Director: Trevor Matthews
Synopsis: When a beautiful young woman enters the Girl House, a seamy world of all-you-can-eat, live-streaming internet fantasy, she piques the interest of one particularly disturbed online viewer. Hacking the site’s apparently impenetrable security protocols, he sets out to meet the girl of his dreams – and nothing will stop him from the face-to-face encounter of his dreams.
Starring: Ali Corbin, Adam DiMarco & Slaine
Rating: 15 Run time: 99 minutes Release date: 20 July (DVD)
Girl House is what you get when you mix Big Brother with Halloween and throw in some naked girls for good measure. One imagines that scenario is very tempting to viewers of a certain age and mindset, but Girl House rises above the sum of its parts and is a much better slasher film than initially imagined.
With its ominous Ted Bundy quote at the beginning, followed by the vicious murder of a young girl, Girl House wastes no time in signalling its intent toward the audience. Here we have a film that starts off with a bang, which then takes a breather until its blood soaked ending.
In order to help pay her college fees, Kylie Atkins (Ali Corbin) takes a job at a website called Girl House. Here, young, beautiful women are watched Big Brother style 24/7. Cameras are located all over the house and online users are able to connect with the girls anytime of the day.
Kylie is naturally uncomfortable to begin with but soon settles in and gets to know the various girls who reside in Girl House, and soon starts to lose her inhibitions and becomes the latest star of the show. Viewing figures are up and her new boss (James Thomas) could not be happier.
Whilst performing her first “show” Kylie receives several messages from a user called “Loverboy.” Loverboy (Slaine), as it turns out, is a regular visitor to the site and one that all the girls are familiar with. What they don’t know however, is that Loverboy is a dangerous online user who builds up unhealthy relationships with these girls from the depths of his basement.
Once Loverboy takes a liking to a girl, he doesn’t like to be let down. By that, he is an extremely sensitive soul, who doesn’t react well when things don’t go his way. Of course, it’s not long before Loverboy becomes the victim of the girls jokes and his murderous past comes to the forefront.
What’s surprising is that a film that no one would carry any realistic expectations for, is actually quite good. Director Trevor Matthews would appear to a fan of the slasher genre and maintains a convincing hold on proceedings throughout. He is assured and confident and has a style not too dissimilar to a favourite of this site, Adam Wingard.
Matthews accepts that his story is rather basic in itself, but allows the cast to draw sympathy from the audience, meaning you do have the rare feeling of not wanting them all to die in some glorious cinematic fashion. While there is not so much in the way of characterisation built up, the girls are likeable enough, which comes as a pleasant surprise in a film of this sort.
The real success of Girl House is that it manages to keep your attention. Fans of the slasher genre will no doubt be delighted with what Girl House has to offer. Girls, nudity, sex, blood and violence are all here and sometimes in that order. But even casual fans will be surprised at how much they want to stick around and see what happens to the films protagonists.
It’s no small feat, and one that is helped the casting of Ali Corbin as the affable lead. Corbin is the object of Loverboy’s affections, the jealousy of a few housemates and the love of new boyfriends Ben’s (Adam DiMarco) life. She has a lot to contend with, but carries it all in a marvellous fashion on her capable shoulders.
Slaine also makes excellent work as Loverboy. A role with largely no script attached and one that he must make his own through snarling looks and a ferocious temper. Helped no end by the sinister mask he wears toward the end of the film.
However, Girl House does have some faults. While it is gruesome it is never genuinely terrifying and the films resolution is perhaps never in doubt. It also relies a bit too heavily on genre clichés and unfortunately can’t avoid them, despite its best attempts.
These are minor gripes though. And Girl House provides a superior horror experience, even if it is only because it is better than you would ever expect it to be.
In summary: Big Brother, My Little Eye, Halloween and several naked girls are mixed together to mark the directorial debut of Trevor Matthews in this surprise genre achievement.