“Grindhouse par excellence. Not convinced this is entirely a good thing, however.”
I can certainly appreciate where the makers are trying to go with this one. Two Catholic schoolgirls, selling Bible door-to-door to raise funds for their educational establishment. Unfortunately, they knock on the wrong door: this is actually a whorehouse, run by the psychotic Lobo (Tahoe), who has just killed one of his hookers. The two are kidnapped: one is killed, while the other (Lyone) is left for dead, naked, in the nearby woods. She is taken to hospital, but has only a single thought in her head: revenge. Stealing a nurse’s uniform, she checks out, intent on taking our her wrath on Lobo and his no-less depraved sidekicks.
Particularly if you’ve seen the (thoroughly NSFW) trailer, you’ll know where this is heading, and it’s not a pleasant place. While entirely successful at evoking the grindhouse atmosphere, with its mix of sleazy, ugly sex and grimy violence, it also succeeds at being remarkably.. Well, boring is the word I’d use, and that’s close to an unforgivable sin as far as exploitation cinema goes. The pacing just seems off: it takes too long to get to what we actually want to see, which is these low-life scum getting their come-uppance. While the film does eventually deliver (Lobo’s fate will have you shifting uncomfortably), I must confess, my interest had waned well before that point.
The main problem, I think, is there is no emotional connection with the heroine. While there is an attempt to build her character early on, it’s not successful. A film like this largely stands or falls on its central performance; while Lyone is laudably game, she doesn’t have the acting chops to get the audience over on her side, and so the torments she undergoes have little or no impact, and neither does her revenge. The best grindhouse flicks achieve that connection on an almost visceral level, taking you to dark places you generally don’t want to go, and this only brushes against the edges there, making its flaws all that more obvious.
That said, I am still somewhat interested in seeing Guzman’s next work. Whatever his talents may lack elsewhere, the man has an undeniable eye for a title, and this one may even lack the grammatical issues found here. Coming soon: Nude Nuns with Big Guns.
Dir: Joseph Guzman
Star: Cheryl Lyone, Peter Tahoe, Ivet Corvea, Johnny Winscher