How The Craft formed my love for 90s teen horror

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25 years ago, before Scream would reawaken the horror genre and generate a plethora of like minded movies came a film that tapped wholly into my adolescent brain. I’ll let you decide which part of the brain from which I am referring. Needless to say, Fairuza Balk’s Nancy stirred something inside me that yearned for and connected with females who drifted outside the mainstream of what was considered “normal”.

Recently, The Craft was given new life in the public eye thanks to its sequel of sorts, The Craft: Legacy released by Blumhouse last year, but somehow it failed to ignite the same passion as the original.

Some of this could easily be put down to its strong, young cast with the afore-mentioned Fairuza playing the main antagonist to Robin Tunney’s white witch, Sarah in what is essentially a coming of age teen-drama. Joining these two are also Neve Campbell, Rachel True, Skeet Ulrich, and Christine Taylor, who all essentially lift what comes across as a medicroe tale when reviewed through today’s eyes.

It still however holds a strong place in my heart, despite its flaws and molded my love of 90s teen horror as a result. What can I say, it’s my achilles heel.

It helps that swiftly following The Craft came the behemoth of Teen Slasher films… Scream directed by the great, Wes Craven. It also boasted two of the movie’s stars in Neve Campbell and Skeet Ulrich whose careers were rightfully projected to stardom as a result.

Scream is now the stuff of legend with its meta representation of the horror franchise and again boasted an awesome cast with Courtney Cox, David Arqette, Matthew Lillard, Rose McGowan, Jamie Kennedy and let’s not forget that killer opening sequence with Drew Barrymore. Before the decade was out a sequel would also follow the following year and along with it a franchise and Ghostface’s interchangeable personna was born.

Chief among setting the tone for the decade and the success that followed in Scream’s wake was Dawson’s Creek scribe Kevin Williamson, who managed to tap into the pulse of those of my generation, eager to be understood and have those “deep and meaningful’ relationship discussions.

By 1997, Williamson was just starting to hit his stride with I Know What You Did Last Summer starring Campbell’s fellow Party of Five alumni Jennifer Love-Hewitt. 

Love-Hewitt stars as Julie James, who along with three other school friends (Ryan Philippe, Freddie Prinze Jr. and Sarah Michelle Gellar, the latter was already on the rise thanks to a certain Buffy role) accidentally run down a stranger on the road and leave him for dead. It’s basically an elongated urban legend with the man with a hook hellbent on revenge. Like Scream it would also generate a franchise with a further two sequels to cash the cow. 

Back to the Dawson’s Creek connection and another teen horror, Disturbing Behaviour that would be released in 1998, the busiest year for the sub-genre,  At the time, I more-than jumped on this band-wagon following Katie Holmes’ second feature film. This was a time when I, like Dawson, was undecided about the whole Joey/Jen thing, before realising in my case, that Michelle Williams was always the more interesting person to watch on screen, but more about her in a moment. 

Disturbing Behaviour is probably the weakest in this line up of movies, but does boast James Marsden and Nick Stahl in the mix, in a tale of idyllic suburbia with a sour undertone in both its take of the American Dream and repressed teenage sexuality but it does still have the same beats and touches on the same wavelength that was being generated at the time.

Onto Holmes’ counterpart, Michelle Williams, who, again in my opinion, deserves greater praise for the work that she produces each year. In 1998, Williams would be cast in the support role of Molly in one of Horrors biggest franchises, Halloween. 

Halloween H20: 20 Years Later would have Kevin Williamson on writing duties, so it’s no wonder that Williams would connect well with the screenplay. Aside from bringing Jamie Lee Curtis back for the first time since Halloween 2 to pit against Michael Myers, it also introduced us to the so fresh and hot right now, Josh Hartnett. Let’s not talk about that hair cut though, for in his other movie that year, The Faculty, he slipped easily into the bad boy, good heart character with a brooding presence. Oh and that guy Kevin Williamson is behind the screenplay again.

When I first watched The Faculty I had a strong negative reaction to it, as I wore my snobbery hat when I watched it and took all the homagees embedded within as rip=offs of the great films that preceded it. I was a huge fan of director Rober Rodriguez at the time, which I think added to my disappointment further.

