Directed by Trevor Mathews (Jack Brooks:Monster Slayer, The Shrine) and starring Ali Cobrin (The Hole, Bad Neighbours, Lap Dance), Adam DiMarco (Kill For Me. Radio Rebel) and Slaine (Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Killing Them Sofly) Here's a little gem that crept under my radar, I don't recall hearing anything about Girl House till it popped up online a week ago and my buddy John recommended it to me.
After doing a little research and seeing that one of my favourite rappers Slaine was in it I was sold, even more so when I found out it was the directorial debut of Trevor Mathews.
For those unfamiliar with that name, Trevor Mathews had his big screen breakout as Jack Brooks in the 2007 modern cult classic Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer which was the first feature film from director Jon Knautz.
Mathews reteamed with Knautz for his second full-length movie in 2010, the criminally underrated The Shrine. I think a lot of people didn't like The Shrine because everyone wanted a sequel to Jack Brooks and assumed Jon Knautz would at least follow it up with another horror/comedy; instead they got a dead serious terrifying tale of cults, curses and demonic possession.
Personally I loved The Shrine and I’m glad to see it has a minor cult following, hopefully that will grow even bigger one day. Trevor Mathews only had a supporting role in The Shrine but he put in a stellar performance as a xenophobic Eastern European villager.
So now onto his first time behind the camera....
The movie begins with two girls teasing a chubby kid on his way home from school, pulling his pants down and embarrassing him beyond breaking point. Interestingly one of the girls just happens to be none other than Camren Bicondova, better known as the young Selina Kyle and future Catwoman in TV’s Gotham. A cute little piece of jailbait who's bound to be a hottie, as soon as she's legal of course.... So jump 15-20 years into the future or now, Kylie Atkins (Cobrin) needs a job to pay for her college tuition so she signs up with Girl House, a secluded highly secured house where every room has a girl with her own online peepshow. All the girls live in the house and take shifts at going online doing their live shows. Most of the girls are nice to Kylie and make her feel welcome and show her around.
Eventually she finds out about 'Loverboy' (Slaine), a regular Girl House viewer who the rest of the girls think is sweet and innocent but really he's the creepy fat kid from the start of the movie who's all grown up now and is a computer programmer and professional cyber stalker. When he sees Kylie online for the first time it’s love at first sight and he becomes obsessed with her. His obsession grows stronger each day until he finally snaps, uses his tech skills to find out the secret location of the house and when he gets there he goes on a psychotic rampage, taking out everyone who gets in the way of him meeting his dream girl Kylie....
I would call this film Peeping Tom for the Big Brother generation with a dash of Psycho, a little pinch of Scream and some Maniac thrown in for good measure.
The scenario of a house with live online streaming from cameras throughout the house may remind most people of Halloween: Resurrection (fuck you Busta Rhymes!) but I found it more along the lines of the 2002 film My Little Eye.
This film also has some surprisingly good gore effects and inventive kills that will please most gorehounds. I recently saw Ali Cobrin star alongside Carmen Electra in Lap Dance, a terrible rip-off of Showgirls with annoying performances from everyone involved, including Cobrin. Thankfully she was a lot better in this film and made a decent 'final girl' worth routing for. The rest of the chicks in the house didn't do much other than walk around with their tits out looking hot and getting hacked up, but yeah they did a pretty good job there. Slaine really surprised me in this. While I was just talking about him with a friend the other day, we joked about how Slaine and Vinnie Jones are very similar, they basically play themselves in every film they're in. But then I remembered my favourite Vinnie Jones role that I’d totally forgot about and one that broke the mold for him, that of Mahogany in The Midnight Meat Train. Well Slaine's role as Loverboy did just the same, a silent, creepy psychopath that is almost the polar opposite of the gangster characters we're used to seeing him portray.
At first we see him as a reclusive pathetic cyber perv but we then get the scariest cross-dressing maniac since Norman Bates pretended to be Norma Bates or Leatherface turned tranny and chased Renee Zellwegger around the woods.
Girl House is the best slasher I’ve seen this year, ok that's not saying much as it's only February but I’m sure it'll make it onto my top 20, possibly 30 or 2015. It's not very original and hasn't anything we haven't really seen before but what it may lack in originality it definitely makes up for in quality and potential. I say potential because as Trevor Mathews first time in the director's chair this shows signs of great things to come. And hey, if Jon Knautz isn't up for it maybe Mathews could star in and direct
Jack Brooks:Monster Slayer 2? Most of us would rather see that happen than another Halloween or Friday the 13th reboot.... again....