ORBzine - Slasher Flicks 2014 Movie Reviews

TITLE & REVIEW

Bad Karma (2001)

Bad Karma (2001) Mental patient Patsy Kensit escapes. She then stalks a shrink (Patrick Muldoon) who thinks she is the reincarnation of Jack the Ripper.

This was filmed in the Republic of Ireland.

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Cabin In The Woods, The (2011)

Cabin In The Woods, The (2011) Five stereotypical college kids (slut, jock, nerd, stoner and good girl) go on a road trip to a remote cabin - in the woods. Naturally, to everyone who has seen Evil Dead (or any one of a hundred different horror movies) this is the beginning of a stalk-and-slash story. Yes, expect zombies, werewolves, Cenobites, a merman ...

If some of the kids look familiar, that is because the slut is Anna Hutchison , the jock is Chris Hemsworth ( Expendables 2 ) and the stoner is Fran Kranz ( Dollhouse ).

The trailers give away the fact that this is not as straightforward as it seems. From the get-go, the film lets us know things are being manipulated by an office full of workers. Bradley Whitford ( The Handmaid's Tale ) is there, backed up by Joss Whedon's familiar faces like Amy Acker and Tom Lenk ( Buffy: Season 6 ).

The climax, however, includes a final twist that shows this to be more than just a standard meta-thriller. Even knowing there are two stories that eventually overlap, there are still surprises to be had. All in all, an amazing piece of work. Knowing that the creators are responsible for Cloverfield and Buffy: Season 4 may allow you to see additional references ...

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Cry Wolf (2005)

Cry Wolf (2005) After a murder is reported nearby, a bunch of College students ( Lindy Booth , Jared Padalecki - Supernatural ) mess with each others' heads in a series of pranks. Is it Gossip or Urban Legend ? Is there a REAL serial killer after them?

There are lots of twists - perhaps too many. It tries too hard - but without a big budget (no stars = no publicity) it only had a very complex script to reel in the viewers.

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Cursed (2005)

Cursed Christina Ricci and her brother Jesse Eisenberg ( Kick-Ass, Scott Pilgrim ) are stalked by a werewolf in modern-day Los Angeles. But out of an all-star cast, who is the lycanthrope?

Christina has love interest Joshua Jackson ( Fringe ), rival Judy Greer and boss Michael Rosenbaum ( Smallville ) to worry about.

Jesse wants to date Kristina Anapau , but has to deal with School bully Milo Ventriglia ( Heroes ).

This was directed by Wes Craven , and needed lots of re-shoots. Unfortunately the result of the re-editing is a disjointed effort.

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House at the End of the Street (2012)

House at the End of the Street (2012) As the title may suggest, this is a low-budget suspense thriller. A teenage school-girl ( Jennifer Lawrence - action girl Katniss in Hunger Games ) and her single mother move into a remote house. The house next door was scene to a couple of brutal murders, and the killer was never found. Katniss' mother ( Elizabeth Shue ) is a lady doctor who mostly works night shifts, when she is not hanging out with local sheriff Gill Bellows ( Shawshank Redemption ). This leaves Katniss free to meet the usual teenage cliched characters at school.

Katniss also befriends the boy next door - sole survivor of the murdered family. Of course, in this kind of film there is a nasty secret. It is all a bit predictable, but no worse than similar shockers Silent House or The Pact . In fact, this is more mainstream version - for some reason it was given a 15 certificate in the UK, but it is a pretty tame, PG-13 film.

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Julia's Eyes (2010)

Julia's Eyes (2010) The heroine is slowly going blind. She stays in her dead sister's home - but suspects that her sister's suicide was actually murder. There is a stalker that only she can see - but she (and we) only see him as a shadow ...

This is certainly not the most original story, since it was made twice by Hollywood about twenty years ago ( Jennifer 8). The film is let down by an over-long climax - The third act seems to go on forever!

This is a Spanish film, produced by Guillermo Del Torro . But despite this eminent horror movie credential, there is no supernatural element. Thus, it can technically be categorised as a crime thriller, not a horror one.

