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Who do they call upon when other ‘Surgeons’ fear to tread? but yours truly, “Howling Mad Moon” Maguire. The assignment presented to me has been described as “the most shocking, brutal and extreme horror film in recent times”, and with a title like Trauma you can only expect some kind of residual scarring after witnessing the events that unfold through its narrative.

This film sure ain’t for the faint-hearted and sets the tone straight away by ramming it straight down your throat in such a confronting way that its not surprising that it has been likened to A Serbian Film in its nature and depiction of humanity at its worst. There’s rape, torture, and incest all within the first scene that leaves you feeling sick to the stomach and grimacing at the prospect of where Chilean director Lucio A Rojas will take his audience next.

Where he does take you almost teases the audience into a false-sense of security to juxtapose the intro, as we see an incredibly intimate scene between two women, breaking the cardinal rule of any horror film, so our hopes of their survival are in doubt, if Rojas were to play by those rules.

But what is survival? It’s as if the meaning of that word is irrelevant in this world in upheaval through the turmoil of General Pinochet’s rule in Chile.
The question should be more about ‘What does it takes to exist?’ as Rojas shines a spotlight on the plight of the country of his birth at a time when the world just turned its head. (This echoed by one of the police officials in the storyline) Rojas does everything he can to deny you this right, by forcing you to watch.
The pain is highlighted further as we journey alongside four female characters in search of a weekend getaway and slowly getting to know each of them through some wonderful character development, only to be crushed by the realisation that their world is about to clash with the dark and twisted underbelly that resides in their haven.

The Diagnosis:

You have to have a strong stomach for this one and the opening scene may turn viewers away. That’s not to mention the harrowing ordeal that takes place throughout the films narrative. If you can brace yourself, prepare to be educated in a time that the world wanted to ignore and forget by a director who has a firm grasp on what that reality means to him and those of his country.

The most shocking thing is that this is just a whisper of time that we bear witness to. There are other stories are left untold are the ones that leave you haunted and scarred by the unknown. Trauma lives up to its name and then some.

‘Howling Mad Moon’ Maguire

Catch the screening of Trauma at the Sydney Underground Film Festival.

Screening times and tickets available below: