REVIEW: THE GIRL WITH THE CUTTER (2021,TetroVideo)

Spanish extreme director Mikel Balerdi (Larva Mental, Vore Gore) returns with a double bill of short films due to be released by TetroVideo. Influenced by a true story where an unknown German woman was addicted to automutilation and posted the photos online, The Girl With The Cutter depicts what happened and the psychological and physical dangers.

Before proceeding with this review I would like to give very strong trigger warnings. The film is about self destruction featuring very graphic self mutilation using hyper realistic practical effects and very convincing acting. While it is not real, it is still extremely disturbing, hence why no photos are used in this review and there is flash imagery used which might be triggering for a-lot of people.

A woman is interested in the anatomy of the human body and particularly what lies beneath the skin. She is addicted to self-mutilation and pushing both her body and her mind to its limits. Unlike Balerdi’s previous film Larva Mental (2021), The Girl With The Cutter starts slow but it still manages to weed its way through 5 chapters of physical and psychological pain infliction which will test the boundaries of most viewers.

The film slithers like a snake and it’s bite is never far away. A nauseating synch soundtrack picks away at your nerves and really gets under your skin. If you are familiar with Balerdi’s work, you can ‘almost’ know what to expect but there is always an element of danger and you know you will be exposed to things that make you feel uncomfortable; that is the aim and purpose.

The pain and suffering the lead character goes through is very unsettling and hard to watch but it focuses heavily on the psychological element of the woman and her fight to stop what she is doing to herself. The film isn’t made to exploit or profit from the subject matter for the sake of being edgy, instead it puts everything on display for the viewer with nothing watered down.

The film lacks dialogue for most of its 51 minute run time and while there is good use of inner voices (in the woman’s head) more lines could have been used to understand the character more and build up more of a connection with the story. With that said, the acting by the lead woman (Cofi Valduvieux) is excellent and she really displays the series of emotions the character goes through with precision and integrity.

The visuals are excellent throughout with solid cinematography and lighting. There is clever use of flash imagery and strobe lighting during disturbing set-pieces. The practical effects are brilliant with very realistic body parts and wounds which made me feel very uneasy. The blood was done using a very bright red paint to allow the pain to seep through on screen.

Balerdi’s work is extreme human art. Much like most great art, it is all down to perception and Balerdi covers strong subject matter in such a direct way that it is uncomfortable to watch but worth persevering. The Girl With The Cutter doesn’t shy away from its strong subject matter and certainly doesn’t glorify it; it explores the human aspect of why and the repercussions which follow.

Score: 4/5

The Girl With The Cutter is due to be released as part of a double feature with Gorgota on DVD. Preorders due to commence December 2021 via TetroVideo.

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