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Night Flier (1997)

Night Flier (1997) Miguel Ferrer ( Robocop ) is a reporter obsessed with a serial killer. This particular killer uses a push-prop monoplane to fly from victim to victim.

This was based on a Stephen King short story. It is a suspenseful effort, despite being a made-for-TV movie.

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Orphan

Orphan An American couple adopt a young girl. Unfortunately she is creepy, and mysterious accidents happen to everyone around her.

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Roommate, The

Roommate, The This is practically a scene-for-scene remake of Single White Female. Unfortunately, it does not have the toplessness. Minka Kelly is a 29-year-old pretending to be ten years younger. Leighton Meester is her new college room-mate, and Billy Zane (Titanic) is the lecherous college professor.

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Single White Female

Single White Female This is based on a novel, and follows the Room-mate from hell theme. Brigid Fonda breaks up with her BF, and takes Jennifer Jason Leigh as her new lodger. Unfortunately, the new lodger is not taking her medication. There is a lot of violence, and some memorable toplessness.

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Sorority Row

Sorority Row Some super-beautiful girls hang out in a US College Sorority. Audrina Patridge is a babe, Rumer Willis is the token nerdy girl, and Carrie Fisher is the House Mother. The Queen Bitch and her pals play a practical joke on someone. Naturally it all goes badly wrong.

A year later, someone starts bumping off the witnesses. Like in I Know What You Did Last Summer , but with more babes and fewer guys ... think Black Christmas (2005) done without the sense of irony.

Despite its cliched nature, it actually gets better in the third act. This is because Carrie Fisher has some great scenes in it - perhaps she rewrote her own dialogue (as she did in Time Guardian

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Stitches (2012)

Stitches This is a rough-around-the-edges slasher parody from County Wicklow, Ireland. It is all very tongue-in-cheek, although one imagines that the American market will not understand the combination of horror and comedy. It works well either way. The SPFX are incredibly gory.

Stitches is a second-rate clown played by English stand-up comedian Ross Noble. He performs at an 8-year-old's birthday party, but the group of kids play cruel tricks on him and he dies in a horrific accident as a result.

The film jumps forward six years, until the characters are all supposedly 14 years old. The fact that they are played by unknowns helps it work, but the actors are all bound to be ten years older than their characters.

The birthday boy, now a Harry Potter lookalike, is terrified of clowns and birthdays. But eventually his friends talk him into holding a party so he can invite the girl of his dreams. Naturally, the party grows, and then gets gate-crashed by a killer clown back from the dead!

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Stoker (2013)

Stoker Mia Wasiawski and her recently-widowed mother ( Nicole Kidman ) are joined by creepy uncle Matthew Goode ( Watchmen ).

This was directed by the same man who directed the shocking Korean film, Oldboy . He has added some incredible visual touches. It is basically a vampire film without the trappings of vampirism. The blood-lust is human, not supernatural, and the result is a stylish display of psychopathic violence.

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Unwanted Guest (2016)

Unwanted Guest (2016) This is a story about a couple of college girls on winter break. The brunette's family is away in Europe, so the blonde one invites her to stay in her upper-middle-class home. However, the brunette sets her eyes on her friend's stepfather and starts to ingratiate herself into the family. Her efforts as a care-giver and home-maker might seem benign, were it not for her tendency to roofie everyone who might pose a threat to her. Also, the police are investigating a series of mysterious deaths on the campus.

This has a few similarities with Single White Female , but it is a made-for-television movie-of-the-week effort. It smacks of the old based on a true story films that proliferated on daytime television a few years ago, although it seems too generic to be about a specific true-crime event.

Like most made-for-TV entertainment, this is aimed at a female audience. As a result the main characters are female, with the stepfather and the cops almost thrown in as afterthoughts. While relatively few Hollywood movies pass the Bechdel test, this is not the same for TV movies.

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Venom (2008)

Venom (2008) Louisiana, USA - a redneck is contaminated by evil souls that had been imprisoned by voodoo. Now a murderous zombie, he goes on a kill-crazy rampage after Agnes Bruckner and her hot teenage friends.

