The Color Rose (Movie Review)

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

PLOT: A harem of hot Catholic schoolgirls deemed part of a religious cult called The Sinners becomes the lethal target of an unknown killer after a harmless prank goes wrong.

REVIEW: Feature debuts are all I seem to review these days, and considering all that goes into such difficult endeavors, we’re thrilled to report that by and large, after sharpening her skill-set with the 2018 short film BUTTERSCOTCH, the authorial voice of actor/director/writer/producer Courtney Paige has declared quite a promising first-time effort in THE COLOR ROSE, a well-shot and edited, sinfully savage little number that boasts a calculatingly cool conceit and insurmountably attractive female cast. Although the aforesaid premise and the gaggle of gorgeous gals are somewhat squandered by the lack of defining action, dearth of scares, unlikable characters bogged by stilted dialogue, and a whiff of amateur acting wafting throughout the film, if you were to puree SEVEN, HEATHERS, and MEAN GIRLS in an inexpensive B-grade blender, you’d approximate the taste, tenor, tone of twisty titillation of THE COLOR ROSE. As the film awaits an official distribution deal and release date, keep the semi-rose-tinted review of this little ditty in mind in the days and weeks to come!

Set in a pious unnamed California town during the springtime (shot in British Columbia, Canada), the film begins with a wispy narration by an unknown female voice. The narrator introduces a supremely hot and haughty harem of religious rich-bitch mean girls who attend a strict private Catholic school, where they are collectively referred to as a cult called The Sinners. Each girl in the group embodies one of the seven deadly biblical sins. We have the town Pastor’s daughter, de facto group leader and Lusty virgin Grace Carver (Kaitlyn Bernard), the Greedy Katie (Keilani Elizabeth Rose), Gluttonous Molly (Carly Fawcett), Sloth-ridden Robyn (Natalie Malaika), Envious Stacey (Jasmine Randhawa), Wrathful Tori (Breanna Coates), and Prideful Aubrey (Breanna Llewellyn). The girls do almost nothing to earn such a rep but play their parts anyway as a form of rebellion in their overly-pious little town. However, when Grace deems Aubrey a threat to expose their secrets and undermine their pact, she concocts a ploy to scare the ever-loving wits out of the poor girl. One of the more upsetting scenes in the film comes when the girls viciously berate Aubrey at the barrel of a gun before taking her out to the woods to feign her murder. The latter part of the scheme backfires, sending Aubrey into the woods alone.

The tempo gathers steam, as does our interest, when Aubrey proves to be the first in a string of Sinners to suddenly disappear, only to reappear in the woods as gorily gouged-up corpses. When Grace and Tori aren’t indulging in a semi-Sapphic sex scene, they realize a mysterious figure is targeting each girl, one by one. Could it be Summer Dobson (Jen Araki), an older girl at school known for a sordid rep? Perhaps it’s Kit (Dylan Playfair), one of Grace’s adolescent suitors. Or maybe some of the town’s shady lawmen are involved somehow. Either way, while the engaging mystery wraps around in a more predictable fashion than it should, there are not many genuinely fearful moments along the way. To wit, one something terrible does occur, it usually happens to the few characters that actually exhibit likable qualities. There’s almost a direct correlation between how likable a character is and how quickly they end up dead in the film, leaving us with to live with the most detestable people of the remaining lot. Grace, in particular, is increasingly difficult to get behind, support, and root for her survival as the film unspools. It’s usually a sign of a tremendous performance when an actor can make you hate them so viscerally, so for that, Bernard deserves credit for making the lead character so loathsome. Still, the movie’s overall enjoyment takes a sacrificial hit as a result.

The high-points of the film, aside from the cool and compelling premise of having each girl represent a deadly sin and keeping the predictable twist largely unforeseen, is the way it’s aptly shot and edited. Cinematographer Stirling Bancroft (CADENCE, FREAKS) imbues the imagery with a crisp patina, often through natural light, to create a memorable visual template that never betrays the movie’s smallish budget. As for the cut, Paige wisely returns her BUTTERSCOTCH editor Alex Safdie to shape the pacing of the picture, which, save for an inert downturn in the midsection, remains absorbing for much of the duration. Again, these qualities are easy to take for granted on most movies, but for a first-time feature, they’re paramount to the end-result appearing as professional as possible. Alas, there’s some pretty stodgy and stilted dialogue these supremely attractive women are saddled with during the film. We’re talking about such eye-rolling doozies as “saved by the bell” as school chimes ring. Or the laughably defiant line: “if they want to talk, then let’s give them something to talk about.” My favorite though? The old, “once a screw-up, always a screw-up” retort thought to be a biting bon mot. These are anything but, and only serve to render the characters even less likable.

All added up, THE COLOR ROSE shows tremendous promise for first-time filmmaker Courtney Paige. The premise of the film is genuinely intriguing; the mystery is well-kept despite how predictable it seems in retrospect, the production is propped up by its highly illecebrous cast, well-edited tempo, and superb cinematography. Despite some silly dialogue and lack of authentic chills, THE COLOR ROSE is a sick and circuitous little import worthy of plucking when it hits the streets. Stay tuned!

Source: Arrow in the Head

About the Author

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Jake Dee is one of JoBlo’s most valued script writers, having written extensive, deep dives as a writer on WTF Happened to this Movie and it’s spin-off, WTF Really Happened to This Movie. In addition to video scripts, Jake has written news articles, movie reviews, book reviews, script reviews, set visits, Top 10 Lists (The Horror Ten Spot), Feature Articles The Test of Time and The Black Sheep, and more.