Nails
Unearthed Films // Unrated // $29.99 // August 15, 2006
Review by Scott Weinberg | posted November 16, 2006
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The Movie

It's fairly common for me to admire what a movie is trying to do -- even if I don't actually get a whole lot out of the process. One such example would be Nails, a 60-minute mega-mind-bender from Russian filmmaker Andrey Iskanov. The thing's a full-bore freak show, complete with Lynch-style weirdness, random visual ugliness, a few healthy doses of gore, and more than a few head-scratching ideas along the way.

The nearly dialogue-free film tells the story of a retired hit-man who spends his time in a rather depressing apartment -- when he's not struggling against all his painful memories and the unexpected desire to hammer nails into his brain. Yeah. It's a fairly vague and amorphous little movie, but Iskanov deserves commendation for his comment to, well, weirdness.

More of a cinematic Rorsarch test than an actual "movie" movie, Nails will appeal most probably to those who don't mind an hour-long music video filed with strange music, indecipherable visions, and an overall tone of psychedelic unpleasantness. Frankly I don't know what to make of this flick, but if my confusion intrigues you, you'll probably want to check Nails out for yourself.

The DVD

Video: The fullscreen transfer looks quite passable, although if you're expecting a pristine transfer of an obscure experimental Russian indie flick, you're a bit nutty.

Audio: Dolby Digital 2.0, with the freaky music and sound effects delivered in acceptable fashion.

Extras

If you got into the flick, you'll certainly enjoy the 30-minute behind-the-scenes featurette in which we see a lot of on-set footage and earn a few possible explanations from cast & crew members. Also included are a pair of text interviews with writer/director/actor Andrey Iskanov, a collection of production photos and production art, and a few trailers for Nails, Visions of Suffering (Iskanov's follow-up), Devil's Experiment, Flower of Flesh & Blood, Mermaid in a Manhole, Rubber's Lover, Rock & Rule, Ichi-1, and Junk -- all available from Unearthed Films, one of the most admirably weird DVD outlets out there.

Final Thoughts

Lots of bizarre dream sequences and Eraserhead-style freakishness goes on, and while Nails capably held my interest for its scant running time, I'd be hard-pressed to tell what I think the thing is about. If that's the sort of dark & nasty experimental filmmaking you're into, I say give it a whirl.



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