Although it’s been a few years since I’ve seen it, I used to have a lot of fun with Jack Brooks: Monster Slayer. It’s possible that stems from a nostalgic connection of having seen it at the first 24-hour horror movie marathon I went to in Chicago, but I’m sure the movie is still at least kinda fun? I had enough interest in those filmmakers to check out The Shrine, which was mostly boring, but had an interesting ending that almost made up for it being dull. Point is, directors Jon Knautz and Trevor Matthews gained enough good faith with me that I checked out their film Girl House, which has all but destroyed every once of good will they had previously earned. Not knowing the filmmakers personally, I can’t say for sure that they loathe women, but man, their movie sure does.
Yes, the film does have its fair share of attractive women dancing around seductively, so if that’s all you loo for in a movie, you’re in luck!
The film opens with a chubby little kid getting chased by two girls who bully him into showing them his wiener, which they then make fun of, so he responds by throwing one off a bridge to her death. Oh, great. Back in present day, Kylie (Ali Cobrin) is a down on her luck college student who moves into a house full of girls who get naked often for the cameras that fill the house. People pay money to watch them get naked and have sex with stuff, so what could possibly go wrong? Well, the little kid from the opening could grow up with a distorted perception of reality and feel like he has ownership over the women, so he comes to the house to murder them. Oh, and, spoiler alert, he does, except Kylie, because she’s the lead character. I can’t think of any other reason she’d stay alive.
This is the dresser of one of the girls who is referred to as the “wild one,” who is killed by having a dildo shoved down her throat and taped there, ya know, in case you were wondering if this film punished women for their sexuality enough.
Oh boy, where the hell do I start with this one? Firstly, the opening scene featuring the killer murdering a little girl is the most backstory anyone in the movie gets. Sure, Kylie repeats how her dad just died and she’s going to start stripping for money, but that doesn’t tell us anything about who she is as a person. Shortly after the opening scene, we learn that the writer has never heard an actual woman speaking since he was in junior high, as one character delivers a line that is something like, “You’re going to be showing your vertical smile on cyberspace.” UGH. Who the fuck wrote this garbage? No one has ever said those words in that order out loud to any other human in history, but here, it’s played as, “Hey, dudes, when chicks aren’t around, this is TOTALLY how the talk to one another!” Mind you, we’re only like ten minutes into the movie, and the turds just keep falling.
Don’t even get me started on how the killer wears the mask of a female sex doll and how a camera would put watermarks on the image, even if it wasn’t broadcasting to anything, because that’s not how those things work.
This movie was made in 2014 and could’ve been a positive portrayal of women in the pornography industry, and I almost believe that the filmmakers thought they were actually doing that, but all of the characters are underdeveloped and basically personifications of sex dolls that merely existed to pleasure men. The worth of each one of these characters is only reflected by their relationship to men, just like, ya know, most porn. When one male character recognizes Kylie on the Girl House website from having a crush on her since kindergarten, he drives 70 miles to casually bump into her, resulting in him immediately going on a date with her and have his feelings reciprocated. A couple of dates later, he reveals he didn’t bump into her casually but basically stalked her because he saw her online, but instead of calling him out for being a psychotic dirtbag, she basically just shrugs and says, “I’m not a prostitute…but now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s continue flirting!” Goddammit. I mean, sure, the horror genre, in general, doesn’t often empower women and they are often presented as nothing more than objects of desire, but you’d think a film called “Girl House” that featured half a dozen female characters would portray one woman as, oh, I don’t know, an actual woman.
Why is this woman opening her shirt? Oh, well she breaks into the house, having been kicked out for doing drugs, so she begs to be let back in, using words like “Papi” (because she’s latina, I guess) and promises that she’s off “crank.” That’s how real people talk about drugs, they say “crank.”
Even if you can put Girl House‘s hatred of women aside, it’s still a pretty dull film. It clearly wanted to follow the structure of slashers like Halloween or Black Christmas, but does nothing nearly as thrilling as either of those films and is full of idiotic decisions. Oh! Here’s one: the guy who owns the website and house where the girls live reminds the girls that the last line of defense in their protection are two buff dudes. Twice in the movie, the villain briskly walks towards these buff dudes and immediately kills them with his hands. These characters added nothing to the story and died immediately. Uhhhhhhh, okay. Here’s another: the owner of the house gives this big long diatribe about how safe and secure the house and servers are, but the villain hacks in to show the girls his photo and 1) none of them tell the owner, “Hey, we got hacked, maybe your site isn’t as secure as you claimed it was?” and 2) a dude hacks in and takes control of every technological aspect of the house and 3) a student hacks into the server to discover the house’s location pretty easily, so 3A.) maybe don’t spend so much time talking about how secure it is and 3B.) oh goddammit, the women STILL need to rely on men to locate them to send the police to their home, proving these women would be nowhere without their connection to men. I haven’t even gotten to the one “top performer” in the movie who, when doing a super sexy show, complains that there are only THREE people watching (but I’m pretty sure actual performers get numbers in the hundreds/thousands tuning in, so I’m pretty sure even I could get three viewers if I threw on a wig right now and started broadcasting, so who the fuck knows how anyone makes money off this shitty fictional website), who is interrupted by the killer who chops off her fingers and cuts her face, which she could have easily survived, but instead decides she can’t live with “being ugly” so she puts a plastic bag on her head to commit suicide. GODDAMMIT. If you hate women and revel in how terrible they are and need a reminder that they only exist for your enjoyment, then I totally recommend Girl House! However, if you prefer to consider women actual human beings, then I suggest you avoid it.
Wolfman Moon Scale