Stars: Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz, Kevin Janssens, Vincente Columbe, Guillaume Bouchède
French writer-director Fargeat’s provocative thriller is a lurid, blood-soaked, operatically violent exploitation pic, which could arguably, given the director’s gender, be read as a subversive rape revenge tale. We first encounter beautiful goodtime girl Jen (Lutz) as she arrives, by helicopter, at the luxury desert villa of her millionaire French boyfriend, Richard (Janssens). All is not as idyllic as it seems however, as next morning we hear Richard on the phone to his wife. Later, Richard’s hunting friends Stan (Columbe) and Dimitri (Bouchède) arrive, and that night, Jen, sporting a crop top, short shorts and Lolita-style plastic jewellery, dances provocatively for them, with Stan singled out for special attention. The next morning when Richard is away, Stan brutally rapes her. On returning, Richard, rather than supporting Jen, pushes her off a cliff to stop her from causing problems. Miraculously she survives and, phoenix-like, transforms herself into a bullet belt-sporting angel of death. The first part of the film resembles a high-end 80s ad replete with mirrored shades and lush white (but not white for long) shag carpets, before giving way to a high-def Sam Peckinpah aesthetic (with ants!) in the second, as Jen wreaks her vengeance, and the characters undergo the most horrific injuries, sloshing around in their own, and each other’s, blood. Along with the stomach-turning, sometimes outrageously funny, scenes of violence, Fargeat supplies some remarkable if unsubtle imagery, a demonic biker thundering towards the screen being a visual highlight.