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The Ward (2010)

The Ward A young woman ( Amber Heard ), the archetypal Final Girl of the horror genre, is sent to a looney bin in early 1960s USA - the era of ECT and dubious experiments. She is put on a ward filled with similarly attractive young women, where they are stalked by a potentially supernatural mass-murderer.

This is John Carpenter 's comeback, eight years after Ghosts of Mars - but it is boring and predictable. The cast of B-List starlets (up-and-comers, like the sidekick from the 2010 Nikita TV show) are nice to look at ... But the Killer is just bland. Carpenter is the king of the slasher film, he gave us Halloween , arguably the first and best example of the genre. Then he moved away from the teenagers in danger trope and gave us grown men in danger in The Thing . He seems to have forgotten everything he taught us. This just adds to the disappointment.

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Wilderness (2006)

Wilderness The story starts with a bunch of Young Offenders in a tough 1970s-style Borstal (like in the infamous prison drama Scum. Tough guard Sean Pertwee ( Event Horizon ) takes the lads on a field trip to a remote island. They bump into an identical party comprising of their female counterparts, including Lenora Critchlow .

Someone with a crossbow and pack of hunting dogs starts to bump them off. There is no chainsaw or hockey mask - this killer wears a ghillie suit, which makes him the most convincing threat in the genre!

What separates this from a revenge thriller is the apparent lack of justice. The victim's pain is inversely proportional to the amount they deserve it.

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Pact Franchise

The Pact

The Pact Agnes Bruckner returns to her childhood home after the death of her mother. But her presence seems to awaken some hostile entity ...

A few days later, her sister ( Caity Lotz ) arrives to look for her. Nobody bothers reporting her missing, because of her drug habit. This is perhaps the first major break in suspension of disbelief, but when things get worse she has to get help from Police detective Casper Van Dien ( Starship Troopers ). Of course, nobody believes her ...

This is a small independent film, written and directed by a relative unknown. The direction is decent and quite suspenseful, although the incidental music is a bit overwhelming. However, the story itself is cobbled together from lots of scenes in other films. The cop starts doing spirit photography, and the Last Girl happens to know a genuine psychic medium in town. The biggest debt this shows to anything is What Lies Beneath , because the film takes a complete change of direction in the final act.

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The Pact 2

The Pact 2

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Psycho Franchise

Psycho (1960)

Psycho (1960) Marion Crane ( Janet Leigh ) steals a large sum of cash from her employer in the hope of running away with her boyfriend. Before she can meet up with him, she stops off for the night at the Bates Motel. The owner-operator, Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins - The Black Hole (1979) ), seems nice enough. But his mother ...

A private investigator, Arbogast (Martin Balsam - ) goes looking for Marion. While it may seem to be a modern trope that the saviour figure dies, Arbogast is a sacrificial lamb just as much as Marion Crane herself. While she brings attractiveness, he brings toughness - qualities that make their inevitable deaths at the killer's hands to be particularly shocking.

Marion's sister Lila ( Vera Miles ) is also investigating the disappearances. She plays the equivalent of what might be called the Final Girl, although in this pre-feminist era she has a man to help her out.

  • Psycho 2 (1983)
  • Psycho III (1986)
  • Psycho IV (1990)
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    Psycho 2 (1983)

    Psycho 2 (1983) Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins - The Black Hole ) is released from a mental institution after two decades. His shrink (Robert Loggia - ) claims to have cured him. He gets sent back to the motel, to take over from the interim manager (Denis Franz - ) who is not pleased to see him.

    A young woman ( Meg Tilly ) befriends Norman and gets herself hired to help out at the motel. The role was originally intended for Jamie Lee Curtis , who turned it down because she had already done Halloween . Is she stalking him, or is he stalking her?

    This is a worthy successor to the original. While this is a full-colour effort, in contrast to the black and white original, the film-makers did not try to capitalise on the new technology and try to out-gore the original. Instead they stuck to the original's Hitchcockian suspense. An innovative script ties up a few loose ends but leaves the story open for a continuation of the franchise.

