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Necessary Evil: Horror movie set in total darkness
Three hot bitches find themselves in the desert with a beaten and bloodied man in the trunk of their car. Who they are, how they arrived there and what kind of scantily-clad shenanigans await them are questions that are gradually revealed - but as long as you're gazing at their racks, it doesn't really matter what the hell this movie is about.
My main concern going into BITCH SLAP was that it was going to be yet another obnoxious, tone-deaf Tarantino-wannabe; the kind we'd thankfully been without for a few years. Then GRIND HOUSE came out and reignited low-rent filmmakers' lame attempts to duplicate QT's signature style. The good news is that BITCH SLAP, while certainly borrowing more than a page or two from Tarantino's (and others') book, succeeds in being its own movie. It's just tacky, goofy, and fun enough to work as a genuine modern-day "grindhouse" experience. It's not trying too hard; it is what it is, proudly.
The structure is where the most obvious Tarantino influence lies, and it's the film's most glaring mistake. It utilizes an unnecessary flashback structure, detailing the origins of our narrative and our three anti-hero bitches. Two of them - aggressive Camero (America Olivo) and confidant Hel (Erin Cummings) - are obviously partners in crime; the third is timid Trixie, seemingly out of her element as the three pull a battered, foul-mouthed Kiwi named Gage (Michael Hurst) out of the trunk. Who he is - and who they are - is detailed in cut-aways that steadily reach back further in time ("6 Hours Ago"; "1 Day Ago"; "2 Months Ago"; etc.). There are attempts to surprise us with various plot twists and character reveals, but the movie is fairly honest about its true intentions: Hot bitches doin' hot things!
This flick showcases more girl-on-girl violence than an episode of the "Jerry Springer Show", and more cleavage than a party at Lindsay Lohan's. The women are beautiful, of course, but they're also engaging actresses. Cummings in particular exudes a compelling pin-up girl charisma and charm. It should also be said that Olivo's performance as Camero is a pretty wild sight to behold; her character's drug usage and obscene temper provide the lady with some pretty inspired freak-out moments. (Give this chick more opportunities to overact ferociously!)
The main set-pieces are things of exploitive beauty: A lesbian throwdown between Hel and Trixie (just one of many moments of sapphic sexiness) and an extended fight sequence between Hel and Camero - so extended it actually has to take a break in the middle. Stunt woman extraordinaire Zoe Bell choreographed the breast-punching, crotch-biting tussle, and even stood in for some of the more physical hijinx. It's BITCH SLAP's raison d'etre, and it's a crude joy to behold.
Technically, the movie is fairly slick; the cinematography is more than adequate and director Jacobson stages the action like a pro. Well, t.v. pro at least. There are more than a few lapses in judgment when the movie gets too cute for its own good, stylistically (intentionally cheesy green-screen sequences are never a good idea - at all) and in the script (let's stay away from lines like "Let's gank him right now, he won't nipple-lick us if he's sucking daisy roots" in the future). It's also way too long - at 109 minutes, it's certainly pushing the boundaries of how much bitch slapping we can take.
Of course, if you're completely hammered (recommended) and giggling yourself silly, it won't much matter.
VIDEO: A nice 2:35:1; flick makes pretty good use of the widescreen.
AUDIO: 5.1 Dolby Digital
"Building a Better B Movie" - A fun and insightful (no kidding!) documentary about making this low-budget, high-energy exploitation epic. Includes interviews with cast and crew; rehearsal and audition clips (even "Baywatch: Hawaii" footage!).
Two separate audio commentaries: One from stars Julia Voth, America Olivo and Erin Cummings; one from creators Rick Jacobson, Eric Gruendemann and associate producer Brian Peck.