Title: Visions of Suffering: Final Director's Cut

Also known as:
Visions of Suffering

Year: 2018

Genre: Horror / Experimental

Language: Russian

Runtime: 85 min

Director: Andrey Iskanov

Writer: Andrey Iskanov

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt5914496/

Sasha, overcome with feelings of despair, hides out in his apartment. Allowing himself to be consumed with an obsession for the macabre. While locked away, Sasha begins to hear things — voices within his walls and his telephone. Soon he starts to see people hiding in the rain, and the shadows in his home begin to move with malicious intent. Soon Sasha can no longer tell if he's experiencing a nightmare or if the monsters he is seeing are real and waiting for the moment they'll drag him into a hellish void of torment and suffering.

Our thoughts:
It was 12 years ago that most folks were able to experience the work of Andrey Iskanov through the release of “Nails” and “Visions of Suffering”. Two truly unique pieces in the world of underground and experimental horror movie. As wildly imaginative and visually terrifying as “Visions of Suffering” was, Andrey himself wasn’t content with his film. Jump cut to 2018 — after years of refining what he had truly envisioned his film to be, and teaming up with Last Exit Entertainment, Andrey has finished the “Final Director’s Cut” of “Visions of Suffering”.

The concept of the film is relatively the same: Sasha discovers that there are demons among us, and while he sits alone, hiding out from the world in his apartment, he begins to hear things in the telephone. See things out in the rain. It isn’t before long that these creatures are aware that Sasha hears and sees them. As a result, they want to bring him into their hellish world of demons, witches, succubi, and vampires. A world of torture, mutilation, and death — a void of suffering.

While this concept remains the same, Andrey shifted the story’s focal point and restructured the film as a whole. The original “Visions of Suffering” had more of a traditional horror movie framework to it except that Andrey used his talent for visuals to help blur the reality and make it seem a bit more abstract. Even so, there was still the format of a three-act structure to the original movie. With this new final director’s cut, we get to experience what it’s like when Andrey lets loose and has his visuals explore the themes that he had initially intended for his film.

Rather than a subplot with a priest going to a club to confront the demons for revenge, the focus remains on Sasha. Keeping a tighter and more focused concept of a man who’s sunken into a pit of despair, and becomes so entranced by torment, that his nightmares of death and decay intrude onto his reality until it consumes him. While Andrey indulges in the phantasmagorical, this new version doesn’t take on that feeling directionless wandering that the original version did. Even with what is still a lengthy runtime for its concept at 85-minutes, it’s not a tedious slog. Andrey’s new version generates the feeling that it is building towards something. The viewers get to experience, visually, the idea that Sasha is slowly consumed by this terrifying void of demons and death.

The best thing about Andrey changing the focus and structure, beyond the result of it being a tighter film in general, is that we also get to see how Andrey has evolved as a filmmaker. Yes, there is a noticeable development in talent and skill when you go from “Nails” to “Philosophy of a Knife”. However, when you watch the two cuts of “Visions of Suffering” you get to truly see how Andrey has changed into a more aggressive filmmaker. He has always had an amazing ability with creating a unique visual presence with practical effects and impressive post-production work. With the final director’s cut of “Visions of Suffering” Andrey is now at a point where themes are pushed by the images he creates.

Sometimes it doesn’t always work out, and the result can feel a little contrived — like early on in the movie where Sasha is watching the graphic depiction of a man having sex with a corpse. It’s not a question of the scene being offensive or in poor taste, but more as being reductive because it is so blunt. Even so, it’s rewarding to watch the film and see how Andrey is not restraining himself (which may seem like an odd comment to make given the graphic nature of “Philosophy of a Knife”); he is going to create the movie as he sees it. No matter how unpleasant or confrontational it might be.

Naturally, this leaves the question: which is the better cut of the film?

It’s impossible to pick one cut over the other — it’s going to be entirely dependent on the individual viewer. As I said earlier, in my opinion, the original cut of “Visions of Suffering” is closer to being a traditional horror movie whereas “Visions of Suffering: Final Director’s Cut” is more of the abstract/experimental nature — visuals dictate the narrative and reinforce the themes. Some technical successes can be acknowledged with the new cut, such as tighter and more focused film overall. However, with that being said, it’s still impossible to say one is genuinely superior to the other. The best thing about watching “Visions of Suffering: Final Director’s Cut” is seeing how Andrey has developed as a filmmaker over the last 12-years. He still has a distinct voice when it comes to underground cinema with his unique and terrifying visual style.

Positive things:
- A tighter, more focused story that builds towards its climax.
- Andrey did a commendable job of blending the new footage with the original.
- Impressive post-production work in terms of editing and sound design.
- More of that wonderful Andrey Iskanov visual style!
Negative things:
- Some of the visuals are reductive in their content.

Gore: 3/5
Nudity: 5/5
Story: 3/5
Effects: 3/5
Comedy: 0/5

We got this movie from: 
Last Exit Entertainment

It can be bought from:

Reviewed by:






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