The Movie Waffler New Release Review [VOD] - EXPLOITED | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [VOD] - EXPLOITED

Exploited movie review
A freshman endangers himself and his friends when he investigates a student's disappearance.

Review by Eric Hillis

Directed by: Jon Abrahams

Starring: Jordan Ver Hoeve, Makenzie Vega, Andrew Matthew Welch, Colin Bates, Will Peltz, Leah Pipes

Exploited movie poster

Take the whodunit structure of post-Scream '90s slashers, the sleaze of '80s slashers, add in some very modern gender-fluid Gen-Z characters and you have director Jon Abrahams' Exploited. Abrahams' thriller might be the most bonkers campus slasher since the immortal 1982 trash classic Pieces. It's just as seedy, and just as dumb. And yes, it's undeniably fun.

Exploited movie review

The movie sets its stall out early with a sequence heavy on full frontal nudity as a male college student, Caleb (Colin Bates), appears to be murdered by an assailant in a gimp costume while performing for an older blonde lady on a webcam show. At the start of the next school year freshman Brian (Jordan Ver Hoeve) arrives at the very same college and finds a USB stick in the dorm room he shares with closeted jock Jeremy (Andrew Matthew Welch). Snooping on the stick, he discovers multiple recordings of Caleb's webcam performances, along with the video that seems to show his murder. Rather than alerting the authorities, Brian contacts his drug dealing older brother Jacob (Will Peltz), who is seemingly something of a computer whiz. As they uncover more secrets, they attract the unwanted attention of the gimp costumed baddy, putting their friends and themselves in danger.

Exploited movie review

I can't say I've ever cared all that much for whodunits. Or rather, I don’t care for narratives that ask the audience to play a guessing game. That's not to say I don’t enjoy whodunits. I love Murder She Wrote, for example, but the draw isn't figuring out who done it, but rather spending a cosy 48 minutes in the company of Jessica Fletcher and various eccentric characters. Conversely, I love the Italian giallo sub-genre, not for its whodunit plotlines (very few of which make any logical sense if you investigate them too closely), but for the stylish set-pieces, funky music, outrageous fashions, beautiful women etc. The thing about the whodunit is that nine times out of 10 it's the person you least expect who turns out to be the killer. With this in mind you'll probably figure out the identity of Exploited's masked maniac early on, despite the various clunky red herrings laid in your path.

Oddly for a slasher movie, there's isn't a whole lot of slashing in Exploited. Nobody is explicitly killed on screen until the climax, which might explain why there appears to be no security guards at this college. There doesn't appear to be any adults around at all, save for a suspiciously sexy physics lecturer (Leah Pipes) who spends most of her class boasting about how many books she's sold. Yet despite any real gore, Exploited still manages to feel nasty and downright icky in parts. This is largely due to the seediness it evokes with its various subplots about closeted jocks and slutty sorority queens. In this age of chaste American cinema, it really feels like a throwback, though its egalitarian approach to male and female nudity is decidedly modern.

Exploited movie review

It doesn't really work as either a slasher or a whodunit, but there is fun to be had with Exploited if you approach it in the right frame of mind (ie very drunk or very stoned). Much of the unintentional humour comes from how shoddy the writing is, particularly a scene where a victim of a horrific crime opens up about what they've been subjected to – what should be an uncomfortable moment comes off as remarkably distasteful and, well, exploitative. The acting is all over the shop – some of the young performers are as lifelike as a scarecrow while others deliver performances pitched to 11, but they're all sufficient for this sort of b-movie nonetheless. On a technical level it's no worse than any of its bigger budgeted teen horror cousins. Abrahams is an actor best known for his role in Scary Movie, which makes you wonder if he's in on the joke here.

 is on UK/ROI VOD from January 2nd.

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