Tears of Kali

Tears of Kali


Reviewed by: Keith Hennessey Brown

During the hippie era countless westerners went to India searching for enlightenment. One such group was that led by Taylor and Eriksson, two mysterious gurus who encouraged their pupils to accept no limits, even if this meant insanity or death.

Now, 20 years after the group's dissolution, we are about to learn some of its terrifying secrets. The story is told in three episodes.

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Shakti: A young woman, Tansu Yilmaz, gains entry to the asylum where the woman responsible for her brother Samarfan's murder, Elizabeth Steinberg, is held. However, the circumstances of Samarfan's death make little sense: Elizabeth could not have committed the murder and the man she claims to have instructed to perform the assassination, an Italian named Keoma - the name will likely ring bells with fans of the spaghetti western - has never been traced.

Under the pressure of Tansu's questioning, the truth soon comes out of Elizabeth, along with the evil spirit she has been harbouring all these years...

Devi: A young drug addict, Robin, is sent to see therapist Dr Steiner, whose ministrations he must accept as a condition for avoiding a custodial sentence after perpetrating a brutal assault. Unfortunately Steiner was once a member of the Taylor-Eriksson Group and his unorthodox treatment entails taking Robin's expressed desire to 'get out of his skin' rather too literally...

Kali: An ex-member of the group, Mira, seeks out an alcoholic faith healer, Edgar Cornelson, who has lost his self-belief and requests he help her, thus unleashing the monster contained within her to find a new host...

With a pre-credits sequence that shows us a naked woman cutting off her eyelids with a pair of scissors, Tears Of Kali immediately grabs the viewer's attention and sets itself a challenge: Can it go any further or will everything else prove anticlimactic?

Unfortunately, despite decent amounts of gore and squirm-inducing moments in each story, there is only really one other incident, an eyeball gouging straight out of Lucio Fulci's Zombie, that comes at all close to upping the ante.

This said, writer-director's Andreas Marschall's energetic style - fast cuts, frenetic camera movement, mixed stocks and impossible angles and other standard music video techniques learnt shooting promos for the likes of thrash metal group Kreator - goes a considerable way to concealing this and makes you think you see a whole lot more than you actually do.

As might be expected, performances and narrative are the areas where Tears Of Kali is weakest.

Though some of the cast, such as spaghetti western veteran Peter Martell/Pietro Martzella - not in Keoma, unfortunately - and Mathieu Carrière are old professionals, the inexperience of some of the others is sometimes in evidence.

Likewise, the three stories don't really build on one another particularly well nor offer much in the way of contrasts, each featuring a minimal cast and taking place almost entirely within a single enclosed space, while the new age and mystical aspects - Jung, Joseph Campbell, creatures from the id and all that - comes across as little more than convenient window dressing.

These criticisms aside, Tears Of Kali is an effective low-budget calling-card that achieves a nice balance between pleasing the hardgore crowd without becoming an unpleasant exercise in gratuitous gore for gore sake.

Reviewed on: 26 Dec 2005
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Three spooky stories surrounding the Taylor-Eriksson group.
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Director: Andreas Marschall

Writer: Andreas Marschall

Starring: Pietro Martellanza, Anja Gebel, Jandris Irena-Heliana, Celik Nuran, Michael Balaun, Marcel Trunsch, Mathieu Carrière, Cora Chilcott, Kiefer Vronie

Year: 2004

Runtime: 106 minutes

BBFC: 18 - Age Restricted

Country: Germany


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