06th Dec2011

‘My Pure Joy’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Alexei Ryan, Lisa Frantz, Cory Jacob | Written and Directed by James Cullen Bressack


Ever wanted to watch a film that pays homage to some of the most notorious on-screen movie deaths and turns them up to 11? Then My Pure Joy is the film for you! The story of Adam (Ryan) a horror-movie obsessed twenty-something who has many “issues” – none more so than he likes to go out at night wearing a mask and fantasising about murder… You see Adam still hasn’t got over the death of his father, nor does he have a healthy family relationship, and we all know what happens when you come from a broken family and you watch horror films don’t we? Yes, as every censorial organisation has ever told us, you’ll be mentally scarred and be influenced by the movies you watch, hence Adam is a serial killer! Who knew the BBFC and the MPAA were right all along?!

My Pure Joy is for the most part an enjoyable low-budget sleaze-filled production, that in this reviewers opinion pushes the boundaries of what you should and shouldn’t show in movies in much the same way as Fulci’s notorious The New York Ripper and William Lustig’s Maniac did… And it’s as bloody and violent as both of those classic slasher movies. I say for the most part because, as with a number of low budget productions there are some scenes in the film which go on too long, padding out the movies running time – ideally these scenes, mainly the scene where our killer Adam shoots the shit with his buddies, could be trimmed slightly, fair enough there is some character development in that particular scene, but it could probably have been scripted to run half the time.

But that is my one and only criticism of My Pure Joy – the rest of the film is a gory romp through the sadistic world of a serial killer who doesn’t discriminate, against victims or their means of murder… And oh my god, what murders! Writer/director James Cullen Bressack (whose father Gordon Bressack is an Emmy-nominated screenwriter and has, ironically, written some of the most kid-friendly TV you’re ever likely to see) is possibly one of the boldest new directors I’ve seen, he makes choices that 99% of other directors wouldn’t with his kill scenes – whether he’s doing it for notoriety or because he’s a sick, twisted individual I don’t know, but what I do know is that this is the only time I’ve ever seen a woman have her nipples cut off then placed over the eyes of her dying body, a small child kiled and stuffed inside a pillowcase, and a woman stabbed in the vagina whilst having sex doggy-style – in close-up! This is some pretty twisted shit right here folks. But in a good way…

And it’s nice to see a film whose story comes full circle too – a sign of great filmmaking and not (as is Hollywood’s wont) an open ended flick that screams sequel. Here the film starts out with a family argument at the dinner table – a family whose children are slaughtered by our protagonist Adam – and then ends with a family argument at a dinner table, this time it’s Adam and his family, however unlike the child he killed in the movie’s opening, Adam knows how to take care of himself…

Despite it’s obvious low budget (the movie was shot for $7000), when all’s said and done,  My Pure Joy is just that, a joy. Plus as a bonus it really does contain some of the most revolting kill scenes ever put on celluloid.


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