Directed by Michael Biehn
Widely known and loved actor Michael Biehn unleashed his raunchy, unapologetic and exploitative directorial debut to a rambunctious crowd at this year’s Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal, and The Victim exceeded expectations.
The Victim opens with an abrupt and fervent start, as viewers are witness to one of the most uncomfortable sex scenes ever on-screen between a crooked cop (Ryan Honey) and a clearly unsatisfied stripper named Mary in the middle of the woods (shockingly played by Halloween‘s Danielle Harris.)
However, when the cop snaps (quite literally), things take a turn for the worse when Mary meets an untimely demise, and they spiral downward even further when Mary’s best friend, Annie (actress/producer Jennifer Blanc-Biehn), witnesses the crime.
From then on Annie is forced into a deadly game of cat and mouse when she must flee for her own survival and take refuge in a reclusive man’s house in the woods (played by Michael Biehn) in hopes of escaping crooked cops hellbent on eliminating any witnesses to a horrific crime. Gratuitous sex, violence and nudity ensue.
Like the recent horror indie Hobo with a Shotgun, The Victim is very much a straight-up throwback to the old school grindhouse features from the late Seventies and early Eighties. Remarkably shot in only twelve days, first-time director Michael Biehn takes a very humble and ballsy approach with this film and presents guerilla-style filmmaking at its wickedest.
In spite of the fact that The Victim does not feature an A-list cast and it probably has one millionth of the budget of the James Cameron films Biehn has previous starred in, its ultra-low budget only adds to the gratuitous nature of the exploitation thriller. On the flipside, the script at times seemed far more ambitious than time and budget would allow, and this is especially noticeable during the film’s final act. Without these restraints, these flaws could have been easily taken care of.
All of the actors do quite well in their roles, although it is Biehn that truly stands out as he is able to exude an enigmatic vulnerability to the role that will constantly make audiences question if he is a character they should be rooting for or fearing.
While watching The Victim, it is clearly evident that Biehn is not making his Citizen Kane but is quite conscious that he is making an exuberantly crazy film for his directorial debut. It is a movie that is able to welcome yet mock the B-movie thriller genre and is aimed at viewers familiar with it as well. If you can accept that, then you will not be disappointed.
The Victim is a film that will most likely be ignored by those who can’t handle the explicit yet chilling prologue, but those who can survive it are in for an unexpectedly amusing sleazefest.
3 1/2 out of 5