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PopEntertainment.com > Reviews > Movie Reviews > Girls Against Boys

MOVIE REVIEWS

GIRLS AGAINST BOYS (2013)

Starring Danielle Panabaker, Nicole LaLiberte, Liam Aiken, Michael Stahl-David, Andrew Howard, Matthew Rauch, Caroline Lagerfelt,  Reyna de Courcy, Makenzie Leigh, John Christopher Morton, Marlo Marron, Kelvin Hale and Carmine DiBenedetto.

Screenplay by Austin Chick.

Directed by Austin Chick.

Distributed by Anchor Bay Films.  87 minutes.  Rated R.

 

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Girls Against Boys

It's always a bit odd when a movie tries to make a feminist statement but it is written by a man. 

Girls Against Boys has a feminist manifesto that is even more muddled than most: Men are violent beasts who deserve to die, unless they aren't, and even then they will probably die.  Or maybe not.  I'm not sure.

Girls Against Boys is an weird mash-up of Thelma & Louise, Single White Female and Hostel.  Unfortunately, the good ideas and moody filmmaking that the film is able to mine eventually get overwhelmed by the extreme violence and a slightly jumbled message.

It also makes the unfortunate narrative choice of making the heroines look crazier than the men who victimized them, and then in turn become their victims.  In particular, we know from a flash forward that starts the film that one of the two bartenders who starts on a homicidal revenge plot, Lu (played by Nicole LaLiberte) is not exactly the most stable woman.  In fact, she seems to be bordering on sociopathic.  She will cheerfully acknowledge that her personal urge to kill comes from no particular past horror or bad upbringing, it's just something to do. 

Her only partially willing accomplice comes into this crime spree from a more vulnerable place.  In fact, for the first half hour or so of Girls Against Boys, the film plays whack-a-mole with Shae (Danielle Panabaker), a sweet, pretty student and parttime barkeep.

Girls Against Boys saddles Shae with a bad weekend to beat all bad weekends.  First, her separated-but-married boyfriend cancels a romantic trip to the Hamptons at the last minute because he has decided to reconcile with his wife.  She spends the night brooding at her trendily seedy club and meets Lu, a new worker at the place.

Not wanting to be alone, Shae allows Lu to talk her into going to a huge warehouse party.  They drink a ton, take some X, and then go home with a few guys they met on the dance floor.  When Shae realizes she is out of control, she decides to go home.  One of the guys accompanies her home and ends up raping her in her apartment stairwell.  (For a movie that is often so graphically violent, the filmmakers sort of wimp out and just listen in as the rape takes place just out of eyeshot while the camera remains focused on her kitschy toy keychain.)

Needing some sympathy, Shae goes to her recent ex, because she doesn't know who else to tell about the rape.  However, she has second thoughts and does not tell him.  The guy comes on too strong and makes an awkward attempt to seduce her.  While it is certainly a sleazy thing to do, I'm not sure you could actually consider this an attempted rape.  But the movie certainly seems to.

Shae tells Lu what has happened.  The two go to the police to report the rape, but Shae is completely disrespected by a slimy cop to whom she tries to report the crime.  Lu, not liking seeing her friend mistreated like that, seduces and kills the cop, stealing his gun.  Then she takes Shae back to the apartment they had been to the night before, determined to track down the rapist.  Shae has no idea what they are doing until Lu shoots the first of the guys.  And at that point she has the odd reaction of laughing, crying and vomiting all at once.

Thus starts the killing spree, in which Lu and Shae track down and kill all the men who have mistreated Shae.  (The murder of the rapist is particularly, probably excessively, brutal.)  However, as things spiral out of control, Shae realizes it is not making her feel any better and that Lu seems to be enjoying things just a bit too much.

Oddly, there seems to be no law looking into the murders.  Granted, the two girls would not be the most obvious suspects, but there is a line of dead bodies, including a dead cop.  And at least a few of those corpses were shot by the cop's stolen gun.  You'd think there would be some kind of investigation out there somewhere.  However, the two girls seem to have no fear of being caught, and apparently no real reason to fear it, either.

The problem is, the further over the line that Shae and Lu go, the less attractive they are as heroines and any sympathy you may have had for Shae starts to evaporate.  What is the movie trying to say, that women can be just as psychopathic and bloodthirsty as men?  That's hardly a trenchant social observation.  Lu, in particular, is so obviously insane that it is impossible to think of her actions as anything but completely delusional.

Which leads to the dirty little secret of Girls Against Boys.  The feminist slant is mostly window dressing.  Girls Against Boys has little substantial to say about the war of the sexes.  Neither the men nor the women here are very realistic.  Girls Against Boys is a horror film, pure and simple, no matter how much it would like to taken more seriously.

And you know what?  Taken on just that level, Girls Against Boys sort of works.  It does have some significant scares and a moody dreamlike atmosphere.  Just don't take it as seriously as it takes itself.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2013 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: January 31, 2013.

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Copyright ©2013 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: January 31, 2013.

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