The Movie Waffler Arrow Video FrightFest 2018 Review - PIMPED | The Movie Waffler

Arrow Video FrightFest 2018 Review - PIMPED

pimped review
Two male abusers pick the wrong woman as their latest victim.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: David Barker

Starring: Ella Scott Lynch, Benedict Samuel, Heather Mitchell, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Robin Goldsworthy

pimped poster

Australian horror movies and thrillers have tended to adopt a rural setting, exploiting that country's sprawling landscape and the resulting sense of isolation - in the outback, literally no one can hear you scream. Whether the villains are human (Wolf Creek; Killing Ground; Road Games) or animals (Dark Age; Razorback; Boar), it's usually a case of predators stalking prey, with the latter generally turning the tables in the final act.

Writer/director David Barker's feature debut, Pimped, doesn't take place in the wide expanse of the outback but in the neon-soaked, skyscraper framed streets of an Australian metropolis. Nevertheless, it's another story of predator and prey, though in Barker's film the line between the two is considerably blurred.

pimped review

It's night in the city and three people are embarking on a hunt. Alpha male Lewis (Benedict Samuel) and his beta housemate Kenneth (Robin Goldsworthy) have a plan to lure an unsuspecting female victim back to their suburban home for a night of non-consensual sexual debauchery. Meanwhile, uptight Sarah (Ella Scott Lynch) is psyching herself up for a rare foray into the dating scene, determined to let her hair down for once and snare a man, if only for a night.

Unfortunately for Sarah, the man she snares is Lewis. Impressed by his handsome looks and slick ways, Sarah returns home to Lewis's place and wastes no time in indulging in passionate sex. During a bout of doggy style rutting, Sarah is shocked to find that the man penetrating her from behind isn't Lewis, but Kenneth. Freaking out, she grabs the first weapon that comes to hand, one of Kenneth's golf clubs, which she buries in his head, ending the life of her attacker. Before she can do the same to Lewis, he smooth talks her into helping him dispose of Kenneth's corpse, the two forming a pact of silence regarding their respective crimes. Needless to say, the pair's plan doesn't work out so smoothly.

pimped review

In this age of 'Me Too' and 'Time's Up', genre filmmakers are increasingly being forced to look at how they portray female victimisation, growing desperate for feminist approval, and so we'll probably see quite a few movies like Pimped, which may have honourable intentions with regards to how they depict a woman taking revenge on male aggressors, but which go about their business in a fashion that makes for a difficult watch.

Pimped asks a lot of its audience in accepting that Sarah would so readily form an alliance with the man responsible for setting her up for rape at the hands of his friend. It's a narrative hurdle I couldn't get over, which is a shame, as had Barker found a way to get me on board with this idea I likely would have found his film one of the year's more engrossing genre thrills.

pimped review

If you're fortunate enough to be able to go along for the ride with Pimped's controversial dynamic, it has quite a lot to offer. Said dynamic is something of a twist on the old Leopold and Loeb concept of two criminals forming an alliance in the belief that they're intellectually superior to anyone who might investigate their crimes, and Lynch and Samuel are frighteningly convincing as a couple of sociopaths brought together by animal violent and sexual desire. Barker's film is visually compelling too, with a neon heavy palette that Nicolas Winding Refn would be envious of.

Pimped has a relatively short running time, and I couldn't help think it might have been more successful as a short film or an episode of an anthology show, where the reduced run time wouldn't allow us so much leeway to think about how problematic Sarah's choices are. Barker pads his film out with a rather cheap narrative device - that of Sarah's imaginary alter ego (also played by Lynch, in a black bob wig), a devil on her shoulder who initially urges her on to pull Lewis only to later warn her against going along with his nefarious plan. On the evidence here, Lynch is a good enough actress to portray her self doubt without her director spelling it out in such a crude fashion.

Pimped will receive a home-entertainment release in early 2019, courtesy of FrightFest Presents.