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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 14 July 2007
Very interesting film, which in its tone and camerawork reminds me a lot of 'I Spit on Your Grave' - it has that same edgy, subjective, almost documentary-style look to it which really adds to the overall effect (and a similar lack of soundtrack, which make some of the action sequences almost surreal). I call this a mix of Sam Peckinpah and Ingmar Bergman - it has a very bleak, sombre mood and very minimal dialogue. No big cityscapes, no exotic deserts here - instead we're taken on a tour of low-key Swedish housing estates, barren countryside that looks a lot like the North of Scotland. The terriffic harbour scene with Madeleine getting shot up by an unseen assailant is almost pure Sergio Leone, and is the coolest sequence in the film. (The only scene cooler is one that doesn't appear in this cut - the 'alternate' version of the warehouse shootout has her shedding her long coat and launching into some spectacular slow-mo kung-fu kicks - pretty damn good for Sweden, 1974!)

The only scene which doesn't work for me at all is the most notorious one. The shot of the wide open eye is far, far too long to be credible (even brutalised people on heroin don't stare unblinkingly up at a scalpel that's about to be plunged through their eyeball) - it should have been a lot shorter, but the shock value is definitely there. I couldn't watch it first time around. The XXX scenes are pretty disposable too, but at least by objectifying the body parts they make the whole business look as mechanical and sordid as it is, and enhance the downbeat tone.

Only real fault I can find is that some of the scenes could have been trimmed, tightened up at the editing stage. Too much time spent lingering on people doing not very much. Lots of random driving around towards the end, which feels a bit flabby (and lots of cars which decide to blow up for no reason) - 'French Connection' it ain't, but all in all I would really recommend this to any fan of dark revenge/exploitation movies.

I only ever watch foreign movies with the subtitles on, so I can't comment on the dubbing, but the extras are very good. Lots of great stills, some superb shots of Madeleine looking very stylish with her shotgun. And the animated menus are a hoot!

And yes, this inspired 'Kill Bill'. I walked out of that after 20 minutes, but I know I will watch this little classic again. Get it while you can 'cos this version's limited to 25,000.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A brilliant tale of sadness and revenge this movie is a must see for cult horror fans. A girl was raped as a child turning her mute, now a young adult she is offered a lift from a seemingly kind gentleman which then turns into dinner and eventually back to his place where she is drugged. Waking up many days later she finds he has been pumping her full of heroine which her body now relies on and she must service various clients to get her daily fix, at first she refuses but after she gets an eye gouging punishment she decides to co-operate, she doesn't give up though and is secretly preparing for an all out war on the people who are responsible. This is not a hollywood revenge film, no huge explosions or smug one-liners (keep in mind the main character is mute) just a beautiful yet controversial tale that builds the depressing atmosphere until it drives you nuts then gives you the vengeful outburst you so deserately want by then, this one will stick with you a while. Synapse Films released this in the US in two versions, the cut version uses the title "Thriller: They Call Her One Eye" and the uncut version which says limited edition on the box and goes by the title "Thriller: A Cruel Picture".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 August 2010
The movie opens with a shot of an empty road. No sound can be heard as the credits appear on screen, until, in the distance a police car approaches and its sirens can be heard getting louder as it draws closer.

The police arrest an old man who has just raped a young girl. Due to this traumatic event the girl, Madeleine, becomes mute.

15 years after that horrific event, Madeleine works on her parents farm and despite the trauma of her youth, life appears to be passing peacefully for her. One day as Madeleine is going into town she misses her bus and ends up accepting a lift from a passing stranger.
Unfortunately for Madeleine her life is about to be ripped apart again.
The stranger, Tony, drugs Madeleine and while she is unconscious he begins injecting her with heroin.

Keeping her as his prisoner and increasing her dependancy on heroin, tony turns Madeleine to a life of prostitution. Initially, Madeleine tries to resist but after she injures a client Tony puts out one of her eyes as punishment.
Seemingly trapped in a life of drugs and prostitution, Madeleine is in fact secretly planning retribution. She saves the extra money she gets from her clients and on the one day a week she is allowed out, she pays for lessons in martial arts, aggressive driving and shooting.

Finally, with her new talents mastered and with nothing to lose Madeleine heads out to find her clients and Tony and make these degenerates pay for what they have done to her.

This is a damn fine piece of exploitation cinema. Well shot, with a fantastic lack of soundtrack and dialogue that mirrors Madeleines own inability to speak. In fact, the only real fault that you can pick with this is the cars that crash into each other and then explode for no reason. Hell, what looks like a mini explodes simply from going off the road, although thinking about it, perhaps that is realistic after all.

The movie has stirred up some controversy over the years due to the inclusion of a few xxx scenes, although these each only last for a few seconds and just highlight the horror of what is happening to Madeleine. And of course there is the famous 'eyeball scene' in which it is widely believed that the effect was achieved by filming a close up of a dead girl in a morgue and then stabbing her cadaver in the eye.

