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The Victim - Blu-ray Review

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The Victim - Blu-ray Review

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2 stars

The tagline “Even Bad Girls Need Protection” should turn many a Grindhouse connoisseur’s head toward its direction.  Couple that with the exploitative stylized cover art and a wonderfully slinky appearance from Scream Queen Danielle Harris, Michael Beihn’s The Victim promises sleazy B-movie fun and madness.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t completely deliver what it’s fully capable of and only turns on its smarts in the final scene with a sudden twist.

Written by Beihn in just about two weeks, The Victim opens with its greatest exploitation scene.  The lovely Danielle Harris, playing a stripper named Mary, gets her groove on doggy-style up against a rock in the woods.  Let that soak in a minute, fellas, before moving on.  While no flesh is on display, the opening scene is a sexy shocker - what the rest of the movie should have been – and is gone all too soon.

Danielle Harris, ass in the air, enjoying herself a bit and then, when passion turns to poison, she is unexpectedly killed by the man thrusting behind her.

Leave it to her friend, Annie (Jennifer Blanc), to seek refuge in a lonesome ex-con named Kyle (Biehn) as she, after convincing him to help her, plans revenge against the crooked cop (Ryan Honey) who killed Mary and his perverted buddy Cooger (Denny Kirkwood) who helped him hide the body.  As her attackers approach the woods where the two have set up camp, a battle of wits ensues as they try to be the first to find Mary’s body, buckets of blood is dumped and clothing is shed, and an irreparable twisted truth is exposed.

With memorable acting turns in James Cameron’s Aliens, The Terminator and The Abyss, Biehn was suddenly shutdown by the unforgiving 1990’s and starred in some pretty forgettable films.  With Biehn moving behind the camera as writer, director and star, The Victim benefits from the dedication he usually brings to any project.  Here, his is the best and most solidly interesting performance with his wife’s (Blanc) and her ample bosom being a close second.

Unfortunately, their acting and producing partnership doesn’t lift the film from being anything but a below par thriller.  The Victim is NOT grindhouse.  It has its moments, but the film takes itself far too seriously to be anything but an aimlessly meandering thriller for large parts of its running time.  What’s missing is everything a film like Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror was.  There’s little sense of fun and, with a plot that strays too far from what it is, the crass thrills are too late and far too spread out.

While the borderline pornographic moments between Beihn and Blanc build nicely, the scantily clad Harris is the film’s only titillating factor and, as her character is killed all too soon, leaves audiences hungry for real grindhouse shenanigans.  Not just relegated moments of spark and fizzle in conversating flashbacks.  The film needs more blood, more kills, and much more sex.  It needs SOMETHING to happen that is uniquely grindhouse as this is what it advertises itself to be.

The Victim isn’t an awful film but it is a dull one.  There’s nothing to laugh at; no humor, unintentional or not, so there’s nothing that really makes it memorable.  Fans of grindhouse core will be disappointed and fans of quiet thrillers might have an ending that will make their mouths water.  Either way, The Victim will disappoint because so little actually happens.

{2jtab: Film Details}

The Victim - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R for strong violent and sexual content, language and some drug use.
Runtime:
83 mins.
Director
: Michael Biehn
Writer: Michael Biehn
Cast:
Michael Biehn; Jennifer Blanc; Ryan Honey; Danielle Harris; Denny Kirkwood
Genre: Thriller
Tagline:
Even Bad Girls Need Protection
Memorable Movie Quote: "Have you heard about all the girls that have gone missing in the area?"
Distributor:
Anchor Bay Entertainment
official Site:
grindhousethevictim.com
Blu-ray Distributor: Starz/Anchor Bay
Release Date:
September, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 18, 2012

Synopsis: Good time girls Annie (Jennifer Blanc) and Mary (Danielle Harris) find themselves in a life and death situation. Annie’s life is put in jeopardy when she is witness to a violent act at the hands of two Sheriff’s Deputies. Fleeing from attackers (Ryan Honey, Denny Kirkwood) she stumbles across Kyle (Michael Biehn), a recluse living in the middle of the woods.

The ruggedly handsome loner stays far from civilization – that is – until a single knock on his door throws his solitary life into chaos. Two worlds collide in this psychological thriller that will make you question your trust in mankind. WHO IS THE VICTIM?

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

The Victim - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
2 stars

3 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
2.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 18, 2012
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
: English, Spanish
Audio: English Dolby TrueHD 5.1

Anchor Bay brings this one to Blu-Ray with a 1080p transfer that holds detail and structure in close shots, but becomes rather bland whenever the camera pulls back and allows for more of the scenery to be absorbed. Colors pop with intensity in some of the wardrobe shots and leafy greens are its favorite color.  The night scenes are hindered by deep blues that give in to the shadows too easily.  This isn’t a particularly stunning transfer, but it does hold itself together for most of the film’s short running time.  The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio mix isn’t as impressive, with most of the activity staying up on the front channels.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Supplied by Michael Biehn and Producer/Actor Jennifer Blanc, the commentary features frequent discussions about Biehn’s aggressive style toward filmmaking and discusses the limitations they two had due to the small size of the budget and what that meant for the film and its actors.

Special Features:

Anchor Bay’s behind-the-scenes 24-minute featurette – and the film’s only supplemental item - is pretty much a good time, featuring cast and crew and outlines the entire process of the production.  It shows the good and the bad of working with your friends on a film.  It’s fun to watch…a lot more fun, in fact, then watching the actual film itself.

  • ‘The Victim’: Behind the Scenes (24 min)

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