Model Hunger (2015)


Model HungerStarring Lynn Lowry, Tiffany Shepis, Brian Fortune, Carmine Capobianco, Michael Thurber, Suzi Lorraine, Aurelio Voltaire

Directed by Debbie Rochon

The legendary scream queen Debbie Rochon has 239 acting credits to her name. If you start at the top of her IMDb page and simply hold the “down arrow” button on your keyboard, it takes a full nine seconds of film titles whizzing past your eyes before you get to the bottom. Her career has spanned over 30 years, but she’s now accomplished something she’s never done before:  She’s added her first directing credit to that list with Model Hunger.

Model Hunger is pretty much what you would expect a film directed by Rochon to be. For someone who’s spent a lifetime and built an amazing career on the sets of low-budget indie films, Rochon finally has her own low-budget indie film. And as fans of this sub-genre will attest, you need to have a quality story and some captivating acting performances to make up for shortcomings caused by budget restraints. Model Hunger does has some aesthetic issues. It doesn’t look like a slick, Hollywood big budget feature… because it isn’t. But the story is definitely solid and the performance delivered by fellow scream queen Lynn Lowry is as good or better than anything big-budget movies have given us in years.

Lowry is the key to Model Hunger being a successful effort. Her character, Ginny Reilly, is incredibly complex. She literally has to serve up equal parts frail old woman, sexy temptress, good Samaritan, and bat-shit crazy killer all while offering some really thought-provoking dialogue about what true beauty is and what type of beauty is valued by society. Lowry absolutely crushes it in every aspect of her character. Model Hunger looks low-budget because it is low-budget, and without something to really grab the audience’s attention, it could be easily cast off. Lowry provides that initial hook to grab the audience’s attention. And her character gets more interesting as the movie progresses; she keeps you wrapped around her finger until a final, shocking conclusion.

If two scream queens aren’t enough for you, Model Hunger goes the extra mile and gives you a third! Tiffany Shepis plays Ginny’s depressed neighbor, Debbie Lombardo. Stuck with a schlub of a husband, Debbie plods through life when she suddenly realizes something strange is going on next door. Shepis gives her usual strong performance (and proves that her perfect butt can make even flannel pants look good).

For Rochon’s part, she does a solid job for her first time behind the camera. As a low-budget director, you’re not only crafting your art, but you’re also working on limited funding so, although you’d like to have all the conveniences of a more expensive film, that’s not always the case. In Model Hunger you can visually see some of the issues that must have been experienced on set. But this is no excuse; every low-budget filmmaker has to deal with the same issues. The key is taking what you do have and making the best movie possible, and it appears that Rochon succeeded in doing just that. The pace of the film is well set. It moves along nicely and builds tension at a steady rate. The more we get to know Ginny Reilly, the more we know what she was capable of… and when she walks into a scene, you get that “uh oh” feeling so common with effective horror antagonists.

With a human-hunting killer like we find in Model Hunger, you can’t spare the red stuff, and it’s well-splattered throughout. You won’t find any cutaways in the movie, but you will find some restraint early on. Rochon makes sure that the viewer always gets at least a little peek as to what kind of nastiness is going on under the knife, and with each progressive kill you see more and more until the culmination, which is a toe-curling, holy crap scene. Going hand-in-hand with the tension level of the film, the blood-letting increases exponentially as Model Hunger builds to its climax.

Model Hunger is fun. Lowry is great, and Shepis leads a colorful cast of co-stars. Babette Bombshell is outrageous as usual, and Goth musician Aurelio Voltaire seems like a natural onscreen. Henry Manfredini created a great score to add to the mood. Throw in some gross-out comedy that shows Rochon’s Troma roots (Lloyd Kaufman should be proud), and you’ve got an enjoyable, quickly-paced movie. No, it’s not perfect; it’s rough around the edges, it’s gritty, it has some scars… very much like the director herself. But if you look past some of Model Hunger‘s shortcomings, you’re going to find a solid story, a fantastic lead actress, and some laughs, gross-outs, and well-developed tension along the way.

  • Film
User Rating 3.22 (18 votes)


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