  • Psycho (1960)
  • Psycho III (1986)
  • Psycho IV (1990)
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    Psycho III (1986)

    Psycho III This starts with an homage to another Hitchcock movie, Vertigo. A trainee nun ( Diana Scarwid ) has a crisis of faith, and ends up suicidal in the bell-tower. When she gets expelled from the nunnery she has the misfortune of hitching a ride with a sleazy musician named Duke (Jeff Fahey - Lost ). They both end up at the Bates Motel, but with very different roles in the story.

    Finally we get to meet Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins - The Black Hole ). The initial shots of the motel include references to the events of the previous film, and we even get a flashback clip of that movie's epilogue. Norman's hobby is to poison the local bird life so they make new subjects for his taxidermy. Yes, as the flashback indicates that Norman is no longer just a passive accomplice in the crimes committed by his mother's personality.

    The nun, whose initials are MC, has the same hairstyle as Marion Crane ( Janet Leigh ). Her mental issues compliment Norman's, although while she is given psychiatric treatment he is not. Yes, nobody bothered to replace the shrink from the previous film.

    Duke gets hired as the temporary manager at the motel. Before long it is full of sexy topless young women who are excellent slasher fodder for Norman's mother. Duke himself is a thief who wants a promotion into blackmailer. Yes, the story has an actual up-front villain this time.

    This was directed by Perkins himself, who does a good job if it. As an actor he can sleepwalk through the role he has played for two and a half decades. The real breakout star is Fahey, who unfortunately never really shined as much in any of his later roles.

  • Psycho (1960)
  • Psycho 2 (1983)
  • Psycho IV (1990)
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    Psycho IV (1990)

    Psycho IV Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins - The Black Hole ) is on a radio chat-show. He has flashbacks to when he was young, and looked like Henry Thomas ( E.T. ). Back then, the house actually looked ... Nice. Unfortunately the bits in the Modern Age are poorly acted (except Norman) and written.

  • Psycho (1960)
  • Psycho 2 (1983)
  • Psycho III (1986)
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    Psycho (1998)

    Psycho (1998) Marion Crane ( Anne Heche ) steals a large sum of cash from her employer in the hope of running away with her boyfriend. Before she can meet up with him, she stops off for the night at the Bates Motel. The owner-operator, Norman Bates (Vince Vaughn - ), seems nice enough. But his mother ...

    A private investigator, Arbogast (William H. Macy - ) goes looking for Marion. While it may seem to be a modern trope that the saviour figure dies, Arbogast is a sacrificial lamb just as much as Marion Crane herself. While she brings attractiveness, he brings toughness - qualities that make their inevitable deaths at the killer's hands to be particularly shocking.

    Marion's sister Lila ( Julianne Moore ) is also investigating the disappearances. She plays the equivalent of what might be called the Final Girl, although since this was written in the pre-feminist era she has a man to help her out.

    The director, Gus Van Sant , took this directly from the same shooting script that Hitchcock used on the original film thirty-eight years previously. The one thing that was updated was the amount of money which was stolen. Apart from that, the result is strikingly similar.

  • Psycho 2 (1983)
  • Psycho III (1986)
  • Psycho IV (1990)
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    Rape and Revenge Genre

    American Mary (2012)

    American Mary (2012) Mary Mason ( Katharine Isabelle ) is a medical student who is desperate for money. She goes to a go-go club to audition as a masseuse, and ends up getting sucked into the world of illegal surgery and body modification.

    The film's dramatic storyline has a rape-and-revenge subplot. Mary is sexually assaulted, and takes a horrific revenge on her attacker. While the distributors focus on this subplot so they can safely categorise the film as horror, it is a character drama rather than a slasher film or a torture porn flick.

    This was written and directed by the Soska Sisters , and is a prime example of their reinvention of the horror genre.

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    Asking For It (2022)

    Asking For It (2022) The protagonist ( ) is a ...

