Wednesday, February 18, 2015

GIRLHOUSE (2014) movie review

GirlHouse (2014) d. Trevor Matthews / Jon Knautz (Canada)

Struggling with both her father’s recent death and university tuition, foxy but decidedly “good girl” Kylie (Ali Cobrin) hits upon a novel solution: why not take up residence in a mansion of many rooms and even more cameras for a Big Brother-ish site where the chicks get hired for the clicks they inspire? What sets the titular abode apart from every other reality/porn channel out there is its canny combo of everyday goings-on with the occasional striptease or private one-on-one chat sessions with the lovely ladies. Unfortunately for them, a slovenly, tech-wiz psychopath dubbed “Loverboy” (played by the mononymic Slaine) gets a little too turned on by Kylie’s arrival, an unhealthy obsession that grows in direct proportion to his sexually fueled violence. Before you can say “Survivor,” the fetching femmes are being stalked and (messily) slaughtered, but since the location of the GirlHouse is top-secret, no one can help – they can only watch.

Despite screenwriter Nick Gordon's inherently voyeuristic set-up, Knautz and Matthews (writer/director and writer/producer/star of Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer) are positively restrained in their depiction of this virtual den of vice. Yes, there is the smattering of gratuitous nudity, but it’s only a smattering - if I had to level a single criticism at this serviceable slasher, it’s that everything needs to be dirtied down a notch or ten.

Are we really expected to believe that this is the top-rated sex site out there, where the action never gets raunchier than lingerie-clad hotties making goo-goo eyes at their webcams or strategically draped romps in the sack with their hardbody beaus? (The biggest offense being their treatment of Cobrin, our sweetcheecks lead, never even giving us a glance at the goods supposedly driving certain boys wild enough to kill everyone in sight.)

Luckily, even though the peter meter flies at half mast throughout, the body count is high and the scenes of violence strong as Loverboy literally uses every tool in his toolbox to smash, spindle, and mutilate the fine flesh of the fairer sex while using a rubber sex doll's head to hide his face. (Nice touch, that.)

There’s a pretty disposable love story between Kylie and her nerdish secret admirer from high school (Adam DiMarco), but it does feed the plot and provides the suspenseful juice for the splattery third act. And though they may not take it all off early or often enough, there’s no denying the attraction factor of the curvaceous multi-racial cast , all of whom look as good as they scream.

Roll call: Alyson Bath (blonde bitch Devon), Elysia Rotaru (wild child Heather), Alice Hunter (brown sugar Kat), Chasty Ballesteros (saucy Asian Janet), Nicole Fox (lipstick lesbian Mia), Zuleyka Silver ("recovered" junkie Anna)

Ultimately, this is a reasonably effective body-count movie that generates more bloody thrills than expected, with special kudos to the opening sequence showing how li'l Loverboy became the twisted fella he is. It's only unfortunate that things feel so sanitized in the flesh department (the action you're seeing here in the frame grabs? Yep, that's about it) because this could have been a genuinely memorable updating of the stalk n' stab goodies of the '80s, the slasher this instant access generation deserves.

Completely gratuitous dildo shot. Because that's how we roll in 2015.

GirlHouse is available for streaming now from eOne Entertainment, with a DVD release in the not-too-distant future.

--Aaron Christensen, HorrorHound Magazine


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