5/28/2011

PENANCE

Title: Penance
Director/ Writer: Jake Kennedy
Cast: Marieh Delfino, Grahman McTavish, Alice Amter, Jason Connery, Valerie Hubbard

A beautiful, young mother named Amelia (the gorgeous Marieh Delfino) becomes a stripper to help pay for her little daughter's cancer treatment. When her pretty friend, known as Sassy (Eve Mauro), gets beaten up at a club, she takes her spot at some unknown location. She runs into two other pretty strippers. They are all drugged, and when Amelia awakes she finds herself in a living hell where strippers are totured to be saved by God, through the hands of an insane sadist (Graham McTavish).

This flick is an example of the old found footage "shaky cam" horror subgenre. But, while that style of movie many times annoys this is an example of how it can be well done. While, some stuff doesn't make much sense (how did the villains not notice that Amelia has a camera with her, when they locked her up?); it's a dark and mean-spirited romp. The POV stuff works well here because it adds to the suspense. There are a couple of nail-biting moments that had me on the edge of my seat.

The acting is strong, with McTavish making for a villain you will thoroughly hate. Religious loonies are always scary, and it is most definitely the case here. Also, excellent is Delfino who is a strong and likeable heroine, that you will both pity and feel for. And, you will also be cheering her to kick the bad guys' asses. Horror fans will love the small role of Michael (Henry Portrait of a Serial Killer) Rooker, who is totally despicable. They will also like the cameo by Candyman, himself, Tony Todd.

The movie is vicious, but never that gory. A lot is left to imagination. That said there are acts of violence that heighten the film, it's just the filmmakers know when to use them best. There is a good amount of nudity, but it is only during the first 20 min or so that this is sexy. The rest of the movie, nudity is used in the context of horrifying and/ or disturbing moments. Regardless, the girls who play strippers are all beautiful.

I caught this one on Chiller TV and found it be a prime example of doing this type of horror well. In all this is a highly recommended indie terror feature all around.

***1/2 out of ****

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