Directed by Georg Koszulinski. 2004.

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A naked man (Jake Molzan) wanders in a Florida swamp, bloodied and unable to remember if he was “wounded in love or wounded in hatred”, or to recall any circumstances that brought him to his present state. Things do not become clearer when he stumbles upon an old house and sees a semi-hysterical man and woman aiming a shotgun at a man sitting on the floor in chains. This is only the start of the puzzle that awaits viewers of Georg Koszulinski’s thriller Silent Voyeur, a film that challenges us to discover for ourselves where the truth lies and to what extent we are accomplices in media manipulation and exploitation for profit.  

Shot entirely on location in Florida in Micanopy, Cross Creek, and the Florida Everglades, the film is loosely based on an actual incident in which a couple vacationing in Florida told authorities that they were kidnapped and forced to perform deviant acts while being filmed by a video camera. As the wounded man slowly regains his memory, we try to piece together what may or may not have happened. Koszulinski asks us to consider events from different points of view, one showing the amnesiac (called Victor by the couple and Tanner by his cameraman) as the instigator of the assault and another with the cameraman as perpetrator.  

From Victor’s vantage point, he and the young married couple, Randy (Eric D. Cheek) and his wife Veronica (Laura Sfire), were kidnapped by Edward (Nick Savage) and his buddy Logan (Shamrock McShane) while out fishing. The cameraman then forced all three to perform lewd acts while being filmed. This account raises questions as to how two rather slender middle-aged men could have overcome and subdued three younger people and dragged them back to the cabin. In one scenario, while Victor is beaten and driven to die in the swamps, the couple escape their bonds, kill Logan and chain the cameraman to the floor. In another, Victor overhears the cameraman and his accomplice plan to dispose of him to increase their take of the money but he is unable to prevent them from drugging him and driving him to the Everglades.  

When Victor makes his way back to the house, he listens to Veronica who urges him to kill Edward while he has the chance, and to Edward who asserts that Tanner is actually the instigator of the affair. Edward claims that Tanner is the director who makes sordid films for a big paycheck from three avaricious movie moguls who are cashing in on the public’s need to be voyeurs. In support, we hear Tanner recite a prepared speech that will send chills through your bones. Backed by the music of Monitor and some vintage country songs, Silent Voyeur is a small budget film and the acting can be very amateurish at times, but the grizzly plot will captivate you and hold your attention throughout. Do not expect any neat resolution, however. This one is in David Lynch territory. 

Howard Schumann
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