One of the issues that most slasher films struggle with these days is the technology. Hell, a recent watching of Scream series showed how well technology can be infused into a slasher plot well (Scream) and have a complete ball drop in its subsequent sequels. It’s been the slasher director’s dream to handle this well, and many have given up. It’s being reported that the new Friday the 13th will take place in the 1980s. It’s a cheat (and one I’m seeing quite often), but it takes away the “I can’t get reception” cliche or the phone only works to further the story trope.
Well, take heed because Girl House finally gets this right. The film takes the typical slasher (Loverboy) and puts him in a house of scantily clad co-eds. However, the slasher just happens to be a backwards computer genius who’s sexuality is a bane to society. The co-eds are scantily clad because they are payed well to do that: The house is a premier porn house, and its users log on to see the girls live every day lives. Of course, the more log-ins means more money so the girls learn to show off for the cameras and live these every day lives in a sexy manner. The house is off the grid to regulars (to protect the girls) which makes rescue a difficult task. Girl House is nothing new genre wise, but it manages to play well with technology and is a great watch.
Loverboy (Slaine) is a boy tormented by himself. Girl House cold opens to one of the most depraved scenes involving child violence I’ve seen since Birthday Blood. Two little girls push Loverboy to the brink and we see the monster come to life. Fast forward to the present, and he is employed as a computer technician. He leads a backward life, and finds his friends online rather than in real life. One of his favorite past times is to log into Girlhouse.com and chat with the beauties.
Girlhouse.com is the brain child Gary Preston (James Thomas). He recruits young women to live in a mansion and show their private lives (and parts) to strangers. However, visitors are brought there blindfolded and the girls pretend to live elsewhere. The house has a camera in every room and state of the art security (which can be controlled by Preston and his IT team remotely from another location).
The new girl in the house is Kylie (American Reunion’s Ali Cobrin). She’s a student at a nearby university and is looking for extra money to stay in school. As her father recently passed away, she is obviously grieving and trying to reestablish normalcy to her life. In a hope to take the burden of herself off of her mother, she reluctantly agrees to be a part of girlhouse.com.
Loverboy takes an immediate liking to her and manages to hack into the site to send her a picture of him. While out of the house, another girl finds the picture and he becomes a joke in the house. They saw his face, but what they didn’t see is the insanity that is Loverboy. He’s made multiple photoshop pictures of Kylie and himself vacationing, and he’s even made this creepy sex doll. When he thinks that Kylie has spurred him, he decides to take revenge.
Last year, Lucky Bastard tried a very similar concept of infusing porn with horror. While its themes dealt with how strange the porn world can be off camera, it never really got a “real life” feeling to it. Girl House does. Kylie is a poor college student and struggles with being a part of the site. Many of the girls there dropped out of college after realizing how much money they could make at the house. A lesbian couple shows off (not because the viewers are their fantasy) but because they are their viewers fantasy. Kylie has a real world love interest (Adam DiMarco) who has known her as a child but seeks her out when he recognizes her on camera. It’s creepy, but sweet. One of the most enigmatic characters is the lovely Alyson Bath who thrives on being the beautiful one. Starting out as a throwaway fodder for Loverboy, she becomes quite interesting as the film progresses.
Of course, what Girl House does best is syncing technology with a slasher film. From the get go, we know where the weaknesses are in the house’s and the site’s vulnerability. The film sets up Loverboy as being both willing and able to take advantage of these vulnerabilities. Once he gains control of the house, he uses the cameras to choose his prey. He shuts off all outgoing calls and messages. Meanwhile, Kylie’s love Ben is stuck in a position much like what was portrayed in Halloween: Resurrection. While that movie completely botched the third party viewing horror, Girl House doesn’t. Ben needs to find the house. The police need to find the house. Neither knows where it is (which is the brilliance and the idiocy of its creator) It works. It’s a breath of fresh air in the genre that has chosen to go back in time with its films rather than move forward with the technology of today.
Is Girl House something you’ve never seen before? Nope. You’ll see that director Trevor Matthews is a big fan of the genre and has taken his love of the genre into his film making. As this is his directorial debut, I expect big things in the future. Girl House is definitely worth a look.