The Movie Waffler New Release Review (VOD) - THE EXECUTIONERS | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review (VOD) - THE EXECUTIONERS

the executioners movie review
Four women turn the tables on the men who invade their holiday home.

Review by Benjamin Poole

Directed by: Giorgio Serafini

Starring: Natalie Burn, Jemma Dallender, Rachel Rosenstein, Justin Fischer

the executioners movie poster

Yeez. Where to begin with this one? Let’s do the set up: Writer/director Giorgio Serafini’s sort of slasher-come-torture-porno starts in a familiar manner, with a bunch of nice looking, healthy young women travelling into the countryside for a weekend away. They reach a rather pleasant secluded house by a lake and then there’s nothing to do except hang about waiting for the threat to show up. I mean, the first thing they do when they get there is stare out at the lake while an ominous note sounds in the background.  Then they just sort of mooch around indoors. One of them tries to inject a bit of excitement into proceedings by telling a (really shit) scare story, but that’s it. It is the dullest sleepover ever. Girls, you’re on holiday together! Where’s the Dominoes, the Lambrini, the Channing Tatum DVDs? Yes, every horror film needs to devote its first act to contriving a situation, getting all the pieces in place etc, but it doesn’t have to be this perfunctory. It is almost as if the film is solely interested in the disagreeable acts of intense sexual violence it is about to depict…

the executioners movie

Around the 20-minute mark it all kicks off, with the girls hearing a strange sound. This causes them to immediately go all out and barricade themselves in the house, pushing beds against doors and smashing glass to sprinkle upon the stairs. An overreaction; or were they just bored and looking for something to do? Anyway, it all comes to nothing as the threat - three blokes in face paint - casually break in anyway. Oh, that face paint. At time of writing, it was Friday the 13th yesterday, and like me, I bet you got sick of people posting endless memes and such like concerning Jason Vorhees. But here’s the thing about Jason: he’s iconic. He’s viral. The simplicity of that mask, the uncanniness of an everyday object rendered sinister with a gash and some splatter. The Nike swoosh of horror, which has never been beaten for archetypal purity. At any rate, there’s no competition in the costume stakes from the fellas in The Executioners, three blokes whose horror get up consists of that grease paint you get from the joke shop at Halloween. I’m not making this up: one has his face painted red, another is painted blue. Like one of the weird Blue Men Group they have in that Las Vegas - hahaha! I died, thinking of what the girls I knock about with would say to a bloke in blue face paint breaking in to their chalet: ‘Why so blue, mate?’, ‘You blue yourself, yeah son?’, ‘You’re blue da ba dee da ba daa, aye?’. And then the other has black face paint on, which is just racist. Knobs.

the executioners movie

And then. Then it’s not so funny. I’m very cautious about discussing films as problematic; films have no duty towards morality, they are simply good or bad, and whether or not the art coincides with an individual’s principles should not take precedence over aesthetic pleasures. But. After the introduction of the rainbow gang, we get down to The Executioners raison d'être: depicting a gang rape fantasy. The cinematic grammar is that of pornography as the girls are told to strip down to their (very choice and expensive) underwear, perform sex acts upon one another and then get sodomised by the blue man and his group. Why is rape more of a trigger in horror than cold blooded murder? Perhaps because sexual assault is a specifically intimate crime, and (hopefully) rare: we all have to die one way or another, so maybe part of us has come to terms with that, processing the inevitability as gruesome entertainment. Rape is something else. Whatever the reason, though, the representation of sexual assault in The Executioners is deeply offensive. One girl dances in her underwear for a prolonged period of time, slipping a pencil in and out of her pursed lips, with the camera lingering over her body: talk about the male gaze. This isn’t scary or upsetting, it’s simply titillation, underscored by the realisation that whatever the rainbow gang are making the girls do, it is echoed by the real life male crew manipulating and directing the actress off-screen.

the executioners movie

The tables turn and we have a token rape revenge third act. The girls somehow forget to put their clothes back on for this part, and so they give a bloke a pegging while still in their nice pants and bras. That pegging, though. Bloke has to slip a dildo up another fella’s jacksie: big deal. But the film treats this moment as if it is the worst thing that has ever happened to anyone ever, with the victim crying ‘ahmsorryahmsorry’ in close up as a mournful dirge swells on the soundtrack. Um, yeah, if you’re not expecting it I imagine it isn’t the most welcome interaction, but a bit of rubber up the bum isn’t as ignoble as being made to perform cunnilingus at gunpoint on your best friend or having a stranger’s erect penis forced into your rectum and then being left face down in the grass, sobbing (camera lingering). It’s as if the film has assumed complicity with the multicoloured rapists. Just who are we meant to feel bad for here?

At this point, like that wayward sex aid, The Executioners disappears up its own arse. There is a twist at the end, but it makes zero sense and would perhaps confound the repugnance of the film if it wasn’t so inept. Two stars because of the reasonable level of competence: The Executioners sets out to be exploitative and repulsive, and, to its shame, it succeeds.

The Executioners is on VOD now.