Thursday, 23 July 2015

GirlHouse (2015)

Insipid, uninspired, and a prime example of unfulfilled potential in a slasher thriller, GIRLHOUSE arrives on DVD courtesy of Signature Entertainment.
Kylie Atkins (Ali Cobrin) is a student desperate for money to pay her tuition fees. She successfully auditions to become part of a house filled with lovely girls whose almost every move is filmed and broadcast via a subscription-only internet live feed. She quickly becomes a success and draws the attention of the socially inadequate but physically powerful Loverboy (Slaine), whom she upsets. Via a series of contrivances Loverboy discovers the secret location of the GirlHouse and turns up to kill everyone.

Did the internet make him like this?
Look at that plot - ridiculous, unbelievable, and therefore with the potential to be something utterly brilliant. In the hands of a Sergio Martino (TORSO, STRANGE VICE OF MRS WARDH, etc)  GIRLHOUSE could have been the stuff of sleazy exploitation gold, filled with bitchy dialogue and plenty of voyeuristically deviant behaviour in between horrible gory murders. Instead, for the most part GIRLHOUSE downplays its potential for overt eroticism, unrelenting suspense and mortifying horror to instead try and be the kiss of death for stuff like this - A Respectable Film.

I felt sorry for him
It is completely understandable that some actresses don’t want to take their clothes off on screen, but casting one as the leading lady in a film with this title and subject matter inevitably means you’re going to have to create a number of increasingly contrived setups to cover her up in the scenes where she needs to be topless, and in GIRLHOUSE these rapidly reach the comedic heights of that scene in AUSTIN POWERS with the balloons and the teapot. 

Not a teapot in sight…yet
I felt sorry for Loverboy. I presumed I was meant to feel sorry for Loverboy. I assumed, therefore, that Loverboy would not turn out to be the killer at all, and I would be allowed to feel a sense of relief that this was not the kind of film that would exploit the stereotype of the obviously unhappy, isolated, unloved fellow that he is. But I was wrong and so is GIRLHOUSE. There are no twists and no surprises, so I’m not spoiling anything by telling you this. 
I will admit that the finale of GIRLHOUSE is quite well put together, with an effective rampage by our killer. By the time we get there, however, many viewers may well have switched off and gone to find something a bit more worthwhile. And I can’t honestly blame them. I haven't even mentioned the entirely inappropriate quote that starts the film off and had me bristling before the first image had appeared. There are much sexier, scarier slasher thrillers out there than this. Give it a miss and wait for the next one to come along. 

GIRLHOUSE is being released on Region 2 DVD by Signature Entertainment on 20th July 2015

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