Director G-Hey Kim made a short of the same title in 2017– and has now expanded it into a feature, but it still feels like a situation rather than a story. It gets bogged down in forced stuff about the lead characters’ relationship, and goes through the numbing routine of torture porn a decade and a half after everyone got the point. An episode of Cradle of Fear, a FrightFest selection in 2001, did a fairly similar story, but was more focused and got made before the premise had been done over and over.
Zane (Mark Koufos) looks more like a male model than an incel, but is hooked on websites with names like Beat-a-Slut.com, in which shackled women are abused (and probably killed). He’s shy and doesn’t seem to hate real women, but this is how he gets off. Zane’s roommate and longtime best pal Josh (Valter Skarsgard) has an idea of his kink, but doesn’t quite know how to bring up the subject – besides, he’s just got a girlfriend (May Grehan) and is distracted. However, by clicking on a link, both guys zap themselves into a nicely-designed basement with glowing cracks in the walls where the revenant of a mutilated and murdered girl (Catherine Howard) and a sharp-suited torturer (Geoff Mays) inflict a lot of punishment on the unworthy … sewn-together lips, gouged-out eyes, cheeseslicered penis, the works. Josh assumes it’s all a dream and keeps waking up to have fill-in-the-story flashbacks or wander around being upset about what’s in his head. Then we’re back in the bloody dungeon again.
It boils down to just another tortured-in-a-basement movie, and is weirdly reticent about the kind of toxic masculinity it seems to have in its sights. It’s gruesome and horrible, but also sullen and slow – trudging through atrocities until it stops, which I suppose is a relief.