Cinema/TV, Film Notes

FrightFest review – Pimped



Caution – spoilers ahead.  You might prefer to see this cold.


A dark, acid little psycho-fable.  Timid, self-doubting Sarah Montrose (Ella Scott Lynch) – whose wilder side manifests as imaginary twin sister Rachael (Lynch also) and gives her support and advice – goes to a bar and hooks up with handsome, slick Lewis Blake (Benedict Samuel).  While she thinks she’s having delirious sex upstairs with the smoothie, she looks out of the window and sees him standing outside by the pool.  She’s been the victim of a bait and switch and Lewis has scored her as a present for his cruder, richer housemate Kenneth Hanson (Robin Goldsworthy).  Feeling violated and rushing to the bathroom for a personal crisis, Sarah is handed a golf-club by Rachael and bludgeons Kenneth.  Sarah, abetted by her invisible sister, has a serious, strange talk with the enabler of her rapist, who has also been a parasite on the better-connected dead man.  Murderess and pimp collaborate on the shaggy dog noir business of woodland corpse disposal, then come home to find Kenneth’s fed-up parents (veteran Australian character actors Heather Mitchell and Lewis Fitz-Gerald) have unexpectedly arrived at the house, which they own, and want to know where their useless son is.  Sarah and Lewis have to pose as a couple while the annoying parents ask increasingly awkward questions about the obviously off-kilter situation.  Meanwhile, Rachael urges Sarah to take more extreme revenge.


Director David Barker opens the film – which he co-wrote with Lou Mentor – with a hallucinatory party, establishing a purple-lit infernal feel – with weird characters commingling to loud music, and a sense of shed identities and people letting their ids run wild – before we even meet the protagonist and her Fight Club-style alter ego.  There’s a stretch of Neil LaBute-style drama – it would even work on stage – with the men playing a cruel game they aren’t even ashamed of, callous to the woman’s feelings and not even considering how complicated – or dangerous – their toy-for-a-night might be.  Samuel (the Mad Hatter on Gotham), in particular, is wonderful as a smoothly hateful, self-justifying and utterly amoral trickster, who doesn’t even toning down his line of chat after Sarah has shown him what she can do if Rachael is let loose.  The addition of more hapless characters and late-in-the-film revelations about the heroine make for a satisfying last act, which combines farce, tragedy, revenge and psychological acuity.


Here’s the FrightFest listing.


Here’s a trailer.







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