturing murder on celluloid and documenting it in all its gory detail. It’s a subject we have explored in detail here and proves to be one of the most popular things we have ever published on this site drawing in hits all the time. Of course in this day and age compared to when films like Michael and Roberta Findlay’s notorious video nasty Snuff (1976) was getting plenty of unwarranted attention it has become much easier due to advances in technology to portray such things in the reel and the real world. Today would anyone really dispute that old age fallacy that snuff films do not truly exist? I doubt it very much.

Cameras have changed from bulky, near unmanageable contraptions that only experienced and dedicated cinematographers can handle into things that even a child can use today. With it has come the rise of the found footage movie which ties in neatly for those who would have a proclivity for filming a murder and watching it over and over again for their own sordid entertainment (something explored in chilling detail in John McNaughton’s Henry Portrait Of A Serial Killer 1986). You no longer have to chase around after a murderer like the crew in Man Bites Dog (1992) but you can go out solo or with a loved one and do it easily yourself. That’s pretty much the principle we have here in Canadian film Capture Kill Release.

Farhang and Jennifer (using real first names Farhang Ghajar and Jennifer Fraser) are an abnormal couple who are seemingly loved up and living in a fantasy world. Looking from the outside everything seems pretty normal and boring about them in their staid world from the way they live to their sex lives but lingering like an elephant in the room are dreams of spicing things up and committing the perfect murder. The camera here is hand held as per found footage movies and we watch everything through their point of view via its lens. Luckily they seem adept at using it and this is not one of those films that is likely to leave you barfing through motion sickness (something I have found occasionally making films like this near impossible to watch). It’s fairly amusing as you watch things progress and get annoyed at their characters as they go through a hardware store, talk too loudly about plans and pick their tools like kids in a candy store. It’s also something that is easily relatable after all who hasn’t been in a relationship like this and plotted such acts out with a partner themselves (err just me then ahem).

Naturally the problem is when one partner wants something more than the other and it becomes more and more apparent that one of this pair is actually truly serious about fulfilling their dream and the other is a mere participant who does not expect it to truly ever happen. This becomes ever more fractured when a stealth mission sees a catnapping and a poor hapless moggy becoming a first kill. Yes no animals were harmed and like you too I find such acts far more reprehensible than killing an actual human. This is a film with very few characters in other than the main duo and those who become their eventual victims. In a way this makes it very difficult to pull off especially when looking behind the scenes and seeing that Jennifer for one is a first time actress as are others involved in the film. I think ultimately though the acting does help draw you in and is convincing, giving you more of an impression that you are watching everyday people who could easily be living next door to you.

How far can a film like this actually go though? Well not really that far as the genre has already well and truly reached its nadir with the excruciating likes of Fred Vogel’s August Underground (2001) a movie that in execution you cannot help but think of as cut from similar cloth. Naturally Capture Kill Release was never going to such excesses as this and the likes of more recent stomach churner Atroz (Lex Ortega 2015). Then again I am sure the film makers would be horrified if people actually looked on their duo as anything more than fantasy figures and included a discussion between them about establishing a moral code so nobody could look on them and utter names such as Hindley and Brady. But still murder is murder and life can be looked upon as cheap no matter what moral code is invoked and the harsh reality of it is far from fantasy as we discover here.

Playing a lot like a relationship drama seasoned gore-hounds are not going to be rubbing their hands together in glee most of the way through this but looking beneath the subtext at the psychological breakdown of the couple themselves. That’s not to say that it is without any splatter and lesson 101 bathtub dismemberment is handled in a suitable mucky fashion that even Joe D’Amato would have been proud of. Effects are not bad at all here and the realistic fix is delivered in all its nauseating glory. It’s easy to see exactly how this film is going to play out but that will not really hamper your enjoyment and I found myself well and truly voyeuristically awaiting for eventual deliverance with a knowing smirk upon my face.

It seems that the directors behind Capture Kill Release have mainly worked in production (McAnulty) and cinematography (Stewart) although the former made Uncle Brian in 2010 involving some of the cast and crew. Although Capture Kill Release strikes as a film that anyone with funds and necessary equipment could probably make I certainly found it more than worthy of attention and wouldn’t dismiss those behind it crafting their art in the future. It’s available on DVD via Eureka from the 25th Sept, grab the popcorn and snuggle up with your lover to watch it but it’s probably best to put the cat out first.

(Pete Woods)