A group of young adults bring the party with them as they leave a nightclub and take a road trip into the woods, near a place with a history of gladiators. Soon the party turn violent when the men begin to humiliate and sexually abuse the chicks. After a violent orgy or rape the girls realize that this is the end. It also becomes the end for the men when gladiators from the past come back to continue their gruesome massacre from a lost era.
Let's just leave the old Italian movies behind, we know they're not coming back. Some movies obviously try to get the atmosphere back but it's just not happening. "Morituris" is a movie that knows that it has to move on, but still goes all out in the violence and exploits of the classics. This doesn't mean that it will be a fantastic movie, of course, but the question is whether the things it has to offer are worth the time and effort it takes to watch it?
"Morituris" takes its time to get to the point, and I don't mean that in the best sense of the word. It brings your typical bunch of young adults into the woods, more specifically to a place with a dark history. Nevermind that, for now, as it spends about 50+ minutes (out of its 83 min runtime) doing other things than bring out the main event. These 50+ minutes are spent on: setting up the setting - that's good, show us very stereotypical characters to stereotypical things, and finally turn their party to a rape fest. I don't mind a violent exploitation flick, which is what this one is for the first 2 thirds, but it's not what you sat down to watch. Either way, the men begin to rape the women in rather extreme ways - like shoving scissors into one of them, telling her not to move. But mostly just abusive nature, rather than violent, and lots of grunting sex (and crying women). I really do think this is a well done, and rather rough, scene that goes on for quite some time. Yet again, though, we went into the movie for something else, and it seems the filmmakers forgot about that if you look at how poorly they pushed that plot into it. Some hints show what the area they are in used to be, but nothing extensive. Instead, after 50-55 min have passed, gladiators randomly walk into the movie. I'll guess that they are spirits/ghosts/demons of sorts, but it's not really brought up in detail. So after a bunch of rape, gladiators arrive to kill them all - men and women. And you don't care about either of them.
It's certainly a violent and rather gory movie, with special effects by the fantastic Sergio Stivaletti. And the effects aren't bad at all. There's plenty of cutting, decapitating and torture being done, and it could have been a really fun, gory movie. If it wasn't for the second big problem... It's way too fucking dark. You can usually see the things that matter, but gore is often hidden in the dark, and sometimes you have no idea where your characters are. With some of the gladiator scenes it worked, as it built atmosphere. But considering you've spent most of the movie in the dark, barely being able to see the gore that you were seeking going into the movie, you just feel annoyed and bummed out.
Would "Morituris" have been a great, entertaining movie if it wasn't as dark as it is? Not really. It would've been more fun, and a lot more worth it, but the change of plot later on in the movie isn't well done enough. You have to wonder if they really had two ideas in their head, and finally just mashed them together. Either that or they had too much fun with the rape scene, which ultimately made them forget about the thing we came to see - gladiators smash, slash and stab annoying characters. Overall, this is a middle-ground experience. I didn't hate it, although it was a bore in the beginning, but it was far from a great experience. If you're just a general horror fan then it could be entertaining. If you find it in a bin, then pick it up. It is mediocre at best, though.