Director Patrick Kennelly and his co-writer Sigrid Gilmer explore a mixture of body shaming and food porn under the guise of an arthouse film, from Midnight Releasing, with a deep dramatic thriller on a topic that truly affects the lives of many women and plagues their psychological mindset of survivability in today’s self-absorbed vanity. It is a rarity when a movie strives for real life horrors, especially a topic that brings elements of bully from multiple and usually from the so-called ‘perfect people’ and transcend into excessively cruelty to others, this movie contains some incredible disgusting nasty secrets, making the review difficult as to not reveal much of the plot.
The movie starts with the disgusting nature of society’s unfair measuring stick of who and what is acceptable and that which is below the standards of those less unfortunate, it comes from individuals, movies, television, parents, and of course the oversaturation of commercialism. This film centers practically in one location of a single apartment in Los Angeles, California, with two very different roommates Jill (Bethany Orr) and Jennifer (Mary Loveless), of both actresses starring in their first feature thriller, and do exceptionally well in their roles and create the necessary bold tension to translate the struggle to the viewers. A small introduction to understand the principle women in this film, Jill who appears plain, a harmless woman with no makeup and very unkempt and hair lounging almost daily in sweats and baggy unfashionable sweaters. She has no desires, an empty vessel of a life, drain into nothingness thorough powerless to overcome her any of her failures, having no job, or acceptance, she exists because she breathes. Though she really lets on that it is her fault for her issues, it isn’t a clear indication that she requires assistance. Rather Jill’s character finds pleasures in the comfort of food she consumes, a desire for it, as if control by a higher power to eat more, and yet does punish herself when she has the food. A mirror view of punishment and pleasure used in sadomasochistic sexual relationship Jill’s ritualistic enjoyment of food leading to her own physical self-punishment in the form of hitting and punching. It is a very intense terrifying commitment by Bethany providing the understanding of her descent further into the arena of the mentally damage. Women’s bodies are almost always on display, in all forms of media (and to a much lesser extent to men with acceptance to the ‘Dad’s Bod’) and especially in horror films, the roles find themselves excluding, and if they exist those ones are humiliated and quickly dispatch to without a second glance. Jill’s dangerous punching, binging and purging conveying the torture that a woman in a vanity-stricken society deals with in putrid manners, and herein this film turns the stomach in a thorough cleansing of the palate. Meanwhile, Jennifer lives a lavish lifestyle; her looks and body grant the acceptance of what beauty needs, and the carnal desires of many, the green light into parties, the mentality that she owns the world, while working in the fashion industry. But under the surface exist a complex world of disgust and anger, from the abusive ex-lover to the hate despise on her roommate, Jennifer uses it all to bully and tease Jill, with endless laughter and continually denouncing her existence. As roommates they share secrets, and Jill’s desire for a Rob (Wes McGee), a man they both know, but with her introvert social awkwardness she shyly hides her interest, but when she builds the courage to meet him, Jennifer conquers and sleep with him first. This all sets into motion a devastating series of POV and slow-motion camera angles of the vengeance of the belittling by so-called friends. There is one scene, which becomes quite interesting as both women appear outside, and Jennifer partially clothed, and fairly disorientated, for reasons you’ll learn when watching the film, but the scene shows the male point of view. His preconceived notion of the women, with the attitude to his female partner, “You know how they are…” perhaps a double innuendo, and Jill showing a brief sensibility to her raging psychotic episode. This though drives to the point of a likely indirect reference to Jeffrey Dahmer, where the police caught him with victim but dismiss it as a lovers’ quarrel, and everyone knows how that ended.
A few issues with the overall film, come from the lack of proper editing it simply drags for too long, the extra time does not aid the movie any further, it series of repeated images flash onto the screen. Also, both women do successfully commit to their roles, with the dedication to their temper and attitude, however not their bodies, Orr does not give the look of a binge eater and diner of tv dinners, and Jennifer very attractive, could have had a complaining scene of how the industry craves size 0 models, otherwise everything else works very well.
If you, the viewer, feel that this movie contains torture porn aspect of a disfiguring process of gory means, move along, it rather contains a psychological thriller, wrapped in a dark drama, that forces you to evaluate your own thoughts on the female body and the meaning of beauty, whether the surfaces attracts more the inner true personality. Therefore, if tired from the zombie apocalypse, staking out all the vampires, and sworn off the carnivals then this might be the rotten meal ticket for you.
This review originally published in Rogue Cinema’s April issue in 2015 with 1,773 views.
IMDb Rating: 3.8/10
Baron’s Rating: 4/10