Movie Review: “Girlhouse”

girlhouseyThere’s something in exploitation movies that should bring out the parent in us all.
All these gorgeous, nubile young women stripping and simulating sex acts, and submitting themselves to be slaughtered on camera — who ARE their parents?
In “Girlhouse,” a sexploitation-meets-slashploitation thriller, the only cast member with the good sense to go by an assumed name is the hip hop MC Slaine, the hefty fellow playing the beady-eyed pervert-killer.
The women to be slain here are inhabitants of one of those online voyeur “dorms,” fetching coeds sexing it up for the cameras in most every room in their multi-bedroom McMansion in rural North Carolina.
Girlhouse is where Kylie (Ali Cobrin) takes her new job. She’s broke and she needs the cash. She seems a little demure for all this, a little reluctant to admit she’s dipping her toe in porn.
“It’s not skanky ‘Boogie Nights’ porn,” she rationalizes.
And her new boss (James Thomas) insists “I’m no pimp. I’m the Hugh Hefner of the 21st century!”
Kylie declares that she’s “thought this through completely,” and that “I really don’t see how anything bad could happen.” Because, you know, she’s never seen a “Friday the 13th” movie.
Kylie just has to get along with Mia, Kat, Devon and the rest, and get it on –on camera, for the bored businessmen, oversexed teens and college boys on the make that the film shows paying for membership in this “technologically safe and secure” home, via cameras and computers.
But we’ve seen the prologue. We know how a little fat boy was tormented by neighbor girls, and how a murderous creep was born. And now “Loverboy” (Slaine) is an obsessed regular online at Girlhouse.
The have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too nature of the script is that it lectures us, in the opening credits, with a Ted Bundy quote tying pornography to violence against women. Director Trevor Matthews then dives, with gusto, into scenes of masturbation, moaning, lesbian make-out sessions and what can only politely be referred to as coitus.
He brings just as much gusto to the killing, as Loverboy breaks the rules, is mocked by the girls, and IT-sleuths his way into the hidden house to have his revenge — also, on camera.
A clumsy wrinkle to the script — Kylie’s discovery by a guy (Adam DiMarco) who crushed on her in high school. Ben is delighted to find her online and on camera, reluctant to tell her how he knows where she went to college and determined to start a relationship with her, never judging her choice of after-school job.
The morality tale element is a joke, the love story is feeble and there’s no tension to what’s about to happen or what then begins happening. The script gives away its mysteries. And the slaughter here is not for the squeamish, ugly, raging, pitiless violence.
So do their parents a favor and skip this picture where Ali Cobrin, Alyson Bath, Alice Hunter, Chasty Ballesteros, Nicole Arianna Fox and others turn up in and out of Victoria’s Secret’s latest. Something tells me they’d happily write-off those acting school expenses rather than encourage their daughters to do this for a living.


MPAA Rating: unrated, with graphic, bloody violence, explicit sex, profanity

Cast: Ali Cobrin, Adam DiMarco, Alyson Bath, Slaine, Alice Hunter, Chasty Ballesteros

Credits: Directed by Trevor Matthews, screenplay by Nick Gordon. A Phase4 Films release.

Running time: 1:41

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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