I have since grown to love this film more though and recognise it for what it was, a love of sci fi horror and again had some great stars in Elijah Wood (pre-LOTR), Jordana Brewster, Clea Duvall (I had such a thing for her too – Apparently I have a type, just ask fellow Surgeon Antony Yee), Laura Harris, Salma Hayek, Famke Janssen, Bebe Neuwirth, Robert Patrick, Shawn Hatosy, Jon Stewart, and Piper Laurie. It definitely warrants repeat viewing and holds up because of the fun energy and bold direction that Rodriuez alway brings to his movies.

Rounding out the quartet of movies for 1998 is Urban Legend which is a little forgotten despite generating a franchise in its own right and another strong cast considering with Alicia Witt, Jared Leto, Tara Reid, Rebecca Gayheart, Michael Rosenbaum, Joshua Jackson (Dawson’s Creek again), Robert Englund, and Danielle Harris into the fold. It captures the urban legend tales of horror well enough but can’t quite shake off the fact that it’s riding on the coattails of stronger movies and suffers a little with age.

My last notable film to mention however lifts the  half-decade of teen horror back to higher standards with its clearly tongue in cheek tale, Idle Hands where a stoner, Anton (Devon Sawa currently seen in a cracking film, Hunter Hunter) who discovers his hands are possessed after waking up to find his parents murdered. A cool cast again with Jessica Alba and Seth Green, Idle Hands is great fun to watch and definitely not to be taken seriously.

Sawa would also go on to star in another cracking film at the turn of the next decade in Final Destination as the trend would dial down a little.

For those 5-6  years though, it would produce a number of movies, some to hold high and some probably best forgotten but for nostalgic reasons still resonate with me today. I can only blame Nancy. I should have taken the heed and bound her from harm… harm to others and harm to myself…

  • Saul Muerte

Retrospective: The Nesting (1981)

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While 1981 proved to be a huge year in the name of horror, projecting some classic or cult films in the genre, The Nesting had not even clipped this reviewers radar.
You could argue that a prime reason for this was down to it being quickly shafted into the video nasties category in the UK upon its release, subjecting the film into obscurity.
However, I found upon watching the film which is currently available on Tubi, that obscure depiction may be a correct label to have been assigned to it. Not because of its graphic nature, but more for the curious tale that is told by writer/director Armand Weston.
The story centres on Lauren Cochran (Robin Groves), a novelist who suffers from agoraphobia. So, on the advice from her doctor, moves to the country and rents out an old mansion, which she is strangely drawn towards, in the hopes that it will overcome her ailment.
The oddity doesn’t reside there however, as a series of bizarre events occur once Lauren arrives, including the encounter she has with the mansion’s owner, Colonel Lebrun (John Carradine – House of Frankenstein) suffers a stroke the moment he lies eyes on her.

Compounding her troubles further, Lauren starts to experience some deeply unsettling dreams of women lounging around the house. It is when one of these women appears to her during the day, that Lauren’s world starts spiralling, throwing her into confusion over what is real or not. Is she losing her mind or is there more to her visions than they seem?

Not content on resting on her laurels, Lauren turns sleuth to uncover the secrets of the mansion, butin doing so, starts to unearth some unsavoury characters, and may send her over the brink of sanity.

The problem I have with The Nesting is that it struggles to be a certain kind of movie but it struggles under the weight of its premise. Agorophobia is a ripe subject that has potential to inflict a deep horror, drawn from the troubles that the human mind can produce. It’s a subject that has been done before and since, Repulsion and Copycat to name but a few.

It’s a muddled script that gets too clouded and surreal to follow, and with some tighter direction, could have been a better film. As such, it may continue to wallow in anonymity as a result.

  • Saul Muerte

Retrospective: Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)

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Slasher films had been around through the 70s, although they were more commonly associated with snuff films, but when John Carpenter thrust Michael Myers and Halloween into the horror genre, the flame was struck. Two years later, Sean Cunningham teamed up with writer Victor Miller and stoked the fire further to propel slashers into the mainstream and a plethora of similar movies soon followed.

So, it was inevitable that Paramount Pictures would look at the film’s success and look at ways to spawn a franchise… but there was one big problem.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear, at the beginning of my movie, Jason is dead!

Victor Miller

When they offered me the script for Part 2, I got the script and Jason was running around and I said, “What are you doing?

Tom Savini

If you track that into any kind of timeline, it makes no sense whatsoever.

