Torture porn is back, and moviegoers will be all the worse for it thanks to the dreadful horror flick "Anarchy Parlor."
This "Hostel"-style gorefest finds a sextet of randy, obnoxious young folks on vacation in Lithuania. (Is that a new hot spot or just a cheap place to make movies?) Over time, these travelers find themselves in the tattoo parlor from hell, where the massively inked proprietor, simply known as the Artist (veteran actor Robert LaSardo), and his surly, super-freaky apprentice, Uta (Sara Fabel), entrap unsuspecting clients and basically skin them alive. Why? So their victims' supple dermis can be turned into canvases for a mysterious series of paintings.
Although the movie is said to be "inspired by actual events" — make of that what you will — "The Silence of the Lambs" serial killer Buffalo Bill and his skin-flaying modus operandi more immediately come to mind.
The story takes a few unexpected twists by its bitter end, but the script by co-directors Devon Downs and Kenny Gage is otherwise devoid of smarts, character development, macabre wit or any semblance of polished dialogue. (The F-bomb is thrown so often it's laughable.)
Tension is low, pacing uneven and the acting — LaSardo's eerie work aside — proves subpar. For better or worse, sex and nudity are abundant and function as a kind of default respite from the oppressive brutality.
It should also be said that several scenes are so unbearably grisly, only die-hards won't want to look away.
MPAA rating: None
Running time: 1 hour, 39 minutes