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    Bound To Vengeance

    Bound To Vengeance A Final Girl is held prisoner in a dungeon. However, the torture porn does not procede in the cliched way the old movies did. Instead it embraces the new trope - that the female of the species is more deadly than the male. The girl overpowers her captor, and tortures him into taking her to save his other victims. However, things do not go exactly as she plans.

    The man repeatedly suggests that she take him to a hospital. After her own ordeal, a trip to a doctor would probably be a good idea. Also, the police would be far better suited to getting the truth out of him and rescuing the other girls than she would. However, we must suspend our disbelief and embrace the unlikely premise of this story.

    The story is intercut with flashbacks, found footage of the girl on a day out at the beach with her boyfriend and sister. This adds a sense of unreality to the movie, because it leaves us unsure of how much the Untruthful Narrator trope will be invoked.

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    Elle (2016)

    Elle (2016) A middle-aged businesswoman ( Isabelle Huppert ) is victim to a violent rape. She does not inform the police - it turns out that she does not trust them, as her father is a convicted spree-killer currently up for parole. Instead she fantasises about taking revenge on her attacker, and arms herself appropriately.

    This is shot entirely in the French language, with subtitles in English. The cast and crew were all French, with a couple of exceptions. So why is it not listed among the Giallo genre efforts? The director, Paul Verhoeven , is Dutch - but in the 1980s and 1990s he made a string of big-budget Hollywood hits, so he is an International film-maker rather than a European one. This movie was originally intended as an English-language effort, but Verhoeven was unable to find a middle-aged American actress who had the big-name recognition necessary for the project.

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    Even Lambs Have Teeth (2015)

    Even Lambs Have Teeth (2015)

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    Final Girl (2015)

    Final Girl (2015) As the title would suggest, this is a slasher movie with a twist on the trope about the female protagonist. Instead of there being a single killer wiping out a bunch of girls until only one is left, there is a gang of killers who get wiped out by their intended victim.

    Psychologist Wes Bentley ( Hunger Games ) takes an orphaned young girl under his wing. He trains her like Hit-Girl in Kick-Ass , and she grows up to be Abigail Breslin . Then he sets her loose as live bait to entrap Alexander Ludwig ( Vikings ) and his gang of Frat-boy types who play The Most Dangerous Game with young blonde women in the woods.

    Breslin has been menaced by serial killers before, in Scream Queens . And in all fairness, even though that show was played entirely for laughs it is a lot more realistic than this effort. The lead actress is petite, slender and entirely unconvincing in her fight scenes.

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    Final Girls, The (2015)

    Final Girls, The (2015) This is stacked with the others because of the similar title, the fact that it features Alexander Ludwig ( Vikings ) and came out the same year. However, it is not actually part of the rape-and-revenge genre. In fact, it bounces between three other genres.

    The first story this movie tells is about a tweenage girl ( Taissa Farmiga ) and her single mother ( Malin Akerman ) who used to be a Scream Queen actress in teen slasher movies. The girl gets orphaned, and spends the rest of the story trying to get over her loss.

    The orphan and her friend ( Nina Dobrev ) get roped into attending a public showing of the slasher movie that made her mother infamous. Things go wrong, and the tweenagers find themselves magically transported to inside the movie. This is basically a parody of the Friday the 13th series.

    When the slaughter really begins, this film reveals its third genre. The scares and gore are on a par with the original films that this seeks to parody. In fact, the originals are tongue-in-cheek and have nothing to compare with the slo-mo running-while-on-fire scene.

    This is a good film that works on several levels. It is even set up for a sequel, which has yet to appear. However, the mix of genres makes it an uneven ride.

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    Girls Against Boys (2012)

    Girls Against Boys College student Danielle Panabaker attends Womens Studies classes during the week, instead of taking a STEM class. She dates a married man at the weekend, so she is a home-wrecker into the bargain. In no way should she be taken as a feminist icon.

    Our heroine gets stood up, but luckily she meets another girl who offers to cheer her up. The girl takes her to a bar, and they end up hanging out with some very rapey dudes. One thing leads to another, and we end up in a rape-and-revenge thriller.

    The storyline is predictable, but the high point is actually some Tarantino-esque dialogue between the girls.

