THE VICTIM opens with a Brakhage-like montage akin to the opening credits of SE7EN. In fact it pretty much lifts David Fincher’s brilliant opening rubs some shit on it and offers it up again. Despite the hype and highly flaunted sex and nudity this film is already on course to disappoint.
We meet Mary, portrayed by Danielle Harris, getting railed while bent over a rock and she promptly gets her neck broken. Inexplicable flashbacks are used to show the close relationship between the haggard Annie and her hot, now dead, friend. In the odd structure of this flick the viewer now finds that it was a cop that fucked Mary to death. Annie was down the path also fucking for drugs.
The two cops look like they walked off the set of a seventies porn set. All the way from their justaches to their beady eyes. John Holmes and Jon Dough would make more believable deputies than these two clowns. It would not have been beyond the pale to expect the two of them to bust out a DP on Jennifer Blanc when they apprehend her or Danielle Harris in yet another pointless flashback.
Annie runs flailing through the woods and comes to the cabin home of the hermit…Kyle. Biehn says she came to the wrong guy because he can’t get mixed up with the law. Wait. Did he pretty much say, “Sorry the police killed your best friend while fucking her, but I can’t help you you have to go deal with them.”
Biehn’s recluse isn’t too reclusive as he goes into town for meals, has a MacBook with interwebs and studies A Course in Miracles real hard. He claims to attempt to avoid all contact with people but his actions in the opening tend to contradict this. Not suspicious at all. Especially since the SE7EN intro has by now faded entirely from memory and the one missing poster wasn’t indicated in an obvious manner.
The best example of the quality of performances in this flick come when the two Johns, Holmes and Dough, confront Kyle. “You seem nervous.” Actually, no he isn’t nervous he has no affect whatsoever. Biehn performance is flat as shit. Even when he “explodes” with rage he hardly seems animated. His role in THE VICTIM seems to be inspired by a former rage-aholic on ritalin and atavan cocktail with an oxycodone chaser.
Find some other cops. There has to be another way…Kyle makes every excuse in the world to unbelievably deny help to the woman who showed up with an improbable story. “Without her body there is no crime…” Um…murder maybe? It just gets more and more ridiculous.
After he tries to get rid of her she hits on him. Apparently they have the same definition of “like” as a twelve year old…wait never mind like = want to fuck. Mrs. Biehn sure does show off her titties a lot. WTF did she forget her friend was killed fucking? It wasn’t exactly a brutal murder…shit happens when you fuck hard.
All in all THE VICTIM appears to be a vehicle for Mrs. Blanc-Biehn to be naked a lot and for Michael to show how far he can milk his understated yet confident hero type even to the point of anti-hero. I actually liked the anti-hero Mickey from THE DIVIDE better as far as Biehn performances go.
If anything this film struggles from the get go with the story and is compounded by poor presentation and poor supporting performances. Danielle Harris is woefully underused. It seems she is in it as much as Steven Seagal is in EXECUTIVE DECISION. For as much as Jennifer Blanc eschews clothing Danielle Harris is quite chaste. Especially for someone who’s character is introduced being pounded out doggy style over a boulder. I hate to say it but her third billing and feature cover photo was only used to sell a movie that would otherwise drum up little interest.
This film is touted as a modern grindhouse endeavor. There seem to be a couple of things wrong with this claim. Shocking violence and wall to wall titties do not a grindhouse flick make. There is also a sensibility to grindhouse flicks. They tend to use the shocking violence and gratuitous nudity to illustrate a point or make an argument in a highly exagerated or veiled fashion. THE VICTIM does not do this. There is no message whatsoever as the film plays more like a film that crams all of the wrong tropes together in an attempt to emulate greater works.