LITTLE DEATHS *** UK 2011 Dir: Sean Hogan, Andrew Parkinson, Simon Rumley. 90 mins

An anthology of three short movies from notable British independent filmmakers, all based around the subject of aberrant sexuality.  Sean Hogan’s opening “House And Home” is a bitter social commentary about the haves and the have-nots in which a middle class couple engage in regular marriage-enlivening sessions with homeless girls he lures back with the promise of a meal and the pretense of doing God’s work.  Their latest chosen one is “Sorrow”, who ends up stripped, bound, ejaculated and pissed on, but a suitably warped feeding frenzy climactic twist turns the tables.
Luke De Lacey, as the condescending husband and Siobhan Harrison, as the controlling, prim-but-degenerate wife, are particularly good in this one. Andrew Parkinson’s “Mutant Tool” is an equally grim tale of addiction withdrawal, in which an ex-call girl / addict visits an experimental doctor to assist with cold turkey, but ends up back on the game and suffering from disturbing, reality-blurring trips. A dour descent into Hell, this fulfils the promise Parkinson showed with his feature work and showcases plenty of unpleasant imagery: ladies and gents, a cock in a blender! The best of the three is “Bitch”, from the gifted director of THE LIVING AND THE DEAD and RED, WHITE AND BLUE. The most distinctive episode, it is broadly in line with Simon Rumley’s disturbing feature work, as miserable, vindictive Kate Braithwaite treats her partner (Tom Sawyer) like shit, belittling him in front of his peers and routinely coercing him into being her “bitch”, complete with dog mask and strap-on butt-fucking. When he finally breaks, the story builds to an unforgettable final act involving a queasy role reversal, a pack of dogs and lots of gravy. It’s the ultimate relationship-gone-sour horror story, taking the age-old battle of the sexes to its gruesome, deviant zenith and the perfect capper for a unique, underrated portmanteau. *Be advised the BBFC version, in line with their sexual violence / humiliation guidelines, is shortened by 41 seconds to the scenes involving the abuse of “Sorrow” in the first entry; uncut German and US editions are available.

Review by Steven West

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