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    I Spit On Your Grave (1978)

    I Spit On Your Grave (1978)

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    I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu (2018)

    I Spit On Your Grave: Deja Vu (2018) Camille Keaton , survivor of the original movie forty years previously, is attacked by the families of the men she murdered.

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    I Spit On Your Grave (2010)

    I Spit On Your Grave (2010) After The Hills Have Eyes and Last House on The Left , this is yet another remake of a classic 1970s rape-revenge Z-Movie. Yes, just what the world needs - not!

    A privileged middle-class woman ( Sarah Butler ) goes to an isolated cabin in the woods, just like in all the best slasher films. She is menaced by some working-class men, who subject her to an attack not entirely un-reminiscent of Deliverance.

    Does she do what Jodie Foster did in The Accused, or what victims do every week in Law & Order: SVU? No, she goes on a rampage that owes as much to torture-porn like the Saw Series as it does to the original film this is based on. Think Turistas AKA Paradise Lost - but the bikini babe is the murderer while the yokels (white, not Brazilian, so it is not racist) are the victims.

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    I Spit On Your Grave 2 (2013)

    I Spit On Your Grave 2 This follows the same general storyline as the original film, but with a few minor changes. Instead of being set in the backwoods of the USA it takes place in Eastern Europe, so they can use cheap locations and a cast of unknowns. Even more so than the first film, that is.

    The violent aspects of the film are exaggerated beyond all realism. One victim is cornered in the most filthy bathroom ever - seriously, this place has never been flushed never mind cleaned! And the girl somehow overpowers a man twice her weight and carries him around.

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    I Spit On Your Grave 3: Vengeance Is Mine (2015)

    I Spit On Your Grave 3: Vengeance Is Mine The protagonists from the first two movies meet up at a rape crisis centre. They bond over a mutual mistrust and hatred of men, and express wonder at how the men must treat the women in their lives. Nobody points out that in a gender-segregated world, the men have no female influence in their lives. Small wonder that their masculinity is regarded as toxic.

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    Jennifer's Body (2009)

    Jennifer's Body This is a watchable horror film, and the reason it flopped on original release is because it was poorly marketed. It was written by Diablo Cody, best known for the critically acclaimed Juno. She delivers a lot of her trademark snappy dialogue.

    This film follows some of the rules of the traditional horror movie. For example, the protagonist is a Final Girl ( Amanda Seyfried ) and the antagonist is a demonic monster that kills teenagers. However, the monster does not chase gorgeous cheerleaders like Jennifer ( Megan Fox ) - she IS the monster!

    Jennifer is abducted by a music band, who sacrifice her as part of a Satanic pact. Unfortunately she is not a virgin, so she comes back as a demonic monster. This is a typical setup for a rape-and-revenge story. What makes it a more typical horror movie is the fact that instead of seeking revenge on her abusers, she attacks innocent victims like Kyle Gallner ( Beautiful Creatures ).

    The Final Girl is Jennifer's nerdy friend, Needy. Their friendship, and its degeneration as the story progresses, is the core of the film. In other words, this is really an inferior version of Ginger Snaps .

    The real problem with the film is that it seems uncertain of what genre it is. It is set up as a thriller, but the Second Act lacks conflict between the leads so it is really a drama. The title character's backstory is intended as sympathetic, but she is clearly the antagonist. This at least allows the reactive protagonist to shine.

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    Last Girl Standing (2015)

    Last Girl Standing This is based on the trope of the Final girl. A bunch of tweenagers go camping in the woods, and got massacred by a masked man with a machete. Naturally, only one girl survived.

    Years later, the survivor is still suffering from PTSD. She works in a drycleaners, and befriends a male cow-orker. Unfortunately someone starts to stalk her, dressed as the original killer.

    Has the original killer come back for revenge? Is she being gaslighted by a copycat? Or is this a case of the untruthful narrator, when it turns out that the protagonist and antagonist are the same person?

    Things hot up in the final act, when we find out who the killer is. The climax is a kill-crazy massacre, which makes up for the lacklustre suspense of the previous hour.

