We need to talk about this movie's star, Matilda Lutz. In my review of Rings, a terrible soft reboot of the Ring franchise, I mentioned that Matlida Lutz gave one of the worst lead performances I've seen in a long time and I stand by that, she was fucking awful in that movie. But I also pondered as to whether or not that was because the cuts that were chosen weren't exactly the best. Regardless, I don't think that, if you're a good actor, you're gonna suck in one take and be good in the other, unless you purposely try to suck in one of those takes. I mentioned the fact that she starred in this movie, which has been critically acclaimed, and that I reserved judgement on Matilda's talents, or lack thereof, until I saw this movie. So, can you guess which movie I saw yesterday??? I mean, you must be really dumb if you can't figure it out. Anyway, in all honesty, I didn't get much from Matilda out of this movie. Don't misunderstand me, however, she is tremendous at the physicality of this role, and it is one that is incredibly demanding, what I mean is in terms of her delivery of lines. The reason I say this is that Matilda, really, doesn't have that many lines in this movie, so you can't get a sense of how good she is or not at that particular aspect of the game. Overall, however, in the physical side of things, she is tremendous. She is put through quite the ordeal in this movie and Matilda is more than up to the task. With that said, as always, I've always believed that rape is a really tricky subject to explore in films. In many ways, however, I think it's far more difficult to explore in films outside of the exploitation genre, like dramas. You have to walk a fine line between being, umm, well, exploitative and being sensitive and that's a fine line that most movies are not able to walk. The example of Don't Cry, Mommy (a terrible South Korean movie) comes to mind immediately. That movie was so exploitative that, really, the rape was nothing more a way to drive the narrative forward. The person that was raped wasn't really a character, she was just a device to get that girl's mother to take matters into her own hands. However there are movies like Hope (I believe that's what it's called), another South Korean movie, where the rape (of a little girl) is used to tell a story about a father regaining his daughter's trust. There's some melodramatics in this movie as well, but they're not as overbearing as it was in Don't Cry, Mommy. Again, the goal for Hope was to tell that story of the parents rebuilding their daughter's life from scratch and a father desperately hopeful to reconnect with his daughter after a traumatic experience. In exploitation movies, however, that all goes out the window. This, of course, falls under the exploitation genre, but, even then, the film sort of uses the rape as the jumping off point for everything else the movie has to offer. Does that work as a plot device? I guess it does, but it doesn't feel tasteless, which is honestly surprising. Neither here nor there, I suppose. The story sees Jennifer is in a relationship with a married man. They go to his secluded house in the desert for an annual hunting trip. Richard's (the married man) two buddies show up a day before they're supposed to. Long story short, one of Richard's buddies, Stan, ends up raping Jennifer after she rebuffed his advances since, the night prior, Stan felt that she had come on to her due to a provocative dance. There we go with that 'logic' again. Dimitri, the other guy, walks in, watches the rape for a few seconds and the leaves without doing anything. Richard arrives later and he tries to console Jennifer while, at the same time, blaming her for the assault as she is 'too beautiful to resist', I think is what he said. I almost facepalmed my hand through my face. Jennifer runs away after Richard slaps her when she threatened to expose him to his wife, reaching the edge of this cliff. Richard reassures her that everything will be fine, he pretends to call the helicopter that dropped them off to pick her up. Of course, he was lying, he pushes Jen off the cliff and she ends up being impaled on this tree at the bottom. Richard is hopeful that Jen is dead, so they could cover up both the rape and the murder after they're done hunting. You could say that this is when the movie really begins, as Jen is determined to hunt these fuckers down and, hey, who can blame her??? The thing with this type of exploitation movie, that still has some very timely themes (particularly with some morons blaming rape victims), is that it needs to be quite visceral in its depiction of the violence the victim employs on those who assaulted her. Because, otherwise, it feels like somewhat of a ripoff. This movie, however, is anything but a ripoff. The violence, all around, Jen included, is quite extreme. But, at least in the case of Jen hunting down and murdering those that were responsible for her current situation, it needed to be that way, because you need to feel that sense of satisfaction that Jen is meant to feel as she gets rid of the fuckers. If it's not brutal, it sort of feels like the bad guys got off easy. So props to the movie for not shying away and giving us that satisfying payoff to Jen's vengeance. The climactic act, with Jennifer finally going after Richard is tense and intensely gratifying. The thing about the movie is that it is quite artfully directed and the cinematography, with the harsh desert fully displayed, is phenomenal. This is very much an exploitation movie, but it's one arthouse sensibilities and a really cool synth score. With that said, however, it's not like this is a perfect movie. There was something keeping me from giving this the full four stars. I don't know what it was. I do think that there's some issues with the pacing that could have been ironed out. That's probably the only major issue I had. The film's first hour flies by, but it ends up dragging a bit after this point. I was also gonna point out that it was a very decidedly one-note movie, but I can't really complain about that. The film had a clear goal in mind and it worked steadfastly to achieve that goal. In spite of my issues, this is still a damn good movie and one that I would easily recommend, if you know what you're getting into and you're not squeamish.