Sean Cunningham

If the original creators were puzzled, so were the fans, but it wasn’t just the script that was out of whack. There were a number of other conflicts that occurred behind the scenes. Most notably was the return and demise of the films original heroine, Alice played by Adrienne King. King wasn’t shy with her complaints about the production and the way that both her and her character were treated… killing her off in the opening scene supposedly without her knowledge. Those who had come to love her character and her strength in the climax against Jason’s mother Pamela, thought that it was dealt with rather too swiftly.

Another controversial component in-house came with the casting of Jason himself. Let’s forget about the whole sandbag over the head thing which was clearly a lift from The Town That Dreaded Sundown released five years earlier. Instead the issue centred on Warrington Gillette who was given the role of Jason when he failed to win the role of lead counsellor Paul, losing out to John Furey. The only problem was that Warrington at the time wasn’t a stuntman, so the producers had to call in Steve Daskewisz to perform the stunts and debate would strike over who the real Jason was.

Friday the 13th Part 2 was clearly trying to stitch the pieces back together on its path to create a franchise, and arguably were pulling from other movies to inspire or develop this world. Although the creators claimed ignorance, there is a striking similarity to one death scene in the movie to Mario Bava’s 1971 flick, Twitch of the Death Nerve, aka A Bay of Blood (The Surgeons will be taking a look at this movie in more detail for a podcast down the track).

Despite all this, some iconic moments were created.

The introduction of Ginny (Amy Steel) who not only kicked arse as the final girl, but was smart and managed to psyche Jason out by pretending to be dear old Mom. This also brought Betsy Palmer back to resurrect Pamela albeit in dream form.

Also returning from the original movie was Crazy Ralph (Walt Gorney) and with him the wacky old guy character that would become synonymous with the slasher films. Plus the iconic camp fire scares and young school counsellors getting busy before they get whacked, which is a key draw card for the sub-genre. 

Speaking of kills, with the absence of Tom Savini in the makeup and effects department having signed on to make The Burning, another mastro Stan Winston stepped into the scene, only to also be called away for another commitment. Instead Carl Fullerton (Wolfen, The Silence of the Lambs) would more than step up to the plate and deliver some great effects sequences and some of the most memorable kills from the franchise.

It may have been built on some shaky ground with some questionable narrative decisions that are still debated today, but the final result pulled in $21.7 million at the box office. This wasn’t as successful as its predecessor but it was enough for Paramount to call it a win and from the wake of Pamela Voorhees came the birth of Jason. They were still finding their feet in who or what Jason would be and he is more in embryonic stage, but with Director Steve Miner returning again to helm the next instalment alongside producer Frank Mancuso Jr. history was being made and Jason would soon take great strides in the horror film industry.

  • Saul Muerte

Retrospective: The Hand (1981)

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Before he gripped the cinematic world with his realistic and harrowing depiction of the Salvadoran Civil War and Vietnam war with the movies Salvador and Platoon…
Before he cast his views on the cold-hearted world of Wall Street where Gordon Gekko declared that “Greed is Good”…

You might be surprised to hear that the director, Oliver Stone turned his hand (pun-intended) to a psychological horror film that would sit perfectly well in the mind of Stephen King.

Stone’s sophomore outing in the director’s chair of a feature film production would cast Michael Caine as his lead. Caine by this stage had already established himself as the charismatic cocksure characters on-screen, most notably in the espionage or crime movies. Here Caine is equally as enigmatic as the brash, hard-headed comic book artist, Jon Lansdale. As we meet Lansdale, it is clear that his mannerisms have caused friction between his wife, Anne (Andrea Marcovicci) and daughter, Lizzie and that the strain may be too great. Anne is already hinting at a temporary separation and that she is thinking of taking Lizzie back to New York and leaving Lansdale in the country to continue with his work. The subject causes a heated argument between the two whilst driving in their car, which in turn leads to a horrific accident where Lansdale’s right hand is severed.
In this one fleeting moment, a sudden change of character from both parties develops. Lansdale at first softens, his dominant male pride and ego is squashed and he is lost and vulnerable without the one tool that gives him power in his life… the hand from which he draws and creates and inflicts his amour propre into the world. Anne on the other…hand (ahem), equally becomes withdrawn and submissive as she feels guilty for what she has inflicted upon Jon.
It’s not long however before the cracks begin to show once more as Lansdale becomes more erratic and uncontrollable with his behaviour. Lansdale is driven by fits of jealousy over Anne’s relationship with her yoga instructor and this mental breakdown consumes him to the point that he is fired by his agent and starts to have apparent delusions manifested around the hand of his former appendage. But is this a figment of his broken mind or has the hand actually formed a life of its own and is now wreaking havoc on the world that surrounds Lansdale?

