Movie Review: Rondo (2018)

July 27, 2018

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Rondo begins with Paul (Luke Sorge), a PTSD suffering ex-combat vet and alcoholic, getting chastised by his sister cum caretaker Jill (Brenna Otts) who ends up sending him to a therapist (Gena Shaw) who unbelievably recommends that he keeps drinking, and prescribes him a rather unorthodox treatment; namely attending a very bizarre sex party with very specific rules…and an end result for each participant that isn’t quite what one would expect. Paul naturallt decides to exit stage left from the whole affair which results in a different kind of orgy…one of violence that at the film’s half way point changes the paradigm of the story completely…and not in a way you would ever guess!
As you can surmise, Rondo is a film packed with twists and surprises, and while that results in an edge-of-you-seat, unpredictable thrill ride for the viewer it makes my job excruciatingly difficult because I can’t discuss the reasons why this film is so amazing without giving away plot points, and therefore ruining the surprise…which I absolutely refuse to do. I will say however that the screenplay and directing by Drew Barnhardt are absolutely electric and offer a sense of kinetic momentum that is seldom achieved by what amounts to a psychological thriller with revenge overtones. I will also say that the acting is first rate (with standouts being the aforementioned Otts, Michael Vasicek as Sam…who I can’t really talk about…and Reggie De Morton as Lurdell the rule keeper and enforcer of the orgy who also happens to be one menacing, but personable, mother fucker).
There are few issues I have to point out with Rondo, but to call them “negatives” would be a bit of an overstatement. One involves the death of a character that many would find beyond shocking…again I can’t go into detail (I swear this review is one PH away from just being changed to “Rondo is a movie…5 skulls”), but it definitely had my jaw drop a tad (but that’s exactly what a good exploitation flick should do, and this is definitely that). Speaking of violence, the ending of this film involves a massive amount of squib work to simulate gunshots, and it is all filmed in Pekinpah style slow-mo that does have a tendency to inadvertently accentuate the blood bags under the actors clothing, but whatever; the blood falls like rain and the sequence is spectacular.
Bottom line; Rondo is a pure exploitation experience of the kind we just don’t get to slap out putrid peepers on much these days; it’s hyper-violent, deviant, and downright wrong in all the right ways…and if one sequence doesn’t become iconic for lovers of Grindhouse thrills for years to come I’ll be amazed…of course I can’t say “what” or more precisely “why” that is exactly…dammit…


*That teaser is NSFW…but why are you reading this and watching trailers at work…do you want to get your ass fired?

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