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Michael Biehn directs and stars in this grindhouse tale of party girls gone bad....
Anchor Bay / 83 Minutes / 2011 / Rated R / Street Date: September 18, 2012
Michael Biehn (Terminator, Aliens, Tombstone) makes his debut as a writer/director/star with this thriller about a young stripper (Jennifer Blanc, Dark Angel) fleeing a depraved murder by two police detectives. But when she bangs on the cabin door of a backwoods recluse (Biehn)…vengeance, lust and violence follow.
While its cover art makes it seem like a chop-em-up horror gorefest, the story here falls much more into the thriller/ corrupt police genre with sex and violence, but minimal gore. The plot doesn’t have much revelation to it; originally written by Reed Lackey, the story is pretty trashy, but that’s part of the fun. And the film is referred to as “grindhouse” filmmaking in promotion and during the audio commentary.
Some have complained about the acting, but I liked all the actors and especially thought that busty Jennifer Blanc (Biehn’s wife as well as a producer on this project) was especially bold in parts with a unique, brassy presence. And Michael Biehn (pronounced “Bean”) portrays a man with a foul secret pretty well. And I must mention that the punch sounds from the fist-fights sound far more meaty and real than most films.
Sure, things ain’t perfect. The dialogue is often stunted, and Jeehun Hwang’s music is alternatively very good or overcooked. Editing by Vance Crofoot could have been snappier, and folks didn’t have to look so carefully composed by Biehn and director of photography, Eric Curtis. With stunted dialogue, the lack of some brevity (there is one hilarious joke half way through) doesn’t help – however, Biehn confesses to writing the script during pre-production, which isn’t inspiring.
However, what is most interesting is the fact that all of these characters have severe dark sides in which they indulge. And the story somewhat pits bad guys against bad guys, which is something that appeals to me vs. the tradition of including a yawning ingénue.
Despite some poor reviews, The Victim received good reception at low to medium-profile film festivals around the world, and I think it has some good things going for it. Don’t expect to be blown away, but not a bad debut for Michael Biehn; hopefully he does more.