Lansdale and Anne go through a separation, leading Lansdale to retreat to teach at a small community college, but is left to his own deranged and worrying thoughts, spiralling deeper into a world of torment.

Knowing what we know now about Stone’s fascination with the breakdown of the human mind when inflicted with a significant trauma, The Hand becomes incredibly significant in his canon of work as a director. Some may scoff at the ridiculousness of the subject and its delivery having a severed hand roaming around and killing people, but at its heart, is a powerfully poignant insight into the lengths and breadths that mankind will go to when subjected to a great deal of physical or psychological pain that sends them to the brink of humanity. This precipice is a tightrope between sanity and psychosis. When exposed to such drastic measures, is it really possible to claw our way back to stability? Or is the trauma too great a burden to bear?

  • Saul Muerte

Retrospective: Cannibal Ferox (1981)

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From it release back in 1981, Cannibal Ferox, aka Make Them Die Slowly (US), aka Woman From Deep River (Australia), was instantly destined for the Video Nasties list for its brutal depiction of cannibalism and animal cruelty on-screen.

Much like the probably more well-known feature released the year prior, Cannibal Holocaust, the visual aim of hyper violence and bloody torturous designs were made to schock the audience. In places this is still the case with some scenes hard to bear as we bear witness to the slow and meticulaous torture of the central characters.

By today’s standards Cannibal Ferox struggles under the weight of a misogynistic gaze, which is doubled by the main antagonist, Mike (Giovanni Lombardo Radice), a drug dealer who not is not only driven by his own selfish means, but his actions draw the main group deeper into anarchy and the cannibals domain.

The film itself holds an interesting message beneath the surface of stupefaction and glorious sensationalism, following two siblings Rudy (Danilo Mattei) and Gloria (Lorraine De Selle), who are accompanied by their friend Pat (Zora Kerova) as they journey through the Colombian rainforest, ironically to disprove the existence of cannibals.

Director Umberto Lenzi (Eaten Alive!) then subjects these characters to all manner of horrors as they attempt to escape from their tormentors, the rainforest, and some sense of freedom. But you can’t help but feel that they deserve their comeuppance because if you go around poking a bear with a stick, you’re eventually going to get mauled, or have your male appendage severed, and then cauterised, so that you can later get scalped alive and have your brains consumed by said bear analogy.

It is Lenzi’s choice of ending that perhaps is the most numbing of all, when our sole survivor Gloria returns to western civilisation to launch her book, based on her theories, Cannibalism: End of a Myth, which essentially turns a blind eye to her ordeals and pushes down any indication that cannibalism exists. The social commentary seems to suggest that we as a human race continue to shut down or deny any deep issues.

  • Saul Muerte

Movie review: The Power (2021)

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What starts off as a promising horror film with an eerie setting, The Power soon gets lost in its own labyrinth of darkness and dissolution.

Let’s face it. There’s something that is imminently scary about hospitals and the thought of death hanging over you and by choosing to set the film in a dilapidated one during the early 70s when the decor is sparse, drawing forth the feeling of isolation amongst the empty corridors heightens this sensation further.

It doesn’t help that the hospital is at the hands of a current mining strike and has the electrical power being shut down at the dead of night, thrusting the audience into constant panic and despair.

Guiding us through the darkness is a young nurse, Val (Rose Williams), new to the hospital and on a temporary probation. She stumbles her way through the rigorous and meticulously structured system within the varying wards. We’re instantly drawn to Val’s empathetic nature, but we soon learn that there’s a reason for her good-hearted nature having been a victim of abuse in her childhood at the Catholic orphanage.

It is her eagerness to please and help others though that finds her on the wrong side of the hierarchy and forced to work the night shift. When darkness will descend on all.

There is something sinister lurking in the darkness that has an instant connection with Val and opens up old wounds among the staff.

Is this presence a dark one though or is there something more to the gloomy outlook?

The Prognosis:

The initial premise is a strong one and the balance of power between light and darkness, male and female, and social status is constantly shifting and fluctuating through a nicely woven script.