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    The Last House (2018)

    The Last House (2018) Camille Keaton , best known as the woman in I Spit On Your Grave (1978) , is once again hassled by a group of working-class men who corner her in her Cabin In the Woods . This time there are only three of them, and they are simply trying to pressure her into selling her house to their father.

    The rape may not happen, but the revenge is certainly a thing. In fact, it is pre-emptive so it is not really revenge.

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    Patchwork (2020)

    Patchwork (2020) A young woman wakes up as a kind of Frankenstein's monster. It turns out that she has been edited together with two other girls. Through a series of flashbacks we discover that they were all in the same bar the night before. Now they have to work together, three minds controlling one body, as they try to escape and work out why they have been frankensteined together.

    Power corrupts, and the girls are no exception. They use their superhuman strength to go on a killing spree. Specifically they target men they met in the bar on that night. Partly because those men are suspects in their killings, but mostly just out of mean-spiritedness.

    Instead of a creepy old man, the Surgeon is a younger man. Sort of like Herbert West in Reanimator , but not such a tight-ass.

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    Promising Young Woman (2020)

    Promising Young Woman (2020) Like all good monster movies, this is named after the monster itself. Cassie ( Carey Mulligan ) is a predator who traps the unwary. The obvious comparison is with Jason Voorhees, who targets any horny tweenagers who threaten to dip their foot into his swimming hole.

    Is this appraisal too blunt? What if Clancy Brown (The Kurgan in Highlander (1986) ) played the lead role instead of her father, and had a gender-neutral selection of victims? Perhaps the closest thing to this is Jennifer's Body , another empowering female-led horror movie which, had it not been sunk by a terrible marketing campaign, might have received the same acclaim as this film.

    Margot Robbie produced this movie, but turned down the lead role because it would bring too much comparison with Harley Quinn in Birds of Prey . A better comparison might be between PYW and Joker (2019) , which similarly explores mental illness and revenge. In contrast, BOP is simply an attempt at creating a female Deadpool .

    In the second act, the main character starts to get over her mental issues. She chooses to be in a relationship with a boy she knew in college. The movie changes tone, and becomes a parody of rom-com films.

    This leads into the final act, where expectations are subverted several times. It is all cleverly done, but it is not as clever as some people seem to think.

    Is this a long-awaited critique of raunch culture of the first decade of this century? Well, Veronica Mars did it first, and did it better. Secondly, that raunch culture was the freedom-loving Girl Power of the Nineties which was destroyed by Nipplegate and the Religious Right in the USA.

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    Return to Sender (2015)

    Return to Sender (2015) A nurse ( Rosamund Pike ) becomes obsessed with an abusive man.

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    Revenge (2017)

    Revenge (2017)

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    Savaged AKA Avenged (2013)

    Savaged AKA Avenged (2013) A young hearing-impaired woman takes a one-person driving holiday across Arizona. Unfortunately she runs into a gang of racist rednecks run by Rodney Rowland ( Space: Above and Beyond ). Like every survival film since Deliverance , things take a turn for the worse …

    Evoking the Magic Negro cliché, the token Native American character is a medicine man. He tries to keep the girl’s soul in her body. Unfortunately she ends up soul-possessed by a vengeance spirit - like in The Crow , but with the spirit of Apache chieftain Mangas Coloradas instead of a demon.

    Given the played-out nature of the genre and the low budget of the film, this is actually quite a watchable film.

  • I Spit On Your Grave
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    Savage Vengeance (1993)

    Savage Vengeance (1993)

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    Scar (2007)

    Scar Joan ( Angela Bettis ) is a traumatised survivor of an encounter with a serial killer. She returns home to the small town she grew up in, and has an extended flashback to her teenage years.

    The town is so small that the only person of colour is Brandon Jay McLaren ( Tucker & Dale Versus Evil ), the Canadian actor who always fills the role in this kind of thing. Teenagers got abducted and murdered. Joan and her friend were the final girls, tortured but not sexually assaulted. Just torture porn, not pornographic torture.

