PLOT: Two high school boys discover a woman imprisoned in an abandoned mental hospital that cannot seem to die.
This movie says a lot, and it surprisingly has a lot to say about current social climates for a movie made 10 years ago. It is a solidly-made film, but what sets it apart even more is the commentary manages to achieve on the issues of gender politics and rape culture.
Rickie and JT are lifelong friends, barely making it through their final year of high school. One day, they decide to ditch and head to the local abandoned mental institution to drink some beers and break stuff, as one does. While investigating the basement, the two come across a naked woman chained to a medical examiner’s table. While Rickie freaks out, JT’s mind goes somewhere more sinister. The next day at school, JT tells Rickie that the girl cannot die, and this fact makes JT viewer her as less than human, treating her as his own personal sex slave.
The movie is an uncomfortable watch. JT devolves very quickly into the worst instincts of human beings and the actor, Noah Segan, gives a pretty dynamic performance as the vilest character in the film. Rickie is no saint, though, which makes this film quite an interesting exploration of the psyche of young men and the toxic relationships they have with sex and women at this particular age and in a society that treats sex and women the way it does.
See, while JT is the obvious monster, treating “the dead girl” as his own tool for masturbation, Rickie’s relationship Joann is just as problematic. Rickie is one of those “nice guys” you always hear about, admiring/obsessing over Joann, a girl he’s had a crush on, from afar. But he doesn’t really even know much about Joann, still romanticizing the girl he knew when he was in elementary school. And when faced with certain death, he takes the opportunity to tell Joann how unfair she’s being by not dating him. While Rickie may not freely rape the dead girl, his views on how the woman of his desires should treat him comes from a place of privilege, and as we see at the end, SPOILERS, given the opportunity, he can be just as awful as JT.
There’s some blood and it is violent, but there’s not “splatter” per se. A lot of stuff is off-camera, but that doesn’t really detract from the impact most of the film has.
Gore Rating: 3 out of 5
This film is unsettling, but not scary. It’s a microcosm of our culture’s treatment of sex and rape culture and goes way over-the-top with it, but some things still ring true despite being hyperbolic. It’s disturbing at times and people sensitive to this sort of thing should probably steer clear.
Scare Rating: 2.5 out of 5
The dead girl is naked the whole time, you become desensitized to it, almost as much as the characters seem to be.
Sex/Nudity Rating: 5 out of 5
This is a well-made film, but a tough watch. It’s more about the human condition and how we treat each other, and how quickly we can allow ourselves to lose our humanity if given the opportunity. There are some very good performances in this film, and I always appreciate a horror film that is able to tell a story that points the mirror back on us. It’s probably not for everyone, as the subject matter is dark as hell and can make you uncomfortable, but it’s well done and it’s social commentary is even more relevant today.