Shock! Horror! Self-proclaimed shocker fails to shock! or horror!
Ray Pye (Marc Senter) is not a nice person. You can tell this because as a rule, nice people do not shoot and kill 2 girls for no reason other than thrillseeking. While the local police are more than certain that Ray's the criminal, there's none of that pesky evidence against him as long as his habitual hangers-on Tim (Alex Frost) and Jennifer (Shay Astar) don't flip him. Ray walks. Four years later, things start boiling up again. A new girl in town, the femme fatal Katherine (Robin Sydney) proves to be a catalyst in the breakup of Ray and cadre's trust and the breakdown of Ray's mind, leading to a conclusion that's trying very desperately to be controversial.
I suppose you could argue that The Lost is a sort of companion piece to American Psycho. Both feature a sociopath of a lead character going about his business, both of whom remain oddly likeable despite their numerous nasty character flaws and mile wide vicious streaks. Hell, Senter bears more than a passing resemblance to Christian Bale, although perhaps describing him as a cross between a young Ray Liotta and the lead singer of Placebo might be more accurate.
What it doesn't have is the wit, black humour or social commentary of Ellis' novel. In fact, this is more like what everyone who hasn't read American Psycho for themselves think that American Psycho will be, based on hearsay and hype. This is interesting, but not necessarily a good thing. In fact it's definitely not a good thing, as it makes The Lost little more than a slasher flick with a marginally better developed psychopath doing the killing.
Once again, the labels of "shocking violence" and "likely to offend" work their magic to summon me of it. To no-one's great surprise, the only people this are likely to shock are the easily shockable, the Daily Mail and whoever has taken Mary Whitehouse's place. If it's explicit sex and violence you want (and let's face it, who doesn't?), this is not the place to look by quite some margin. Fair enough, quantitatively there's more sex on screen than you might normally see in American cinema, but none of it's explicitly shown, and certainly anyone who's had the misfortune to sit through last years 9 Songs debacle won't bat an eyelid. 9 Songs, man. I swear, once I've established my 1984-esque total oligarchy that Michael Winterbottom git will be the target of the three minute hate.
I don't particularly want explicit violence in films, and certainly not if there's no good reason for it. However, it's only good manners to deliver what you promise. While The Lost throws around enough claret in the final act to rival any horror flick of the last few years, the only act of Ray's last stand that could be labelled "shocking" in this gloriously depraved day and age occurs off camera, which ain't any definition of explicit that I'm aware of. "Implied" fits quite well, but is harder to sell films on the back of. Semantic arguments agogo! It's something of a moot point anyway, as this film being more or less violent than it actually is would not improve it one iota. Still, if your trump card is shock value not shocking people seems to suggest you ought to be playing a different game.
Perhaps it's just my good self that isn't shocked to the very core of their being by this movie, although that would imply I've descended to the same level of sociopathy as Ray Pye himself. That's not quite true just yet, I think, if only because I'm not so paranoid about my stature that I hobble around in cowboy boots with crushed beer cans inside them. I'll say this about The Lost, there's never a dull moment. The tragedy of this is that the summation of these moments amounts to nothing more than an attempt to shock; a teen-oriented horror with slightly better developed characters, and I cannot for the life of me think who the market for that would be.
Were I in the business of passing quantifiable judgements, I'd award this 2/5 TippyMarks.
Shay Astar (Jennifer Fitch)
Robin Sydney (Katherine Wallace)
Alex Frost (Tim Bess)