When slutty good-time girls Annie (producer Jennifer Blanc) and Mary (Scream Queen Danielle Harris) party in the woods with two dodgy cops, Harrison (Ryan Honey) and Cooger (Denny Kirkwood), events soon spiral out of control
When slutty good-time girls Annie (producer Jennifer Blanc) and Mary (Scream Queen Danielle Harris) party in the woods with two dodgy cops, Harrison (Ryan Honey) and Cooger (Denny
Kirkwood), events soon spiral out of control when, during a bout of drug-fuelled
rough sex, Harrison accidentally kills Mary, forcing Annie to flee into the
Hunted by the cops who are determined to silence the only witness to
their crime, Annie winds up taking refuge with reclusive, embittered loner Kyle
(writer/director Michael Biehn) at
his isolated cabin in the woods (no,
not that one). Kyle just wants to
be left alone and is initially reluctant to help her but when the cops come
a-calling, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do and Kyle finds himself going
to increasingly extreme lengths to protect Annie.
With The Victim, something of
a passion project for its writer/director/star (here making his true debut as
director after losing control of a previous project), Michael Biehn has made a
sleazy little throwback to the ‘70s and ‘80s that feels like you should be
watching it on a ropey old VHS tape.
Unlike the recent wave of grindhouse-style flicks, films like Hobo With A Shotgun and Machete which grew out of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse (Biehn played a sheriff in Rodriguez’s Planet Terror segment), The Victim is an unpretentious,
low-budget, B-movie lacking the hipster, film-geek irony of these other
offerings. It’s almost as if Biehn
has in his head a checklist of what makes the perfect grindhouse movie and is
ticking of each box as he goes.
Drugs? Check. Pneumatic
sluts? Check. Dangerous loners? Check. Corrupt, murderous cops? Check. Serial
killer on the loose? Check. Dodgy dialogue? Check. REALLY SHOUTY acting?
Check. Gratuitous nude sex
scene? Check and double check. And
if anyone knows these kind of B-movies it’s Biehn who, in a career spanning 35
years, has made more than a few.
There’s nothing innovative about The
Victim, nothing surprising.
It’s cheesy fun that doesn’t take itself too seriously but even at
around 80 minutes it does drag a little and could’ve done with tightening
up. There are far too many shots
of Biehn driving but Biehn obviously knows what he’s doing with a camera and while
the film’s not going to win a lot of awards, it‘ll be interesting to see what
Biehn can do with a bigger budget and more time on his hands (the film was
written in 3 weeks and shot in just 11 days).
The Victim does however
feature a frankly uncomfortable graphic sex scene between Biehn and Blanc, who
are a real-life married couple, that’s just…icky. It’s a little like being forced to
listen to your neighbours having sex.
It also features some of the best post-coital dialogue you’ll ever hear
when a satisfied Blanc turns to Biehn and utters the immortal lines: “You look
good for 54. And you f*ck good for
54.” Romance obviously isn’t dead
in the Blanc-Biehn house. Though
if you’re the writer/director and star of this kinda film you can probably get
away for writing dialogue like that and putting it in your wife’s mouth.
One of the best things about The Victim is the obvious fun the cast and
crew had in making the film, something that’s evident from the making of
documentary featured on the DVD. Biehn
may not have made the best film in the world but he and Blanc have assembled a
crew that believes in them and their project. The Victim is a labour of love for all of them.