Corrina Faith develops a strongly directed narrative and combined with Laura Bellingham’s (Amulet) visual flair, projecting an atmosphere that chills.

It’s main flaw is that once it builds up the tension, it quickly transcends into predictability and the usual horror tropes that we’ve come accustomed to.

Despite this, the script, performances and direction is tight, making The Power an enjoyable watch regardless.

  • Saul Muerte 

Retrospective: The Mephisto Waltz

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This may be down to pure ignorance as this film was released before I had been born but The Mephisto Waltz is one of those movies that I feel deserves more recognition than it currently receives, forgotten a little by the ebbing of time.

Some critics ridiculed the movie at the time because of its loose handling of the magick involved and the occult’s fairly basic premise, that of soul transference, but this is exactly why I believe it works. The cavalier approach that the people have wields these dark arts have allowed it to consume them and are now governed by these external forces. 

The film draws its name from the musical compositions of Franz Liszt, in which one of the four waltzes involved the intoxicating lure of Faust by Mephistopheles.

This sexual lust and frenzy that is on display is deliberately heightened and reduces all the people involved to base animalistic behaviour.

Initially the temptation falls on Myles Clarkson (Alan Alda) a music journalist who still pines for his lost ambition to become a pianist. When Myles interviews a virtuoso on the piano, Duncan Ely (Curd Jurgens), a fascinating link is drawn between the two figures, one from admiration, the other, a curious magnetism arises when Duncan notices Myles’ hands are perfect for playing the piano.

From this moment on Duncan and his grown daughter, Roxanne (Barbara Parkins) inject themselves into the lives of Myles and his wife, Paula (Jacqueline Bisset). Paula is instantly suspicious of the attraction, but Myles is enraptured by it all and sees Duncan as a fatherly figure. This is particularly strengthened when Myles learns that Duncan is dying from leukemia.

Myles and Paula begin to drift apart as cracks begin to appear in their relationship, bearing in mind that this was the era of free love, but there is an amount of control that is needed on behalf of both parties. This is when Duncan and Roxanne strike, and begin the transfer of Duncan’s soul into Myles body.

At first Paula is unaware of the changes but this is where the film becomes to turn into something of a mystery. Paula delves into the strange behaviours of her husband Myles and the history behind Roxanne to uncover a satanic plot. Will she be able to turn things around and win Myles back or will the occultists turn her instead?

While the plot tackles leaps of fantasy, Jacqueline Bisset is magnificent as the troubled wife and distraught woman, struggling to come to terms with the loss of her husband and the threat of losing her own identity in the turmoil of satanic rituals.

If you can forgive the ridiculous nature in the plot, you can be treated to a fun and enjoyable thriller, where the end is far from predictable.

  • Saul Muerte

Movie Review: Run (2021)

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You can pretty much guarantee that when Sarah Paulson is cast in a role then that movie is gonna come packed with substance and that she will bring a certain amount of gravitas and realism to her role.
Run is no exception where Paulson plays Diana, a mother to Chloe (Kiera Allen), a homeschooled teenager cursed with serious ailments including arrhythmia, hemochromatosis, asthma, diabetes, and paralysis.
Such is her condition that Chloe is completely reliant on Diana.

Our first impressions are that Diana is a dutiful and an understandably highly protective mother, a constant aide for the constant support that Chloe needs. Even moreso when we witness the premature birth of her daughter and the fear and anxiety etched on her face not knowing if her infant will survive.

It’s also apparent that Chloe is incredibly bright kid, always eager to adhere to her schooling needs and compelled to learn more from the world about her. It’s her intuition however that leads her into a discovery that all is not as it seems. Especially with Diana.

The Prognosis:

There’s some excellent performances on display here from the two leads, Paulson and Allen, who have to do the heavy work taking up the majority of the scenes throughout.

Director Aneesh Chaganty also does a superb job to craft as much tension as he can with a fairly basic narrative.
When these moments occur in the film, they are suitablly taut but it’s the moments in-between where the film struggles to lift a little but having said that, the choice to ground the film in reality and not stretch the boundaries that is a bold one that both strengthens and supports it.

Run ends up coasting at a steady pace but fails to show any flair or inability, and seems content to ride along as an average film resting on the actors performances to entertain.