    In the modern day, someone starts to kill off the townsfolk. Joan sees someone dressed as the original serial killer. Is she halucinating? Is he returned from the dead? Or is it just a copycat?

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    The Seasoning House (2012)

    The Seasoning House The protagonist is Angela ( Rosie Day ), a deaf-mute girl who dresses like River Tam in Firefly . She lives in an unnamed European country (presumably somewhere in the Former Yugoslavia, circa 1995) where she is abducted by a Militia led by Sean Pertwee ( Gotham ).

    Angela is kept in the militia's sex dungeon. She befriends one of the sex slaves, Vanya ( Dominique Provost ). Unfortunately this is not a happy-happy movie.

    The result is more like I Spit On Your Grave than Die Hard, although the Final Girl does spend a lot of time climbing about in the hollow walls of the house like in the remake of Black Christmas .

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    The Secrets We Keep (2020)

    The Secrets We Keep (2020) A 1950s US housewife ( Noomi Rapace ) suspects that she recognises her new neighbour (Joel Kinneman - Suicide Squad ). She is a GI bride, formerly a refugee from the Second World War, and she thinks that the neighbour is a Nazi war criminal.

    Rather than just turn him in to the authorities, the woman abducts him and tries to torture him into confessing. Her use of a hammer is reminiscent of the actress's most famous role - as Lizbo Salamander in the Swedish TV adaptation of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo series.

    This has been done before, and better. The basic premise is the stage-play, Death and the Maiden . It was even adapted as an episode of the TV show Evil (2019) .

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    Straightheads (2007) AKA Closure

    Straightheads (2007) A career businesswoman ( Gillian Anderson ) hires a security engineer (Danny Dyer - ) to install CCTV cameras inside her apartment. Afterwards, she gets him to be her plus one at an event in a remote countryside mansion. Unfortunately, on the way home they are ambushed by the nastiest group of yokels since Deliverance (1971) .

    This is not just a straightforward rape-and-revenge. Part of it is the character development of Danny Dyer's character. At the start he is a harmless fellow who cannot put a dying animal out of its misery. However, by the end of the story he has evolved into a bloodthirsty killer.

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    Teeth (2007)

    Teeth (2007) Dawn ( Jess Weixler ), a girl with vagina dentata, seeks revenge on potentially abusive men.

    Her effeminate boy-buddy Tobey (Hale Appleman - The Magicians ) and her creepy step-brother Brad (John Hensley - Witchblade ) are on her hit list.

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    A Vigilante (2018)

    A Vigilante (2018) This movie sometimes gets mentioned in regard to Promising Young Woman . However, they are very different films even if they do deal with similar subject matter. This is much grittier than PYW, which is basically a parody of the pro-sex culture that ended with the extremist backlash to Nipplegate.

    Sadie ( Olivia Wilde ) is a sadist, who gets a thrill from torturing and robbing people. What makes this socially acceptable, so the audience can get a thrill out of it without any pangs of guilt, is her choice of victims. She targets men who she is told are abusive to their wives, although one time she alters her modus operandi and targets a neglectful mother whose child is in a bad way.

    The protagonist's backstory leads into the climactic third act. It turns out that her husband (Morgan Spector - ) was an abuser who taught her home-made first aid and gave her a high tolerance for pain. She also learned survivalist camping skills from him, and taught herself krav maga from a manual he owned. These skills come in useful as she tries to track him down for a final violent confrontation.

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    W Delta Z AKA The Killing Gene (2007)

    W Delta Z A rookie detective ( Melissa George ) and her hardboiled partner (Stellan Skaarsgard - Dogville ) investigate a series of ritualistic torture-killings.

    A young Tom Hardy ( The Dark Knight Rises ) and his mixed-race gang of street thugs once terrorised Selma Blair . Now it seems that she has come back for revenge, in a sadistic manner reminiscent of Saw .

    This is set in New York City - perhaps the seediest and most unpleasant version of the city presented since Lucio Fulci's 1970s gore-fest The New York Ripper . One should note, then, that it was in actual fact mostly shot in Belfast.

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    Soon

    Soon

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