Penance (2009) - Rotten Tomatoes

Penance (2009)




Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Movie Info

Inspired by actual events, Days of Darkness director\co-screenwriter Jake Kennedy's sophomore shocker tells the story of single mother Amelia (Marieh Delfino), who turns to stripping as a means of making ends meet and winds up the unwilling subject of a grim purification ritual. When sexy dancer Suzy takes a beating that leaves her unable to perform, she asks Amelia to cover her latest gig. Reluctantly accepting so her friend can convalesce, Amelia begins to grow uneasy when her driver (Tony Todd) taxis her to a dark and remote location. Once inside, Amelia finds herself imprisoned with a number of other unchaste women by a sadistic captor (Graham McTavish) who uses various torture methods to rid them of their impurities. Produced and co-written by Automaton Transfusion director William Clevinger, Penance also features Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer star Michael Rooker. ~Rovimore
Rating: Unrated
Genre: Horror
Directed By:
Written By: Jake Kennedy, William Clevinger
In Theaters:
On DVD: Nov 17, 2009
Doppelgänger Releasing - Official Site


Tony Todd
as Chauffeur
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News & Interviews for Penance

Critic Reviews for Penance

All Critics (5) | Top Critics (3)

A fathomless echo chamber in which spiritual confusion and aggression keep turning into each other, and penance comes to sound like a very dark joke.

Full Review… | November 13, 2014
New York Times
Top Critic

In many ways, Penance plays like an object lesson in how a graceful sense of spacing and staging within the frame can overcome technical restrictions.

Full Review… | November 13, 2014
AV Club
Top Critic

Effectively unnerving on a scene-for-scene basis thanks to writer/director Kiyoshi Kurosawa's preference for ambience over character-driven drama.

Full Review… | November 11, 2014
Village Voice
Top Critic

"Penance" is a fascinating, expansive piece of work, albeit one that struggles to escape its TV origins on the big screen, and that can't quite stick the landing.

Full Review… | November 13, 2014
The Playlist

Consumed in one gigantic, four-and-a-half-hour gulp, it becomes painfully repetitive and monotonous.

Full Review… | November 12, 2014
The Dissolve

Audience Reviews for Penance

'Penance' is one of those films that sells itself as being "one of the most sadistic films ever made" and being "Terrifying", what it really is though is a pile of turd.

The story revolves around a single mother called Amelia who desperately needs some cash, in hope of gaining said cash quickly Amelia becomes a stripper, after being promised $5000 for one nights work Amelia falls into a trap set up by a crazy ex-surgeon who is trying to purify strippers souls so they can pass into heaven, basically the whole story is a set up for torture, there's nothing wrong with that though, infact that's what I was expecting.

One thing I want to say is that I'm not saying this film is crap because it is too disturbing and misogynistic, I mean, the full version of one of my favourite films is banned in most countries and is far more graphic and 1000000 times more misogynistic then 'Penance'.

The reason this film sucks is because it does everything it intends to do it does wrong. First of all the start of the film is pretty slow, this is to add depth to the characters and make you feel for them, they all come off as idiots though, especially Amelia, she has to be one of the dumbest women of all time, why the hell would you stand around for 5 minutes having a conversation with someone when you are trying to escape? Oh, I know why, because you are a stupid bitch who thought stripping was the correct life choice to make.

Next up there's the gore, it was terrible, what there was of it that is, for some reason the director thought it would be a good idea to make a torture porn movie which doesn't show any violence on screen, thus making the whole film pointless. There are obvious parts in the film that are meant to disturb, including a scene where a man cuts of his scrotum (offscreen of course), this scene is just one of the most unrealistic movie scenes of all time, I've never known a man to have balls the size of two potatoes, it's probably best he removed them as it looks like something is wrong with them, it's like he was smuggling two illegal tangerines around in his scrotum.

Finally there's the ending, there's not much really to say about it apart from the fact it sucked. Overall here are my tips for the director (I haven't even been bothered to look up his name) -
1. If you're making a suposedly violent film it helps to put violence in it.
2. Hiring cult actors like Tony Todd doesn't make your film good, especially when their characters are crap.
3. Give up on film making.

This film really wants to shock you but fails to even try, don't buy it because you feel like watching some torture (everyone does that right?) and lastly don't buy it because the quotes make it sound like it could be fun, infact here's a new quote for the Dvd cover "This film sucks".

Cameron Sherwell
Cameron Sherwell

Super Reviewer

Interesting story, elements of SAW of course, another one of those films you just have to watch out of curiosity once it begins. an "ok" watch but nothing that special.

Shawn Montague
Shawn Montague

Super Reviewer


Very nasty subject matter considering it is an adaptation of a supposedly true story. Very well acted, good overall film if a little confined. Felt like they had filmed it in about three places alone and that was it. McTavish played the fruit loop god botherer to a tee.

Barry Lappin

Super Reviewer

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