The Woman, or Feral Sex Slave

The Woman

Hold onto your Stockholm syndrome, lads and lasses! This one’s a doozie. Bloody Disgusting indeed. Every time I see that buzz-saw skull, I know I’m in for a real treat.

The Woman. Now, there’s a simple title. What could possibly hide behind such mystifying ambiguity? Surely it couldn’t be a blatant rape fantasy disguised as a would-be noble message of anti-misogyny? Oops, spoiler alert. Truth be told, I went looking for a bad movie based on title alone, and it seems as though my nose is sharp, and my criticism sharper. Let’s crack this nut, shall we?

The WomanThe description should send a message to any interested in rape roleplay, as it suggests a woman living in the wild is captured by a sadistic lawyer who then tries to “civilize her.” This is no Tarzan and Jane story we’re dealing with, I’ll have you know. Torture, nudity, molestation, rape, it’s all there. Quality entertainment. Ever wanted to watch a child perform nipple torture with a pair of pliers? This is the flick for you! There’s no way to look around it, because it’s basically the entire movie.

Plot-wise, there isn’t much to go on. The “protagonists” are a family of four consisting of a chronically depressed (and pregnant) daughter, a delinquent son, a submissive mother, and a complete monster of an abusive father. The father goes hunting, finds the woman living in the woods, knocks her out, and ties her up in his cellar. Then, because he’s such a generous soul, he lets his entire family participate in her civilization. Rather, he forces them, but the film is about sensationalizing rape so that goes without saying.

The WomanThe concept driving the film is designed to cause its viewers to question the difference between “feral” and “civilized.” You would obviously side with the woman after seeing what the lawyer and his son do to her, but I’m of the opinion that it’s easier to express and propagate feminism without portraying its exact opposite to an offensive extreme. As a viewer and not a director, I’d have to say that all The Woman did was piss me off. As such, my review comes down to a matter of taste, and I find this particular film profoundly distasteful.

I shan’t be attaching an alternate review this time around due to the fact that I can’t seem to find a concurrent opinion, and I’d prefer nobody else be subjected to this sensationalist garbage. If you look up an alternate review on your own, you’re going to come across the Sundance festival incident. All you need to know is, there were plenty of walkouts. That’s all. Have a great time not watching The Woman.

The Twist in the Room at the House at the End of the Street

House at the End of the Street

House at the End of the Street has got more twists than a 1960s dance floor, I tell ya what. Jennifer Lawrence has to put up with some shit. I mean that in both a plot and a bone-breaking sense. Well, there’s one bone-breaking twist, and it in itself is an emotional twist that misleads viewers. Even the suspenseful climax will keep you guessing. Gosh darn I hate reviewing good movies because I don’t want to spoil anything.

House at the End of the StreetElissa and her recently divorced mom move into a big house near a national park, only affordable because the house at the end of the street *cough* was where a family was slaughtered, leaving only one person alive… Ryan. And he still lives there. The entire town brands him a freak and hates him, as they don’t know the true story behind his family’s murder. You don’t either, so stop making crass assumptions. Quasi-spoiler, once Elissa and Ryan get a little chummy, he reveals that his brain-damaged sister Carrie-Anne killed everyone before drowning in a river. Her body was never found, so local legends have cropped up of her living in the woods.

House at the End of the StreetThere is a short introduction to the town douchebag, Tyler, which gives you someone to hate. He runs some kind of afterschool charity club which is actually a front for some stereotypical high school partying. Elissa doesn’t take too kindly to being propositioned by the drunk and “pathetically horny” Tyler lad. Aside from that, the only role he plays is trying to beat up Ryan right before things get dramatic climactic, so feel free to fully disregard him as a mechanism to incite an emotional response from you, the prospective audience. Was that too meta?

House at the End of the StreetJennifer Lawrence isn’t too bad in a horror movie victim role. Since the movie focuses more on scares oriented around the story rather than story oriented around the scares, there’s enough room for Elissa to actually receive some quality characterization, particularly by the dynamic between her and her mother. I actually found myself getting a little “involved” during the final confrontation.

Overall, House at the End of the Street comes off as a quality, modern horror story. Its only blatant clichés are a flashlight that’s low on batteries and a villain that comes back for a final scare. If you’re expecting to be doing a seeing of the boobies, you must be going to a different venue of cinematic event showing, for this instance is dedicated to the being of the quality. Ten outta ten.

Stephen Holden of NYTimes ripped House at the End of the Street for ripping from Psycho, which I haven’t seen for reasons unknown. If you want to watch something for entertainment, my mostly neutral and out-of-context review is the one for you. If you want to assess this flick as cinematic art, check out the alt review here: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/22/movies/the-house-at-the-end-of-the-street-with-jennifer-lawrence.html?_r=0

Shedding Some Light on Darkroom

Darkroom

The main issue with Darkroom is that it doesn’t experiment with the horror genre. I was terribly disappointed to discover that this was a 2013 production, which would suggest that the horror genre has, is, and will continue to struggle with a crippling creative deficit. Or I could be wrong and this uninspired flick has just added another few points to my cynic counter. The main issue with Darkroom is that it is indistinguishable from other horror movies. Imagine opening up your freezer to see a rainbow of different popsicles, but despite their colors, the only flavor is grape; different look, same bitter aftertaste. Moving on.

Michelle is a party girl undergoing counseling after accidentally killing all her friends in a crash-and-burn car accident. What incited this? She was at a club with her boyfriend, happened to see a couple arguing, and tried to intervene. When the girl’s rowdy boyfriend got confrontational, Michelle’s boyfriend scrummed with him. They and their friends were promptly ejected from the club. Despite being extremely agitated and presumably tipsy, Michelle decides to drive them all home. Death. As you can see, there’s nothing new in the throwaway horror movie female lead department.

The “horror” engages when Michelle’s counselor has her take a modeling job at an abandoned mansion. No time is wasted luring her into the basement and locking her in a cell-like room and revealing the true nature of the “job.” There was never any modeling, ohoho no! You’ve got to be purged of your sins, dear girl. Enter the psycho, Bible-thumping family of three murderers that were beaten and tortured by their mother and subsequently developed a taste for low-budget torture porn.

Minus the last embellishment, that’s the entirety of the plot. Several stragglers attempt to enter play, such as a friendly girl Michelle met in counseling, and the backstory of the bloody trio, but let’s be honest here: All Darkroom has is the fundamental horror formula, to which it added nothing. Girl does something to make herself a target, girl is targeted, girl is captured, girl fights to escape.

And to think the most entertaining part of the movie was when she put all their PSA microphones next to each other and flooded the mansion’s basement with some ear-piercing feedback. Yet another fantastic success (hee hee) on the horror front, thanks to the amazing machinations of… whoever came up with this meager sub-horror filth.

Todd Helper of StaceyPageOnline believes that Darkroom was a waste of time as well. Since this was an indie movie, I suppose being more lenient is the polite thing to do. Personally, I prefer being brutally blunt and rather rude about bad movies. If this is how they wish to begin their career in filmmaking, I wholeheartedly suggest a full-stop and change of direction, because this one? This one is a no-no. Here’s the alt-review, even though you really should just avoid Darkroom on general principle: http://www.staceypageonline.com/2013/10/31/movie-review-darkroom/