The opening crawl of Chaos informs us, “The film you are about to see is an extreme graphic depiction, based on actual events.” That’s certainly true, if by “actual events” you mean “a movie by Wes Craven.”
You’d likely never have heard of Chaos, you’d probably never have found your way to this review, if not for two critics, both with their hearts in the right place. First up to bat was Roger Ebert, who gave it a no-star review and sparked a public argument with the film’s writer/director David DeFalco and producer Steven Jay Bernheim. Then there was Vern, outlaw reviewer for AICN, whose hilarious summing-up is rightly famous. Both men, however, might’ve done better to let the film die in silence.
Billed as “the most brutal film ever made,” Chaos is actually the most boring movie ever made, especially if you’ve seen Craven’s Last House on the Left, from which this movie steals more or less nonstop. According to legend, Sage Stallone (who owns Grindhouse Releasing) and original Last House star David Hess had wanted to do a legit Last House remake, but then Bernheim came on board and fired Hess and consulting producer Marc Sheffler (also a Last House veteran). The result is an unacknowledged rip-off, right down to the promotional materials.
Chaos, I’ve seen Last House on the Left; I own the DVD of Last House on the Left; Last House on the Left is a favorite of mine. Chaos, you’re no Last House on the Left.
Refer to the plot synopsis of Last House on the Left; it’s the same as Chaos. Two girls go out looking for drugs (weed back then, ecstasy now). They run across a guy (Sage Stallone himself, looking none too thrilled to be stuck in this thing) who promises drugs. The guy leads them back to his crew — his violent, demented dad (Kevin Gage), Dad’s twisted bisexual girlfriend (K.C. Kelly), and another sexual psychopath (Steven Wozniak — not the Apple co-founder, I’m sure). The sadists capture the girls and do hideous things to them. One of the girls’ parents find out, and in this movie’s one real departure from Last House, the parents don’t kill the sadists — the sadists mostly kill each other, the father chainsaws the sexual psycho’s guts out, the cops kill the father (why?), the mother kills one of the cops, and then Chaos, the head bad guy, kills the other cop and the mother and gets away clean. There, I spoiled it for you so that you don’t have to watch it. You’re welcome.
Oh, and the movie distinguishes itself with nipple-severing and nipple-eating, as well as a knife being used to connect one of the girls’ vagina with her rectum. This takes up maybe a minute of the 74-minute running time; the rest is given over to tedium. If you’re renting it for gore, you’d really be better off with the original. Kevin Gage makes a serviceable villain, and the girls shriek piteously enough to offend me on behalf of the actresses who had to emote themselves hoarse for this shit, but otherwise Chaos is a big nothing. There’s the odd touch of making the parents interracial, which serves only to establish that even the cop who’s supposed to be coming to the rescue is a racist.
In his famous review of Caligula, Roger Ebert (who, by the way, gave three and a half stars to Last House on the Left) wrote: “There are no doubt people who believe that if this movie is as bad as I say it is, it must be worth seeing.” And that’s the problem I face with Chaos. It is bad, but not in an enjoyable way; it is violent and squalid, but not in a memorable way. It is a waste of time, a waste of resources, a waste of — for all I know — the talents of the actors, who may well go on to better things (hey, Renee Zellweger survived The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre).
Most of all, it’s a waste of the words I’ve already spent, and a waste of the time you’ve just spent reading about it. It is not worth writing about, reading about, arguing about, or seeing. It was not worth Ebert’s scorn, and it was not worth Vern’s wit. It is not, in conclusion, worth a goddamn thing.