It’s difficult to talk about Western depictions of Hell without mentioning Dante’s Inferno. Without a doubt, it is one of the most influential pieces of fiction ever written on the subject of eternal damnation. When it comes to how we envision metaphysical suffering, this particular section of The Divine Comedy is just as likely to be cited as the Christian Bible, Islamic Quran, or Hebrew Book of Enoch. Since its initial conception, Dante’s tale has inspired countless other works–No Reason among them–and revolutionized how we think about the topic of retribution in the afterlife. It was a narrative so powerful it managed to live on throughout the centuries – and, in fact, still does to this very day.
At its core, Olaf Ittenbach’s 2010 horror film No Reason is a gruesome retelling of Alighieri’s classic literary masterpiece. The plot follows a woman named Jennifer (Irene Holzfurtner) who mysteriously wakes to find herself in a grim underworld full of torture and perversion. Dazed and desperate to reunite with her young son, Jennifer navigates the many layers of this wretched abyss in hopes of finding a way out. With the help of her guide – a demonic figure wearing a Cthulu-style bondage mask – she must now overcome the atrocious hurdles that lay ahead of her on a quest to find enlightenment in an otherwise dark and dismal setting.
If I had to use only one word to describe No Reason, that word would be excessive. Seriously, this movie is downright relentless, featuring stomach-churning violence from start to finish. I mean, shit – I’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to graphic content, but this film still managed to show me things that I’ve never seen before. Ghastly, horrible things that will remain permanently scorched into my memory until the day that I die. However, being a glutton for punishment, I suppose that this is also the main reason why I enjoyed the movie so much. As an effects artist, Ittenbach’s technique has only improved with time, resulting in some utterly stupefying gore to feast your eyes upon. When coupled with the surrealist nature of the plot and visuals, it makes No Reason stand out as a surprisingly unique entry within the overarching extreme cinema category.
At the end of the day, while not Ittenbach’s best film, No Reason will undoubtedly still appeal to all the hardcore splatter-freaks out there in Horrorland. Sure, it’s no Burning Moon – but it is ultimately worth your time, nonetheless. So, if you happen to be into that sort of thing, I strongly recommend checking it out. Fortunately, with a new DVD and Blu-ray release currently available through Unearthed Films, the whole process of finding it to do so much easier. Just remember, when you get to Hell, tell ’em L.J. sent you.
7 out of 10