01st Aug2012

‘Combat Shock’ Review

by Paul Metcalf

Stars: Rick Giovinazzo, Veronica Stork, Mitch Maglio, Arthur Saunders | Written and Directed by Buddy Giovinazzo


Films are like plays and books; they elicit an emotional response from us, and we hope for happiness to be one of them, especially at the end.  Then of course there are the chosen few that are just so grim that they depress you, that they bring your emotions down and make you feel just how low films can go, this is not by doing something disgusting but by telling the story in such a way that it taps into those emotions in you that remove the goodness.  One of these is Combat Shock.

Frankie Dunlan is a war vet who upon returning home finds his life in a mess.  He lives with a nagging wife, his friends are all junkies and his baby is deformed from the side effects of Agent Orange testing during the war affecting him.  He’s at the lowest point in his life and all he wants is some good to come out of it, through flashbacks to the war and the constant pressure of life though he’s got little chance of that.

I know, I’ve already said the film is depressing, I’ve given a synopsis that is just depressing and grim and there is little hope to see anything good coming out of the film.  The fact is though, as low as things go this does not make it a bad film, the fact is its very good.  This is a film that looks at the grim world of a man who has returned from war ruined by his experience.  Everything he tries to do is affected by his past and all the time he tries to change his life he just keeps on getting pushed down.  It’s got all the hallmarks of course of a man about to explode.  When this happens it’s truly shocking and will go past many peoples tolerance levels, but if you can take it you will be impressed by just how far it goes.

The acting, though not Oscar winning is adequate, it has the feel of films of the same time like Driller Killer where although some of the quality was bad it was still believable.  Combat Shock is a film that arguably has not aged, although you would have thought that it should have done.  The fact is though we live in a world now that is seeing the effects of war and people are grasping at whatever jobs are available, while other people are fired.  It may be arguable that this is the type of film that will strike a nerve with many now, it could even be said this was a film before it’s time, maybe the time is now?

Whatever can be said about it, Combat Shock is a truly unique experience and we should be thankful to both Troma and Arrow Video for bringing it to the United Kingdom in this uncut form.  There are very shocking scenes and scenes that will truly disturb and for cult fans that is something very welcome.  I will admit that every time I see the baby I find it a very creepy experience, it’s definitely something that will stay in your head for a while.  Don’t expect to smile after watching this, maybe even get a happy comedy at the ready to pull you out of depression, but one thing for sure you’ll be in for an experience.

Combat Shock is released August 6th courtesy of Arrow Video.

Review originally appeared on PissedOffGeek.com

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