Life would be tough enough for Mallory, a pale freckled redhead in boarding school in Bangkok.
She crossed the Russian Mean Girl at school, the sort who cracks her knuckles after bloodying Mallory’s nose, hits her with “Hey, Snitch, I swear to God I will KILL you” in her best adolescent Bond Villain voice, and is the Queen of Victimhood when she gets clocked in the way she so richly deserves.
Unfortunately, Mallory (Kelly Ann McCart) used a weapon. And that’s how she ends up “Locked Up.”
Guardian Uncle Tommy (Jared Cohn, also the writer/director) isn’t all that sympathetic.
“Congratulations,” he says between pills and belts of the local booze. That’s Mallory’s next misstep, an overdose.
“Locked Up” is a little “Locked Up Abroad,” a little less “Orange is the New Black” with a hint of “Brokedown Palace.” If only this was “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason,” just a lock up, a song and let’s move on. Nope.
It’s a laughably bad teen-in-stir thriller set at swank, shiny Lattsan Correctional, an American coping with the pristine, orderly two years of Thai Law (corrupt), Thai mores (LOL!) and the cliques that are in reality “gangs” in this “reform school/prison.”
Head mistress Tuptim (Shades of “The King & I”) may try to “keep things informal,” to help “troubled young ladies.” But we know what’s coming. That’s why we tune in to “Bad Girls in Prison” pictures.
“Mmmmmm, fresh MEAT!”
The shiny admissions area and grounds are just a front. The prison is every Asian druggy dungeon we’ve ever seen in the movies. Spray painting “Hell” on the entrance just seems redundant.
The guards let every Euro-trash and Amazonian Asian in there do what they will. Miss “Gingerland” is in over her head.
“You look like a crier,” her cellmate (Kat Grey) taunts. “Are you?”
The sweating, the stripping, the hazing, the threats, the baggy prison fatigues, the rats.
“You will learn to think they’re cute!”
It’s a prison built for “sex, fighting and gambling,” not for rehabilitation, where silence is guaranteed by death threats, mean that the bullied redhead must adapt, toughen up or die. Whatever the officials are having her sign away, whatever the future holds, this is an adapt or die situation.
The decision to have everybody communicate in English is both inaccurate and painful to listen to — labored, unnatural inflections sounded out by non-English speakers.
It’s a film of mopey, tentative acting (especially Cohn), arch villains and “types” — the “inmates” must have emptied out modeling school during the casting call.
And worst of all, they make us wait for the “catfight.”
“You can only hide behind Kat so long. And then you’re MINE!”
From the strip-down scene to the first loving slow-mo of shower time, this is straight-up old school exploitation. Nudity abounds. Rape. Inmate-on-inmate sex. More showers. This is as demeaning as movies get for young actresses.
The sinister warden (Maythavee Weiss) lets her monstrous side show, in the most labored English this side of Melania.
“Bring them to the CAGE! Fight now. I say FIGHT!”
Train, toughen up, get your head right. Strip on command.
The fights? No wonder they made us wait. Meh.
MPAA Rating: TV-MA, violence, nudity, explicit sex, profanity, substance abuse
Cast: Kelly Ann McCart, Kat Grey, Jared Cohn, Katrina Ingkarat
Credits: Written and directed by Jared Cohn. Aan Asylum release.
Running time: 1:25