Friday, June 18, 2021

Girl Next Review: A Cast Of Bizarre Characters In A Bizarre Movie

Sammy Abdalla	...	Limousine Driver Rachel Alig	Rachel Alig	...	Charlotte Melissa Arras	Melissa Arras	...	Sofia 1 Larry Wade Carrell	Larry Wade Carrell	...	Sheriff Maddox Lacey Cofran	Lacey Cofran	...	Lorian West Merry Dawn	Merry Dawn	...	Diesel Dike 2 Steve Joseph	Steve Joseph	...	Necrobilly Sarah Lingle	Sarah Lingle	...	Sofia 2 Kristen Marie Perry	Kristen Marie Perry	...	Dead Sofia Marcus Jean Pirae	Marcus Jean Pirae	...	Heinrich Paula Marcenaro Solinger	Paula Marcenaro Solinger	...	Misha

Release date: June 18, 2021
Running time: 106 minutes
Directed By: Max Strand
Written By: 
Zeph E. Daniel, Michael Muscal
Starring: Marcus Jean Pirae, Paula Marcenaro Solinger, Rachel Alig, Lacey Cofran, and Larry Wade Carrell

A young woman, Lorian West, is abducted by a strange group of human traffickers who use drug and trauma-based mind control to turn women into sex slaves called "Sofia" dolls. Trapped in a waking nightmare Lorian fights to resist the programming. She searches for a way to escape her fate, to avoid becoming "Girl Next".

Girl Next has a strange, gruesome start that puts the consequences of Lorain's kidnapping front and center.  And the film has a lot going for it, including some dedicated acting from the entire cast.  The house that Lorain is taken to has a strange cast of characters and the story deals with some esoteric topics, which requires a lot out of these actors.  And the camera work is quite good with some beautiful shots of the house and the surrounding area.  These are especially pronounced at night, with beautiful images of the nighttime landscape and the stars above.  They are used to highlight the beauty of the surroundings despite the horrors happening inside.  And overall, the effects in the film are generally well done, with some nice practical effects and gruesome scenes driving home how dangerous Lorian's predicament is.  

However, Girl Next is a jumble of ideas that don't necessarily come together.  The film looks into human trafficking, drug use, female empowerment, and exploitation in varying degrees, but does so in a convoluted manner.  It also looks into the nature of reality and of simulations, but all of these just do not come together in a cohesive whole.  It seems like the movie tried to take on too much and couldn't stitch everything together.  There are some hints at parallel timelines, telepathy and dream states, and of elevating your consciousness that all just serve to muddle the overall story.  And although the actors do put in a lot of effort for their performances, some of the characters are a little laughable in what they do.  Overall, the plot was hard to follow due to the overabundance of ideas, and the film also felt like it went on far too long.  I would probably get a lot on a second watch and maybe the ideas would come together better, but on the first instance the film is just tough to follow.  And although the gore is generally well done, it also feels fairly gratuitous and unnecessary.  And finally, the effects are generally good but there are a few odd instances of CG that just look like something out of a video game.  They break the suspension of disbelief and distract you from the action or plot exposition happening at the time. But all that being said, I can tell that the filmmakers really gave it their all and cared about this project.  And the movie has a fantastic stinger at the end of the credits.  

Girl Next has a cast of bizarre characters and some beautiful shots, but the film is a jumble of ideas that are hard to follow and don't necessarily come together in the end.  

Pass on it. 

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Girl Next is available digitally and on demand on June 18, 2021.  

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