Where do you start when reviewing a film like Forced Entry?
Part of me feels like I should apologize for simply watching it. It's almost as if by watching this film, and then taking the time out to write about, I am some how making the world a worse place. But I guess since that's how Forced Entry made me feel, it is as good a place as any to start.
Even though I knew what I was getting into with Forced Entry, I was still taken aback by what I saw. Not since watching the uncut version of They Call Her One-Eye (a.k.a. Thriller) have I seen a film some morally repugnant. If I am lucky, I hope to never see another film like either one ever again.
Porno legend Harry Reems, without his trademark mustache and acting under the name Tim Long, stars as a nameless Vietnam veteran suffering from a serious case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Clearly driven to the brink of insanity, Reems' demented vet wanders the streets of New York while suffering from one horrific flashback after another that takes him back to the battlefields of Vietnam. Working as a gas station attendant, Reems lays eyes on a woman (Jutta David), who, as near as the audience can tell, ignites some sort of homicidal rage within our anti-hero. Using information gleaned from her credit card payment, Reems track his unsuspecting victim back to her apartment, where he spies on her and her boyfriend (director Shaun Costello) as they have sex.
The unsettling and unerotic copulation between Jutta David and Shaun Costello--one of the few sex scenes in Forced Entry that is not a rape--is in and of itself torturous to watch. And after what seems like an eternity of Costello's pasty ass and Jutta David's pretty-damn-big-even-for-a-1970s-porn-star ass, the film moves forward with Reems breaking into the apartment, and forcing the woman, at knife-point, to give him a blowjob. This scene also lasts too long, with so many close-ups of Reems' penis going in and out of David's mouth that you begin to grow familiar with every vein of Harry's pulsating member. When it is all said and done, Reems slits the throat of David, and a grand total of 38 of Forced Entry's 80-minute run-time has elapsed.
Following Reems' violation and murder of Jutta David, he then stalks Laura Cannon. As it turns out, the rape and murder of David was tame in comparison to the treatment in store for Cannon. Reems rapes Cannon in a scene that utilizes hardcore sex, inducing cringes and a discomfort I have only experienced on one or two other occasions. Finally, Reems kills Cannon, but there are two more potential victims to sit through as the film actually gets worse.
Looking for anything of merit to be found in Forced Entry is a fool's errand. I supposed that I could comment that Laura Cannon's "performance" while she was being raped was a brilliantly realized moment of film acting; but that is hardly a positive statement. In fact, Cannon's performance is so disturbingly convincing that it begins to get the bile bubbling in the pit of your stomach.
Despite whatever has been written or said about the film being a "legend," its status as such is only earned through its debasement of human beings. And in the case of Forced Entry, being a legend is not in any sort of direct correlation with either cinematic quality or artistic worth. Forced Entry may be legendary, but it is legendarily shitty.
Don't get me wrong, I am not some sort of prude who hates porn. In fact, I grew up watching tons of softcore edits of 1970s and 80s porn on the Playboy Channel, where I pretty much learned how to have sex by watching Harry Reems. And I'm no stranger to hardcore either. But this is something beyond porn. The use of hardcore sex in Forced Entry is more of the ultimate crossing of the exploitation line. It uses sex to create a disturbing and disgusting tone that conveys the brutality of the rape scenes. And in that context, the film finds some sort of "artistic" success. The problem, however, is that you don't need to show penetration to make a rape scene disturbing or violent. Rape, by its very nature is violent and disturbing, and if portrayed properly in film does not even need to be seen by the audience to be effective. By actually showing the rape, and by doing so with the inclusion of hardcore sex it becomes more of a gimmick, and perhaps even more disturbingly, some sort of erotic fix for twisted perverts who find the violent defiling of women to be a turn-on.
If positive praise is to be given to Forced Entry, it would have to be in the way the film is edited. Intercutting a fair amount of stock footage depicting the Vietnam War, the film uses this material to offer a glimpse into the twisted mind of Reems. Coupled with the down-and dirty photography that has an almost cinema verite style, there are gritty moments where it almost seems as if director Costello is on to something. If all the film were was Reems wandering the streets of the city, looking crazy, with the footage of Vietnam spliced in here and there for effect, this could have been a film of gutter-grade genius--a sort of low-rent version of Taxi Driver. But ultimately this is not that film, thanks to the grim sex scenes that will disgust or disturb anyone who is not a perverted freak. Even within the context of underground or subversive cinema--films that defy standard conventions, decorum or taste of mainstream movies--Forced Entry is only worth mentioning, but not worth watching.
Forced Entry is presented in full frame. There is a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie that states the best elements possible were used to put together this DVD. Apparently, the best elements consisted of 35 millimeter prints that had been buried by dogs in someone's backyard. I have seen third-generation bootlegs from Kazakhstan with better picture quality.
Forced Entry has bad sound. I can't even figure out how it is presented, but that doesn't really matter, because after ten minutes you pretty much will hit the mute button anyway.
Three 8 millimeter sex loops that each run under 10 minutes are all that exists as far as bonus material. There is an informative booklet with linear notes from director Shaun Costello that is more interesting and entertaining than the film itself.
If it were possible to give this film a rating of less than zero, I would do it. Do not watch Forced Entry, period. Any questions?
David Walker is the creator of BadAzz MoFo, a nationally published film critic, and the Writer/Director of Black Santa's Revenge with Ken Foree now on DVD [Buy it now]