If you are a fan of exploitation movies and cult cinema then this one deserves to be in your collection.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 7 June 2014
THE MOVIE

THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE is one of the grittiest and hardest to watch thrillers ever made that has earned this little gem the cult classic title. This Swedish 1973's film was banned in Sweden and released in several countries only in cut form.
In the US there are two versions: the rare (limited) red cover version is completely uncut, the yellow cover (Vengeance edition) is the censored R-rated version that cuts the rape and the infamous eyeball scene.
The notorious eye gouging scene is allegedly REAL by the way, filmmakers claim to have used a real corpse. Whether this is true or not, that particular scene looks horrifyingly realistic and is the most distrubing scene in the entire movie.
Overall the movie is hardcore and extremely violent - especially for a movie of that time.
Quentin Tarantino's KILL BILL character Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) is a hommage to THRILLER: A CRUEL PICTURE"s lead Frigga (Christina Lindberg).

RATING: 10 / 10

THE DVD

Reviewed version: 2004 Synapse Films LIMITED Edition US DVD
Feature running time: 107 mins. (uncut)
Rating: Unrated (MPAA) / 18 CUT (BBFC)
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 (anamorphic)
Audio: English 2.0 Dual Mono, Swedish 2.0 Dual Mono
Subtitles: English
Chapters: 20
Extras: Theatrical trailers, Alternate Footage, Still Galleries, Filmographies
Region: 0 (Codefree)

Picture: D (very grainy below average picture quality.
Audio: C (average)
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Thriller - A cruel picture is a rare breed being a Swedish exploitation film that plays to the grindhouse audiences but falls short of being a true classic. There are a few problems with this film, these are mainly pacing and editing issues by the director Bo Arne Vibenius and the inclusion of real sex scenes in the uncut version.

I won't go into plot specifics, there are probably other reviews that deal with this but i'd like to address the most problematic thing about Thriller and that's the inclusion of real sex scenes which are totally unnecessary and take you out of the experience, now i'm no prude, but i like my porn separate from mainstream film making and the hardcore sex scenes in this are a big big problem in trying to take this film seriously. We all know that Christina Lindberg's character is forced into a difficult life of prostitution by a a sleazy pimp but we don't need to see the sex itself to feel empathy for her.there is probabaly about 10 mins of real sex scenes in total. It goes without saying that this film will never be released uncut in the UK because of this, so if this is what you want to see then the red cover case is the full uncut version. I'm usually completely against censorship, but in my opinion the cut yellow case version is the one to buy as it has all the sex omitted.

The action scenes are also ridiculously directed by the use of such stupid OTT slo motion scenes, the action is slowed down so much it takes about 5 mins for someone to hit the ground, on paper this probably seemed cool but in practice it looks stupid, for italian film fans out there then Bo Vibnieus is certainly no Enzo G Castellari!

Thriller isn't a bad film but it is overatted and problematic but saved by a great central performance from Christina Lindberg. If you're a fan of other female revenge films like Ms 45,Savage Streets the Thriller is a very different beast, so be warned.

3/5
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 30 November 2010
Let me start by saying that Miss Lindberg is so fine..so fine.
The movie its self is awsome i loved every bone crunching minute of it. The xxx inserts did not do anything for me nor did they spoil the move for me as other reviews have stated i found the slow mo gun shots realy good but there is a part where she is fighting at the dock this drags a little too much for me but apart from that great movie. I am glad i purchased the Limited edition rather then the Vengence Edition which has all hardcore inserts taken out just because it needs to be seen in its origional state.

If you not seen this go and get it now.

Lee Jones
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 10 June 2006
For such an obscurity, this is actually turned out to be a decent little movie. Worth watching for more than just the XXX scenes (of which there are plenty!!). Its a lot better than you might expect.

For a film described as the "ultimate revenge movie", I felt that the revenge scenes could have perhaps used more imagination - but it's still entertaining enough and well paced.

The picture quality/audio is what you might expect for such a rare film - but don't let it put you off - its definitely one of Synapse's better releases.
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on 5 April 2014
Thriller: Cruel Picture is violent and brutal swedish action thriller. The film is old but it is still great and Christina Lindberg is very sexy! Highly recommended!
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1 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2008
Whilst certain aspects of the film may be interesting, I wouldn't recommend this film to anybody, as the director used the dead body of a girl that recently committed suicide (yes a real cadaver) for the infamous gouged out eye scene. That is why it looks real, because it is real. Christina Lindberg has confirmed this. How low can you go? I find such exploitation disgusting and completely unmoralistic. Therefore I refused to watch the rest of the film and boycotted it. I recommend anyone with decent morals to do the same.
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