The Movie Waffler New Release Review [DVD/VOD] - MARLA | The Movie Waffler

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New Release Review [DVD/VOD] - MARLA

marla review
A woman's life takes a dark turn when she has an IUD implanted.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Lisa van Dam-Bates

Starring: Lisa van Dam-Bates, Travis Johnny Ware, Katie Hemming, Jason Stange, Palmer Chase

marla poster



Between long nights and low tippers, Marla’s life as a barmaid can be exhausting. Luckily her boss/boyfriend Jake is sweet on her and she can really use the money he adds to her tips.

Her financial woes lead to the decision to book a time to have a ‘free’ IUD (intrauterine device – birth control, for those not in the know) placed at the local women’s clinic.

After an anxious walk home the night before, during which she feels stalked, Marla heads out to her appointment where ‘family friend’ Doctor Lourdes gives her a quick pap smear before placing said IUD.

Boyfriend Jake lets her down by not picking her up afterwards but she befriends Jules (Katie Hemming, Bridget Fonda-lite), who offers her a lift home after the cramp-inducing procedure.

When something unexpected (and quite ridiculously staged) happens to Jake, Marla finds herself alone and her actions questioned. The police take an active interest in her and the fact that she can’t explain what happened to poor Jake.


marla review

Later, after a substantial grieving period where she swallows mystery pills and sloths about the house in dried blood, life returns to normal, though she still finds herself in IUD cramps hell.

Dr Lourdes declines to remove the birth control but after Marla is raped and the device somehow leads to the death of the local serial rapist/killer, she decides to push the matter (after getting over the violent and terrifying rape in about two seconds - one of my major pet hates in movies).

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He dismisses her concerns but after some investigating into his ex-girlfriend at the prompting of the questioning police, Marla soon realises she needs to spring a trap to find out more about the good doctor and what he may have implanted inside her.


marla review

This gruesome body horror stars writer/director/special effects creator Lisa van-Dam Bates, and though the effects are good and the acting is passable, directing is where her true talent lies. This has some very nice unexpected chilling scenes, some nice point of view shots, and a modicum of sensitivity was used when appropriate. Unfortunately the script and some of the cast do let her down.

Travis Johnny Ware, as Jake, is monotone in every way; practically expressionless, his contribution is some sweet tattoos I could admire through his screen time.

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Jason Stange, as Dr Lourdes, is adequate, but with never quite enough spark to push his character through.

Everyone in this film just seems so somnambulant, and it gives the movie a dragging, slacker feel that is difficult to engage with.


marla review

There are stretches in the middle where little happens and it struggles to hold your interest. These are interspersed with moments that are good enough to make you wish the rest could keep up.

The finale is somewhat confusing and seems unnecessary, carrying on beyond what feels like a natural conclusion.

It seems to have courted some controversy in real life, which may be the reason for its hold up in release, filmed as it was in 2015 but only just being released now. Stange, a convicted bank robber, was apparently a fugitive from justice during filming. He was caught and arrested due to publicity for this film.

Sometimes life is stranger than fiction folks.

Marla is on DVD/VOD now.


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