  • Saul Muerte

Movie Review: Hunter Hunter (2021)

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Set among the remote wilderness of Canada and on the brink of civilization, Joseph Mersault (Devon Sawa), his wife Anne (Camille Sullivan) and daughter Renee (Summer H. Howell) have chosen to take up residence as fur trappers, living off the land with scant food supplies.
I say chosen, but it’s fairly obvious early on that Joseph is the one overseeing that decision, and Anne appears somewhat reluctant and grows tired of the struggles of living in such a remote place.
There are hints that Joseph is not happy among people, but it’s never fully explored why this is. Needless to say, he is content to immerse himself in the rugged terrain and has taken to teaching or rigorously training his daughter Renee how to survive in primitive ways and learning the animal traits that will ensure their survival.

Fairly early on, the family fear that a wild wolf has returned and threatens their safety, so Joseph swears to protect them and go on a hunt for the beast. As he stalks his prey however, he stumbles across a more sinister scene as a ritualistic circle of half naked female corpses lay. 

Now any sane man would take the information to the police but Joseph is a lone wolf himself and as hinted at earlier communication and social interactions are a distant cry from the characters involved. Instead, Joseph sees it upon himself to venture out and find the killer.

Meanwhile, Anne and Renee are left to fend for themselves and have a fearful encounter with the wolf, but with Joseph’s absence drifting into days, Anne goes to the police to inform them of the vicious brute, only to be dismissed.

With no choice but to embrace their situation, Anne and Renee set out to protect their home, when a wounded man (Nick Stahl) appears one night. Anne has no choice but to aid this stranger, but is there more to him than meets the eye?

The Prognosis:

Hunter Hunter walks a fine line in its exposure of mankind at its most vulnerable and yet most violently animalistic and vicious. Throughout the films admittedly slow pace, we are left pondering the direction that Shawn Linden is taking us on. Is it a survival horror film? Is this a case of beast vs man? Or does it suggest that there is more to the wild than the beast that lies in its natural habitat?

It is held together by some fine performances, most notably with Sawa and Sullivan.

The slow shambling tension that lurks in its depths brutally awakens with a savage conclusion, drawing out the most feral of humanity when pushed to the brink.

Some may find the closing scenes too gruesome to bear, but the final moments are one that haunts.

  • Saul Muerte 

Movie Review: Violation (2021)

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My gut reaction following watching this movie was to declare it the best film of the year so far, and while the dust has settled now and along with it the stirred up emotions that Violation incurred on this writer’s soul, there is still some resonance of the raw energy that is prevalent throughout the film’s narrative.

It is this intensity drawn out by the writing, directing partnership of Madeleine Sims-Fewer and Dusty Mancinelli produced with a simmering and festering boiling pot of turmoil that pulls you in and intoxicates the mind.

Maybe it’s that Sims-Fewer had an amount of creative control and with this a freedom of expression to tap into the complexities that her character Miriam holds, but her performance is beyond exemplary as a result and is captivating to watch. 

What we witness is Miriam, a woman who has become labelled for her feisty and headstrong personna that has often landed her in difficult circumstances, but beneath the surface is an incredibly fragile figure, who is starting to unravel. Among her troubles is a pending divorce from her husband Caleb (Obi Abili) and when they decide to spend time with Miriam’s younger sister Greta (Anna Maguire) and brother-in-law, Dylan (Jesse LaVercombe), she yearns for the safety of people that she can feel comfortable with and expose her vulnerability to.
Families are often a complex thing though, and Miriam’s past behaviour clouds what could be a straightforward and reliable road with Greta, who has constantly had to endure living in the shadows of her larger-than-life sister.
There is also a past that Miriam shares with Dylan, and at time when she really needs someone to lean on, he betrays her in the most violating way, hence the title, and with this traumatic experience, Miriam is left reeling and with her own base responses to rely upon.
But first she must exact vengeance and clear the way forward for her to heal. No matter what it costs.

The Prognosis:

Best movie of the year?
Possibly.

Best performance of the year?
With Madeleine Sims-Fewer’s portrayal of the central character Miriam and the violation that occurs combined with the trauma that this leaves on her… Definitely 

Violation is a slow burn, but a perfect exercise in raw performance with a tightly knit script to explore a wrenching-yet-topical subject.

It awakens the senses and projects every ounce of emotion onto the screen. I always fall deep for movies that elicit such a response, and for that, I can’t rate it highly enough.

  • Saul Muerte