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So, yeah: It’s aptly titled.

When two camping couples agree to give a ride to a stranded cougar (soap actress McKenzie Westmore) they meet at a gas station, they are gassed and awaken trapped in a house with five others. As explained by a helpful video, “Pain will be your only way out of this house,” and that’s meant literally: a device implanted on each them measures the chemicals produced naturally by the brain in times of torture.

The rest of the movie is about watching these young people harming one another — sometimes voluntarily, sometimes not — to get those levels up as fast as they can so they can vamoose. Now, obviously, anyone allergic to horror need not apply. On the other side of that coin, fans of Hostel and Saw — both of which first-time director Taylor Sheridan has borrowed from — may find Vile to be a decent enough alternative for a cathartic rental. Being microbudgeted, it’s less polished than those films, yet offers enough puzzles in its story to stay away from veering into copycat territory.

While Sheridan certainly has the look of the subgenre down pat, I admire that he took its opposite approach when it came to the music score. Instead of jamming aggrometal down viewers’ throats, he goes ambient. In my opinion, it’s the more effective choice to convey creepiness.

Befitting of the title, of course, not every choice he makes is as subtle. Not for nothing does the DVD include an extra of Sheridan performing cleanup duties on the set. In other words, there will be blood. —Rod Lott

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