Directed by George A. Romero [Other horror films: Night of the Living Dead (1968), Hungry Wives (1972), The Crazies (1973), The Amusement Park (1975), Martin (1976), Dawn of the Dead (1978), Creepshow (1982), Day of the Dead (1985), Monkey Shines (1988), Due occhi diabolici (1990, segment ‘The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar’), The Dark Half (1993), Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007), Survival of the Dead (2009)]
This movie is a hodge-podge of different ideas, and I think that’s partially why it came across, at least to me, as a mess. It’s part thriller, part romance, part comedy (I guess?), part slasher, and for the lulz, it throws in some music at the end.
Listen, the fact that Romeo directed this doesn’t bother me. I enjoy Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead (I’ve yet to see any sequels past that), but he’s not someone who I’d rate up there in the best horror directors, and if he wanted to change things up with this one, so be it. It’s just that Bruiser is such a mess that it defies almost any enjoyment.
Hell, it’s an hour and 45 minutes, and I watched every second. I still have exactly no idea what “brusier” even means, and that’s a problem, but just one of many.
Primarily, it could be said that the fact Brusier isn’t strictly horror is my biggest personal issue. Don’t get me wrong, even if it focused more on horror and less on the thriller/romance/fantasy stuff, I’d probably still rather dislike it, but it just seemed all over the place, as if it had no idea what it was going for (some scenes were openly comedic, but that never seemed the main idea either).
The whole premise bothers me, to be honest. This living carpet of a man wakes up one morning and his face is all white, probably because he has no identity (well, an overtly aggressive identity, anyway). Why this is is never explained, or how. Or what. It just happens, and it didn’t interest or intrigue me at all, especially once I found out we probably weren’t getting any answers on that anyway.
Jason Flemyng was decent in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, but he doesn’t suit the role here. To be fair, no matter who took on the role, I’d have hated it, but even so, Flemyng doesn’t seem right here. Peter Stormare (Fargo) was unbearable in his over-the-top role, and I hated him. Tom Atkins (The Fog, Night of the Creeps, Halloween III) is here, but it also doesn’t do anything at all for me, given how poor the film is.
Listen, I don’t even want to harp on this anymore – for some people, Bruiser apparently worked fine. It’s straddling the 5/10 rating on IMDb, so enough people found it competent, at least. I didn’t. I legitimately didn’t have a good time at all. I felt it was going for some deep message about identity, but it never really makes it clear, and without a focus, it felt like a mess. Oh, and that last scene? Just shows me that the whole thing is a joke that no one bothered to explain.
I’ll throw it a few points for Flemyng’s recital of a poem, though, and for that scene where he shoots his backstabbing friend. Otherwise, this has little to nothing going for it, at least not in my opinion.
This is one of the films covered by Fight Evil’s podcast. Listen below as Chucky (@ChuckyFE) and I discuss Brusier.